Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Jeff Speck, 'Walkability' Guru, Says There's Plenty Afoot in Boise

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Jeff Speck was late—his flight was delayed at the Boise Airport.

As he rushed into Boise's Egyptian Theatre late in the afternoon of June 24 and grabbed a microphone, he offered an apology.

"I was hoping to shave and shower at my hotel before coming here, so let's just pretend I'm a scruffy guy who doesn't care," he said to an audience of approximately 200. "But I do care."

Speck cares mostly about cities—downtowns in particular—and he likes what he sees in Downtown Boise.

"You have what I call 'good bones' in your downtown," said Speck.

Speck, author of Walkable City, was flown into the City of Trees by the Capital City Development Corporation and the City of Boise for the June 24 event but, more importantly, to conduct what he calls a "walkability study."

"But it's not a plan, per se," Speck told Boise Weekly. "This will be a study based on facts on the ground. It will be based on objective and subjective analysis as to where things are working or not working well."

Speck told BW that through much of the week ahead, he'll fill his mornings with meetings but spend his afternoons and evenings walking and riding through Boise. He'll compile his findings and eventually return to Boise.

"Yes, in a couple of months, I'll come back with a full report," he said.

Speck said there's a primary reason why you fix downtowns first:

"Because you have two places you live: your home and your downtown."

In Wednesday's edition of BW, we have a full conversation with Speck as part of this week's Citizen profile.

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