Thursday, October 23, 2014

Commission Candidates Fault ACHD's Relationship With City of Boise at BBP Forum

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 8:36 AM

click to enlarge Left to right: Bob Bruce, John Seidl, Brock Frazier and Paul Woods - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Left to right: Bob Bruce, John Seidl, Brock Frazier and Paul Woods

Four of six candidates vying for a seat on the Ada County Highway District Board of Commissioners told attendees at a forum held at Boise Bicycle Project Wednesday evening that the organization with curb-to-curb control over Ada County's roads has been deaf to the citizens of the communities it serves and has failed as a partner of the city of Boise.

"The problem is animosity. [ACHD and the city of Boise] just aren't working together," said John Seidl, who's running for the ACHD District No. 3 seat, along with Bob Bruce, Brock Frazier and Paul Woods. Other candidates for the seat, but who didn't attend the forum, were Stephanie Blake and J.J. Howard.

The city of Boise and ACHD have had a dramatic relationship in 2014 that garnered headlines about car sensors embedded in the roads under paid parking spaces, roundabouts being installed as part of ACHD's downtown implementation plan, and a high-profile fight over a short-lived bike lane pilot project and subsequent consideration of permanent bike lanes along Capitol Boulevard.

For former Ada County Commissioner Paul Woods, repairing relations between ACHD and the Boise City Council is a priority, along with creating safer routes for children to get to school.

"Improving cooperation is one of the main reasons I'm in this race," Woods said.

But for commissioner hopeful and web and software developer Brock Frazier, the problem isn't that ACHD hasn't given the city what it wants: Rather, he's concerned that the public has "a real problem in this election," and that its interests are being poorly served by career public servants, comparing the public to a candle being burned at both ends. Though he said he favored building bike lanes to serve the growing number of cyclists in Boise, he was adamant that he thought the city placing sensors into the ground to serve parking meters and designing an app to help drivers find open parking spaces—technology the Boise City Council has been keen to deploy downtown—was a potential hazard to drivers and cyclists alike. He also criticized the City Council over police militarization.

However, those in attendance saw cooperation between the two agencies as critical. Sonia Daleiden, a transportation engineer who worked on the bike lane pilot project and said she rides her bike about every other day, described cooperation as "critical," but said that laying community disappointment over the short duration of the bike lane pilot project at ACHD's feet may be unfair.

"Usually there's a much longer [pilot project] period, but I understand ACHD was under a lot of pressure from negative comments from the community," she said, referring to an ACHD-conducted survey that drew primarily negative feedback toward the project from motorists.

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