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New 'Bike Boxes' Impacting Downtown Boise Traffic 

click to enlarge This type of bike box has been installed at Capitol and Myrtle. - ACHD
  • ACHD
  • This type of bike box has been installed at Capitol and Myrtle.


Boise motorists, cyclists and pedestrians should take note: The green boxes are back, but this time they're back to stay. After a brief trial period in the summer of 2014, the Ada County Highway District has decided to reintroduce the concept to some of downtown Boise's busiest intersections

The ACHD sent out notifications early Monday that the first of the boxes—better known as "bike boxes"—has appeared near the intersection of Capitol Boulevard and Myrtle Street. The idea is to provide a space for bicycle safety, particularly in a spot where vehicles make frequent turns.

The rules of the bike box at Capitol and Myrtle are straightforward: bicycles stop at a red light and remain in the box. When the light turns green, cyclists enter the intersection first, followed by autos.

Simply put, motorists at intersections with bike boxes no longer make right turns on red lights.

click to enlarge This type of bike box will be installed on River, Idaho and Bannock streets. - ACHD
  • ACHD
  • This type of bike box will be installed on River, Idaho and Bannock streets.
A slightly different type of green bike box will soon appear on River, Idaho and Bannock streets. In those instances, the bike boxes will be designed to assist cyclists making left turns. In those bike boxes, cyclists will wait in the green bike box on the right-hand side of the road until the traffic light turns red. Only then can cyclists make a left turn, traveling in front of the stopped traffic but proceeding with the flow of traffic in the new direction.

Boise motorists got a taste of bike boxes in 2014 as part of a buffed bike lane pilot project but were ultimately removed. The new permanent boxes are being installed as part of bike lanes on Capitol, Myrtle, River, Idaho and Bannock streets. ACHD officials said they'll be out Monday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m., handing out water bottles loaded with how-to pamphlets on the new bike boxes.
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