Calling himself “Boise Cynic,” a long time GUARDIAN reader has taken it upon himself to seek a 2nd opinion on how downtown Boise should be managed with regard to traffic, pedestrians, and bikes.
Request to ACHD, Boise City, CCDC and/or BSU: Please pay for urban planner Robert Bruegmann to come to Boise to speak in rebuttal to the Jeff Speck walkability plan to reconfigure downtown. It’s only fair.
Many may be aware — at least vaguely aware — of the plan to reconfigure downtown Boise’s street grid. Without going into too much detail it involves changing some one-ways to two-way but the most significant change arguably is reducing Idaho and Main to 2 lanes while adding a buffered bike lane– an example of which can be seen on the right side of Main just past the new Whitewater Parkway.
Although there has been a “new urbanist” movement in Boise for quite a while, the downtown grid plan seems to have been sparked or justified by the June 2013 speech by new urbanist Jeff Speck at the Egyptian theatre.
This leads to my point. I assert that one of our relevant local planning agencies, in the interest of fair debate, should pay for Robert Bruegmann to come to Boise and talk about the plan. Bruegmann has credentials at least equal to Speck. Bruegmann is the University Distinguished Professor of Art History, Architecture, and Urban Planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of Sprawl: A Compact History (2005) and The Architecture of Harry Weese (forthcoming, 2010).
Bruegmann lives in Chicago. I’m not sure what his speaking fee is but he agreed to come here and speak if his trip was paid for. That’s right, I personally e-mailed him and he replied as such. However, he might need to overnight here and have a helicopter trip around the valley to give him the knowledge he would need to address our local situation.
So, $1000 or $2000, certainly not more than $5000, could get us a very interesting and scholarly speaker here to give us another perspective on how to make Boise better.
Jeff Speck Walkability Report (Elaborate 76 page PDF report):
Brugemann’s review of a Jeff Speck Book:
Bruegmann on London’s sprawl, the attempt to stop it and the unintended consequences:
A third party gets in on the action:
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