Yet Another “Unique Mall”

While listening to the KBOI “eye in the sky” warn motorists of multi-mile traffic jams on I-84, the GUARDIAN editor was reading a newspaper story about a wonderful new shopping mall being built in Nampa.
Mall parking.jpg

We wondered if the mall was a result of “Smart Growth, Blueprint for Growth, or just Greedy Growth.”
Hard to argue with the mother who gushed that with a mall in the neighborhood her daughter would have a chance at one of the 900 jobs the developer is promising.

No doubt those jobs will all be high paying management positions. Others in the newspaper story were quoted as wanting an electronics store and a Starbucks! Did they forget McDonalds, Borders, Best Buy, and Red Lobster–all well known local establishments.

Then the eye in the sky guy read an ad for the “stealth bus” system which connects the old Karcher Mall with the Boise Mall and a couple hospitals–there must be a link in there somewhere. Can you see all those Christmas shoppers lugging bags from Nampa to Boise and stopping off to visit Grandma in the hospital?

Wasn’t that long ago (1968) that EVERY vehicle traveling from Salt Lake to Portland drove right down Capitol Boulevard and out Fairview or Chinden.

Boise retailers pretty much were able to charge whatever they pleased and if they didn’t have it in stock they could ship it from Salt Lake overnight on the train or the bus. People begged for a shopping mall like they have in Portland or Salt Lake.

Well, they got their mall and half a dozen more. Meanwhile the roads are not keeping up with the massive retailing outlets that are clogging every exit along the only freeway in the valley. Let’s face it, malls are dependent upon huge amounts of car traffic. Does anyone take the bus to Home Depot?

With the completion of the freeway and subsequent shopping malls we became just like Portland and Salt lake and Denver and Seattle and Tucson and Riverside and on and on and on. Progress!

The solution is a by-pass around Boise across the desert south of town. A “Foothills Parkway” is another idea that may be worth a look to serve all the developments in that area. That road could serve as a true LIMIT to the city and be a gateway to the wilds of Idaho above town.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Yep, that is what we need all right. More greedy developers selling off prime farm land to make another mall, but that is only the start of Nampa’s problems, next comes all the nearby growth, etc…

  2. The “nearby growth” came first. I think Nampa has been, next to Meridian, the fastest growing City in the state. The land for the “unique” mall was actually not prime farm land but land near a freeway exit…likely a natural place for some type of commercial development. The problem is the residential growth always comes first. No CEO says “shoot yeah, lets place this costco store out in the middle of a field and wait for the people to come”. The people who have purchased hundreds and thousands of taupe, tan and tawny new homes now demand someplace to shop, more convenient than driving the trecherous freeway to Boise. We aren’t only greedy..we’re lazy. I have a sister in Nampa who’s chomping at the bit to have her own Target store. I haven’t shopped a mall in years…not any mall. Not so much on principle but because I hate everthing that goes along with mall shopping. But, those thousands of people who migrate here for the “better cost of living and cheaper housing” want day spas and big box stores and Applebees on every corner. They don’t mind gridlock (they already know how to kamikazi their way through it) and it’s a small price to pay for their own piece of “heaven”. I agree with Guardian on this one, but the people came first.

  3. Agent Whynotski
    Nov 8, 2005, 4:59 pm

    I am interested in learning more about how the bypass is a good solution. As you have touted statements against goofy growth and sprawl, your proposal of an interstate bypass through desert would further encourage sprawl and goofy growth. The traffic between cities, from Caldwell through Boise, is bad but to warrant an extra “parking lot” for congestion deserves more thought, Dave. You are a library-type after all, right?

    Have you taken a look at traffic between Ontario and Mountain Home? While busy the interstate can be the most congestion occurs between Caldwell and Boise. Spending funds to widen an existing route seems to be a wiser way to spend limited money seeing how re-routing interstate travel would minimally reduce congestion because most people are traveling to Boise, not bypassing it.

    Let’s say they do build a bypass. You know damn well those crazy developers wouldn’t be able to stand all the empty space in between the two major routes which equates to more houses, more commercial development, more congestion, and more sprawl. Imagine how many Starbucks and McDonalds you can fill the space surrounding the bypass! And you drove the point home when you said, “Let’s face it, malls are dependent upon huge amounts of car traffic.” You are right because most business depends on people getting to goods and services. Since our valley’s public transportation options are limited to cars they are the most used. And a bypass with a lot of cars and a lot of desert and empty space around it might make the perfect place for a Mega-Plex shopping mall! Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?

    Condemnation of these developers putting this particular shopping mall in Canyon County needs to be reassessed. I do not necessarily believe these particular developers are here to help our community so much as to make a profit from it. And I believe this particular project has not secured any big tenants like the new development near the new Karcher exit has secured (Best Buy, Costco, Old Navy) which makes the Gateway Center stink of “growth for growths sake”. But when one considers how most of Canyon County travels to Boise for goods and services, it seems logical to civic leaders and citizens to put a shopping center in the community near a major traffic route. What would you rather see right next to the interstate? How about luxury homes since that location is downwind from the sugar factory?

    Perhaps more people from the west end of the valley will pull off the freeway in Nampa to shop AND work rather than travel the extra distance to Boise and that in and of itself would reduce congestion on the interstate and reduce pollution in and around Boise. Now that isn’t all bad, is it?

    Ed note–

    The GUARDIAN got you to thinking and writing about your thoughts, so we can claim a victory on that issue. Our main point is there is only one major route through the valley and despite a few lane widenings and resulting choke points, the capacity is hardly more than it was 36 years ago when I-84 opened (called I-80 N in those days).

