A wide-ranging plan, dramatically impacting the way people will flow in and out of downtown Boise, is about to get even wider.
When Boise Weekly first reported the Ada County Highway District's elaborate plan--dubbed the Downtown Boise Implementation Plan--in June (BW, News, "A New Direction," June 19, 2013), people started buzzing. The blueprint included a big expansion of the downtown bicycle network, the introduction of so-called "mini-roundabouts" at eight downtown intersections, and the conversion of seven one-way streets into two-way thoroughfares.
But wait, there's more.
"After a detailed analysis of 13th Street by the consultant and ACHD, its conversion is also included in the Plan's final draft," wrote city of Boise Transportation Planner Karen Gallagher to the Boise City Council.
All in all, the plan would convert Third, Fourth, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th Jefferson and part of Eighth streets from existing one-way streets to two-way operations.
"The recommended two-way conversion of 13th Street was only reached after careful consideration between the impacts and benefits that were expected to result," wrote consultant Kittelson and Associates to ACHD planners, adding that it had "significant public support" for the 13th Street conversion.
Of equal note is ACHD's proposal of mini-roundabouts, designed for intersections with less commercial traffic and with an inner circle of less than 75 feet, including:
-Third Street/Jefferson Street
-Third Street/Bannock Street
-10th Street/Grove Street
-11th Street/Grove Street
-12th Street/Bannock Street
-12th Street/Grove Street
-14th Street/Jefferson Street
-14th Street/Grove Street
Bicyclists should be happy to hear about the plan's extension of a bicycle network that it said was currently "fragmented." Changes would include adding bike lanes to Fifth, Sixth, 11th, Jefferson and River streets and Broadway/Avenue B; and making Third Street a shared bikeway.
But the sequencing of such a big change to Boise's inner core should be the biggest challenge, given that ACHD has to squeeze the plan into an already-crowded construction calendar for the next five years. Kittelson Consultants recommended that either ACHD keep its projects separate from the many construction projects overseen by the Capital City Development Corporation, or have one of the two agencies oversee all of the work, with the other agency serving as "a project team member and with a cost-sharing agreement in place."
Provided the appropriate funding is allocated and all parties, including the city and CCDC sign off on the plan, ACHD hopes to complete the lion's share of the changes between Fiscal Years 2014 and 2019.