ACHD

Letter To ACHD Leaves Little Doubt

The following letter was one of the thousands received by the Ada County Highway District regarding the bike lane experiment currently underway. The Boise City Council is the motivating force behind the experiment and ACHD is conducting the survey as well as switching the traffic patterns.

While “little congestion” has been encountered, it should be noted nearly 20,000 students at BSU are out of school for the summer and there is a natural decline in traffic.

BY JOE CEFALU

To The Mental Giant(s) Who Concocted the Most Counter-Productive, Unnecessary, and Downright Dangerous “Fix” for the Downtown Boise Bicycle “Dilemma”:

First, exactly what crisis existed that warranted the dramatic (and stupid) bike lane project? Why are 98% of the commuters in and out of Downtown Boise being punished for the sake of a scant 2% of bicyclists (a generous estimate)? Is the owner of Jimmy John’s married to the head executive/master engineer/top-genius-in-charge at the ACHD? This scenario is about the only reason I could imagine anything so stupefyingly bizarre as the bike lane project.

Not only is the new plan a stick in the eye to those horrendous, selfish, Mother Earth-destroying, fossil fuel-burning automobile operators, it’s downright dangerous for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists AND downtown business owners (you know, those pesky pains in the patoot who pay TAXES).

Besides it being unnecessary, it cuts down on essential commuting parameters like lanes, space for maneuvering, VISIBILITY AT INTERSECTIONS (now that parking spots are booted way out into the line of sight of a car at an intersection) and, maybe most importantly, a feeling of WANTING TO GO DOWNTOWN. If even ONE of you Einstein’s ever owned your own business, you’d have shot this plan down before it even got past the water cooler at the ACHD offices.

People entering or exiting parked cars will get clipped (possibly on BOTH sides) by other vehicles. Bicyclists will be struck by some out-of-town visitor in a car who’s trying to get to the Statehouse and can’t figure out the convoluted routine. Other drivers will wait behind parked cars that they think are waiting for a light to change. Traffic (and tensions) will increase – and guess what?? Most of the cyclists will STILL be traversing on sidewalks, and/or against the flow of traffic, and/or ignoring stop signs and traffic lights. The situation your trying to improve will get far, far worse – maybe fatally worse.

I have lived in NYC, SFO, San Diego, and LA and even in those bustling metropolis’ (which, no offense, Boise ain’t!) I’ve never seen such a drastic intervention by noble, well-meaning, civil planners as this moronic exercise in enlightened urban engineering.

How about filling some potholes?

Comments & Discussion

15 comments for “Letter To ACHD Leaves Little Doubt”

  1. Trevor David Hitchin Kaufman
    May 22, 2014, 2:49 pm

    Every coin has three sides….

    In 15 yrs of near misses…I actually felt safe the first time I rode the protected lane. Please close off all car traffic to downtown. …what purpose do the cars serve? Park…ride…walk… wecolme to 2014…boise….you have been left alone w lds bishops for faaaaaar too long…. jesus rode a pedal bike…

  2. Richard Evensen
    May 22, 2014, 2:54 pm

    Right on the money. Tail wagging the dog at it’s finest. Some dimwit produced this nonsense of a plan as part of some nonsense of a grant. He will be now traveling far and wide presenting the latest and greatest in “green” traffic management.

  3. chicago sam
    May 22, 2014, 3:07 pm

    The articulate article above pretty well states my sentiments as we were in Boise today for the first time since the changes were made. I found it quite confusing for starters and if I had seen any bicycle riders they would have been in danger. I will avoid downtown unless absolutely necessary. Just my snapshot

  4. Where is the support that Boise City Council is motivating the lane project?

    There were a some old people at the meeting in support of the new lanes.

    Most people speaking at the meeting yesterday were much more thoughtful and helpful than the above letter.

  5. The meeting also revealed some about the Commissioners.

    Only 1 has tried the bike lanes.
    1 is avoiding the area all together.

    The Chair (& Hansen) (probably all of them) did not know did not know what the Boise Bike Project is about or what they do (bike safety is a big part).

    Idaho Pedestrian & Cycling, CCDC, both said, we want to work with you on this, we have some ideas. Apparently this was the first input from their organizations?

    Commissioner Jaurena thinks there ought to a bike registration access fee- he doesn’t ride a bicycle.

    It’s kinda like people from the East making laws about the federal land in the West that they don’t have a clue about.

  6. Oh come now, this is a little dramatic. I ride these lanes each day to work and to run errands. They come with the same concerns as any other bike lane (door zone, visibility, intersection conflicts, etc). People are acting like it is the best or worst thing to ever happen in Boise.

  7. Richard Evensen
    May 22, 2014, 6:13 pm

    Trevor and Hitchin,

    What a great idea. Close off all of Boise downtown to cars. I am sure the massive bike fees you pay will cover the cost of the roads. And every once in awhile you can stop in the empty restaurants and ask for a cup of free ice water. Hey, we are all humans right?

  8. How about publishing a letter from someone that makes the point without being rude?

  9. Here’s the letter I wrote (for your consideration):

    Dear ACHD:

    I’m writing to share some observations about the “bike lane experiment” in downtown Boise. (I completed the online survey as well, but it didn’t allow for any details.)

    I’ve now ridden my bicycle along every inch of the temporary bike lanes, at least a couple times. Plus – I’m a 29-year veteran transportation cyclist, riding year round and working in downtown Boise. So I feel like I’m qualified to comment AND sympathetic to the bicyclist point of view.

    First comment: I commend ACHD for your ongoing and obvious desire to make Boise’s and the county’s roads bicycle-friendly. I think overall you do a great job.

    Regarding the experimental bike lanes…

    First of all, they seem considerably wider than they need to be, to accommodate single-file cyclists. Perhaps when the roads are re-striped, a 4-foot lane could be squeezed in without stealing a traffic lane. (?)

    Second, I have mixed feelings about the car-parking scheme, in the places where the bike lane is in between the sidewalk and the parked cars. It definitely distances cyclists from moving heavy traffic. And it probably is effective in reducing “door zone” incidents (car door opening into the path of an oncoming cyclist). But it has resulted in worse visibility. Just yesterday, May 14, I was riding eastbound on Main Street, and had two “near miss encounters” with cars that were turning left/north across my path. I was watching, and put on my brakes in time to avoid a collision. But in both cases my presence at the intersection took the motorist by complete surprise. Visibility is of utmost importance for cyclist survival, and because of that I don’t believe that the “parking buffer” is the way to go, at least in its experimental configuration.

    Third, I’m not sold on the green “bike boxes.” I’ve seen them painted on the street – but I was baffled by them. This morning I visited your website and read about how they are intended to be used… and now it makes more sense to me. BUT – they are not intuitive and without “education,” I think they are likely to not be effectively used by casual cyclists.

    It seems to me… there are three basic types of transportation cyclists.

    The first group is the everyday/experienced type… I’m one of those. Wherever a dedicated bike infrastructure is provided, I will gladly use it, but I’m comfortable mingling with traffic… and I’ve done it enough that I rarely have any problem. I know traffic laws and try to follow them. I ride predictably, visibly, and defensively.

    The second group is the “casual” cyclist, who rides now and then, but isn’t really comfortable in traffic. They are the ones you are primarily focused on, with infrastructure… because they’ll just leave the bike in the garage if they don’t have a bike lane. This group also includes families, kids, incompetents, etc. (I’m pretty sure a lot of these people will slowly evolve into the first type, if they gain experience and get comfortable. And that’s a good thing because another reality is… there will NEVER be bike lanes on every street.)

    The third group is the “scofflaw” cyclist – the “elites” who ride along Hill Road and think they are too “special” to have to follow traffic laws, etc. It also includes the poorly-educated cyclists who ride against traffic, at night without lights, etc. It also includes the no-hands-on-bars / earphones / handheld-gizmo-in-one-hand IDIOTS who ride along obliviously, as though they have an invisible force field, and expect everybody else on the road to compensate for their incompetence and poor behavior. As far as I’m concerned, you don’t need to do ANYTHING for this group. (Although I wish law enforcement were more vigorous!)

    I was enthused when I saw that Boise is #4 among cities in workers riding bikes to work, at 3.7% (US Census). That’s totally amazing and awesome! But we can and should do even better! We have better climate than Portland, Minneapolis, or Madison. And Boise is relatively flat. Let’s move up a couple more notches, over the next 10 years or so!

    Thanks for allowing a citizen/cyclist to comment!

  10. I won’t go downtown. Businesses have lost this consumer

  11. Trevor
    I think you are on to something here. Totally close downtown to ALL traffic. Just a proposal here… lets say from 5th to 12th front to state… and put up non removable barriers to keep the pesky drivers out. This IMHO will do two things… it will allow bikers to have the unfettered access that they feel they deserve and will also allow them to get additional exercise. Since the bikers seem to already be organized it should be no problem for them to get together to unload all the supplies needed by the various business down town, and since there are so many of them it shouldn’t be too much work on any of them.
    Seriously… it took a mental midget to decide to put the parking area in a place that puts traffic on both sides of a parked vehicle I am not sure where this idea came from but it is ludicrous. From what I hear this was voted down in ACHD’s polling even with what appears to be some amount of organization on the part of the bikers. Face it the experiment in wasting money has both succeeded and failed.

  12. Dave Kangas
    May 23, 2014, 7:01 pm

    I am a daily downtown commuter who has to leave his office regularly to show homes. I probably wouldn’t mind the changes so much, if i actually saw a bike, even 1 bike using them. However, on capital blvd they are all coming off the greenbelt on 8th and not using Capital Blvd. Personally, I believe there are corridors where bike just don’t belong. Capital, 9th, Myrtle, Front, they are designed to move cars. Spend the energy and money creating alterntive safe routes for bicycles. They might have to go a little further, but it would be a lot safer and a lot more effective.

  13. TeamDave and the council members will force us drivers to accept the bicycle religion… They will not fail in their quest to be spotlighted in a lefty bicycle magazine articles.

  14. WOW – I have watched all the news about the bike lanes but today I traveled downtown. I had forgotten all about the bike lane experiment…until I encountered traffic backed up from Idaho Street south completely across the Boise River Bridge.

    Words cannot express how unbelievably bad this experiment seems to be. In the 30 minutes it took me to get where I was going downtown I say ONE – yes ONE bike in the bike lanes.

    If this configuration remains I will do everything I can to remove any and all ACHD board members who support it.

    It is time for the stupidity to stop.

  15. Marcus – you must be a new reader – everything that’s published on this website is the worst thing to ever happen to Boise.

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