  4. Agent, I thought a bypass would be a good idea until one day when I heard some dude from COMPASS say that only 10 percent of traffic on the interstate is thru traffic and the other 90 percent of the cars travel within the Caldwell to Boise area. A bypass road would therefore only deal with 10 percent of the problem. More likely it would replicate the problem under the scenario you point out.

    Ed note–
    Be careful of COMPASS data. We heard the same thing and can’t imagine all those 18 wheelers are coming from Boise or Caldwell!

  5. I love you guys!

  6. A few months ago I had a call from a client who wanted to know how to get from downtown Boise to my office on Fairview near Cole, on the freeway. Being a native (imagine that!) I told him I had no idea. I suggested he just drive west on Fairview until he got to our location. I always thought the only reason to get on the interstate was to leave the state. If I lived in Nampa or Caldwell I would take the backroads even if they are 30 or 35 mph roads – at least you don’t have to deal with the idiots from …..ooops, I almost said “California.”

  7. I have some solutions. Lets make light rail systems on every other East-West arterial road. Lets widen 2 lane roads up to 7 lanes all the way to people’s front doors. Lets make an elevated freeway above Eagle Road so people can get to their cabins in Valley County faster. A desert bypass road would be very useful. We could parallel the new desert bypass with Boise’s new Airport. Then we could a light rail system from the new Airport to the old Airport and then…..

    Let’s get real.

    Using bypass roads or widening freeways will not fix the viral effect of humans and our urban sprawl. We love to consume and $5.00/gallon won’t even slow down our gluttonous lifestyles. For the commuters: get a good stereo and sit in traffic. For the consumers: you’re causing it. If you don’t like it. Shop online…

  8. I see where Orville Jackson’s has sold to some Eagle developer, who’s going to build condos on top of it. (Orville must be rolling over in his grave!!!) First Koppel’s, now Orville Jackson. Well, at least we’ve got Target and Wal-Mart, huh?

  9. Anyone remember the first short stretch of Interstate in Idaho?

  10. I always thought adding a new bypass to the Interstate that would run south of Boise (making Kuna a new metro area, I suppose) would help relieve the congestion on the current route. Then I saw a report that indicated less than 5% of existing traffic would actually use it (which is roughly the number of those “passing through” rather than seeking a specific destination along the thoroughfare). The cost would be extremely high for such a small inpact. On the other hand, the foothills route deserves a lot more consideration — at least those benefitting from it would likely be local folks.

    Ed note–
    Do you too believe all those trucks are just driving between Boise and Caldwell?

  11. Agent Whynotski
    Nov 10, 2005, 12:50 pm

    It’s laughable that such a library-type thinks that these 18-wheelers are simply driving through our area. This valley is home to many different industries. Food processing plants, construction warehouses, auto dealers, department stores, delivery services, food service distributors, fuel services, and agriculture industries (just to name a few) and they all rely on 18-wheelers to haul their products INTO the valley, WITHIN the valley, and OUT of the valley. And it doesn’t take some dude from COMPASS to figure that one out.

  12. David,
    I am surprised that you missed Whynotski’s point – that growth (sprawl growth) is being driven by road building! Witness the Eagle bypass, widening Eagle road, the new Kartcher Rd. interchange, and watch what happens when the new 10 Mile interchange starts construction.

  13. Compass Data Self Serving
    Nov 16, 2005, 1:31 pm

    The point about Compass date is correct – it is “created” to support the Compass agenda. If you look at how the “public input” sessions are manipulated and how the survey questions are structured you can see it. However – those of us on the “inside” can never admit it.

  14. Grouchy Boise Mom
    Nov 21, 2005, 5:12 pm

    I’m just waiting for a Starbucks in the foothills. So what if we mow down habitat currently home to porcupines, deer, foxes, coyotes and red-tailed hawks…just to name a few? Screw ’em. They’re only animals.

  15. Agent Whynotski
    Nov 23, 2005, 12:20 pm

    Does anyone know of a group that doesn’t “create” or use data to their own advantage?

  16. Seattle to Boise
    Dec 8, 2006, 10:06 pm

    First off let me just say, that I was born in idaho and grew up in idaho until I was in the 3rd grade. My family is from here the whole bit. My family moved to Seattle and that is where I grew up for most of my life, and I have recently returned to Boise in 2004.

    It is ridiculous at what people seem to be complaining about around here. We continue to top lists of best places to work, live, and be safe, and all the time people just keep complaining that is changing and its so bad! Places grow, things change, it is part of life. Where we want to go with change is based on what is the demand.

    We can get upset and not like it, or we can embrace it and move on. People around here seem to fight so many growth issues, and by the time the fighting is over the growth has already happened and things don’t get done. First off, Why in all humanity was I-84 widened in just a short stretch and not completed to do the job correctly?

    I just seem to hear people complaining about a new high rise, or complaining about a new exit or widening lanes into my back yard etc etc.
    Now I can understand personal feelings towards your home town and your HOME! but seriously, things need to be done around here, and people need to pull their heads out of you know where and really get these issues taken care of.

    You think that this place will become another denver or phoenix? You can’t stop that, but you can definetely make it a BETTER example for Denver and Phoenix, and show those places just what Idaho can do when we work together and embrace the common goal.

    If COMPASS thinks they should widen my street and eat up my yard to provide for traffic.. sure.. that would upset me, but I’d get out while the gettin is good, knowing that its probably a sign that my street is going to be a busy street clogged with cars if I don’t leave. You can’t change what happens around you.. you can just change what you do!

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: