City Government

Aimless Visitors On Boise Streets



Sunday the GUARDIAN bumped into some real nice tourists from Canada pouring over a highway map at a local coffee shop.

Being the know-it-all GUARDIAN, we asked if the visitors needed some directions.

“We went to your capitol, but it was boarded up, so we went to the Depot and it too was closed. Do you have anything that is open here?” they asked.

Since the man was competing in the Arborist tree climbing event at Julia Davis Park, we suggested to the wife she could walk the Greenbelt east to the MK Nature Center, but cautioned her there were no signs directing one there and no sign identifying the place once you get there on the Greenbelt. (Fish and Game promises the Guardian there is a sign “in the works,” but it hasn’t shown up).

Then we told them about the spectacular view from Table Rock, but remembered there are no direction signs for that State-owned attraction either. We hope they aren’t lost somewhere up Rock Canyon at this moment.

The tourist informtion office was closed (it is somewhere on Vista) so there was no place to get them a detailed map of the city…no one visits on weekends do they? We settled on routing to the Birds of Prey area south of Kuna via the Meridian exit that is under construction or the Highway 21 loop drive to Idaho CIty, Lowman, and Garden Valley.

Despite repeated pleas by the GURDIAN, officials of the ACHD, Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau, State Highway, Fish and Game, and City of Boise can’t seem to get their acts together to make life easier for those who visit our fair city.

Instead, they promote trains, convention centers, and Special Olympics.
We envision vanloads of Special Olympians wandering around aimlessly when that event hits town.

Previous pleas in 2006 and 2007.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. We can’t have it both ways Guardian! Why should we point out the highlights of our community to people we don’t want to move here anyway! All those signs would do is to reinforce the desire to live here. Let them wander around and then go home and tell their neighbors, “seemed like a nice place, but you can’t find anything interesting!”

  2. Before the gov’t can does something as complex as tourist signs, how about ACHD getting rid of those street signs with the arrows pointing out the block number. You know, the arrows that may confuse people to the direction of the the one way street it sits above.

    And how about getting rid of those illegal billboard bus benches. You know, the ones that are on streets that don’t even have bus routes.

    As for the greenbelt, the Greenbelt is not all seen in a day. It is really long. It took me a couple of years to learn the most of the thing. