Julia Davis Park to Get a New Pedestrian Entrance on Myrtle 

click to enlarge On the left is the future pedestrian connection into Julia Davis Park, lining up with the end of Fifth Street. On the right—the five lanes of traffic it will take to get across Myrtle Street to the park. City planner Scott Beecham says a pedestrian crossing could be a few years out. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • On the left is the future pedestrian connection into Julia Davis Park, lining up with the end of Fifth Street. On the right—the five lanes of traffic it will take to get across Myrtle Street to the park. City planner Scott Beecham says a pedestrian crossing could be a few years out.

Creating a pedestrian entrance into Julia Davis Park will require more than a few elements to fall into place, according to Scott Beecham, a comprehensive planner at the city of Boise. The aim is to make another entrance into the park for pedestrians and bicyclists that aligns with Fifth Street off of Myrtle Street, and matches up with a crosswalk already in place near the Rose Garden and Zoo Boise.

"We're looking at this LIV District and the Central Addition as an opportunity to increase and improve connectivity between downtown and Boise State University," Beecham told Boise Weekly. 

click to enlarge To make way for a seven-story mixed-use building, a handful of historic houses in the Central Addition needed to move. - PRESERVATION IDAHO
  • Preservation Idaho
  • To make way for a seven-story mixed-use building, a handful of historic houses in the Central Addition needed to move.
Right now, there's a park entrance on Capitol Boulevard as well as Third Street, but nothing in between. There is a break in the fence behind the Idaho Housing and Finance Association building near The Flicks theater, but the Fifth Street connection would create a higher-profile concrete pathway.

Having a new entrance into the park requires some sort of pedestrian crossing on the five lanes of Myrtle Street. Beecham said he's not sure what that will look like yet. Eventually Fifth and Sixth streets will be converted into two-ways and a traffic signal would give pedestrians an opportunity to cross, but that probably won't happen until 2017.

To make that pedestrian street crossing, Beecham has to coordinate with the Ada County Highway District as well as the Idaho Department of Transportation. 

"Hopefully we can get the pedestrian connection in sooner," Beecham said.

With a new geothermal project set to take place in the Central Addition this fall, Beecham said that would be an opportune time to create the new pathway. He said the connection is especially important as Boise State University expands its presence downtown, both within BoDo and the new City Center Plaza, where Boise State has claimed two floors for classrooms and computer science laboratories. 
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