ACHD Looks at Alternatives for Downtown Boise Bike Lanes 

click to enlarge ACHD erased the bike lane pilot project on Idaho Street in June 2014, after spending $50,000 to install the lanes. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • ACHD erased the bike lane pilot project on Idaho Street in June 2014, after spending $50,000 to install the lanes.


Bike lanes in downtown Boise were a source of contention among citizens and agencies alike during the summer of 2014 after the Ada County Highway District invested $50,000 to install bike lanes on Capitol Boulevard, Main and Idaho streets—and then yanked the pilot program 30 days later.

Now, the discussion of bike lanes in the downtown core returns at an ACHD open house on Wednesday, March 16. At the meeting, ACHD officials will pose the question: Should a lane of traffic or street parking be removed on Main and Idaho streets to make way for bike lanes?

"At the request of the City of Boise, the Ada County Highway District is evaluating a proposal to include bicycle lanes on Main and Idaho streets to improve access to downtown for cyclists and ease sidewalk congestion," read an email from ACHD earlier this week. "Adding bike lanes to Main and Idaho would replace the current plan to remove parking on the north side of Jefferson Street to make room for bike lanes."

The current Jefferson Street plan, devised by a group of stakeholders, resulted in a buffered bike lanes installed on Capitol Boulevard from Cesar Chavez Lane to Jefferson Street. The group then recommended parking-protected bike lanes with transit islands be eventually installed on Main and Idaho streets. 

ACHD has made the concepts available for viewing here and is asking citizens to take its Main and Idaho Bicycle Lane Alternatives survey by Wednesday, March 30. 

The survey shows a variety of options and calculates how much time each would add to traffic. For example, bike lanes with a painted buffer on Main and Idaho streets would give cyclists a mild level of comfort, while adding up to a minute of travel on each street during peak hours. Around 25 parking spaces would be lost, and the cost would be around $410,000. 

click to enlarge This is one proposal for Jefferson Street, which would include making it a two-way street. - ADA COUNTY HIGHWAY DISTRICT
  • Ada County Highway District
  • This is one proposal for Jefferson Street, which would include making it a two-way street.
Another proposal suggests building bike lanes protected by posts, which would remove parking from one side of each street (causing a loss of 240 parking spots). It would give cyclists a high level of comfort, and it wouldn't change commute time. It would, however, cost between $555,000 and $625,000.

The open house will be held 4-7 p.m. in council chambers on the third floor of Boise City Hall: 4-5 p.m. for business; 5-7 p.m. for the general public.

click to enlarge These are the four options on the agenda at ACHD's open house on Wednesday, March 16. - ADA COUNTY HIGHWAY DISTRICT
  • Ada County Highway District
  • These are the four options on the agenda at ACHD's open house on Wednesday, March 16.

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