Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Bike Lane Stakeholders' Proposal, Explained

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Sept. 23, the Boise City Council and the Ada County Highway District met at an unusual joint session to consider a proposal from a stakeholders' group convened after the bike lane pilot project was scrubbed from downtown streets in June. 

The proposal before the two governing agencies was designed to improve bike access to and from downtown along major or alternative arteries, but it also has the effect of improving bicycle commutability through the downtown core with an expanded network of bike/car shared routes, new bike lanes of both buffered and designated varieties, and "planned connections"—new routes connecting established bike paths to city streets.

A map of existing and proposed bike routes through downtown Boise. - ACHD
  • ACHD
  • A map of existing and proposed bike routes through downtown Boise.

It includes new bike lanes on River Street between Americana Boulevard and 13th Street, Capitol Boulevard from the south side of the Capitol Bridge to Grove Street, Fifth and Sixth streets from Myrtle to State streets, Broadway Avenue from the south side of the Broadway Bridge to Jefferson Street, and Jefferson Street between Broadway Avenue and 16th Street.

The proposal also calls for new shared routes on Idaho and Main streets—where buffered bike lanes were installed as part of the original bike lane pilot project—13th Street between Shoreline Drive and State Street, 11th and Third streets between River and State streets, Third Street between River and State, Grove Street between Capitol Boulevard and Third Street, Broad Street between ninth and Second streets, and State and Fort streets from Eighth to Jefferson streets. 

But big improvements are coming to Americana Boulevard, which will see upgrades to its existing bike lane from Shoreline Drive to the split between 15th and 16th streets, 16th Street between the connector to Bannock Street, and 16th Street between Front and Grove streets and Bannock and Franklin streets. 

The proposal doesn't stop there. On Capitol Boulevard, Royal Boulevard could be extended across the divide between Ninth Street and Capitol Boulevard, and from the extension to the north side of the Capitol Bridge, a two-way protected bike lane could be built, making room for three lanes of car traffic. North of the Boise River, Capitol Boulevard could widen to four lanes of car traffic and include a two-way protected bike lane to River Street. North of River Street to Broad Street, the bike lane may become a painted and buffered, rather than physically protected, thoroughfare.

Accommodations would be made for construction and bus transportation near the Multi-Modal Transit Center currently under construction on the Grove, and the possible introduction of a downtown circulator.

Near City Hall, major changes could take place, including the introduction of a car-protected bike lane between Main and Idaho streets and bus parking with a buffered bike lane in front of City Hall itself. 

The stakeholder group hopes to obtain approval from ACHD the evening of Sept. 24 to begin a first phase of changes on Capitol Boulevard between Front and Jefferson streets in October, with a completion date of that phase Nov. 14. The group will also seek approval from the Commission to further plan the two-way bike track from the south side of the Boise River on Capitol Boulevard to River Street, then a connection a single-lane, north-bound bike track from River Street to Front Street as a buffered lane.

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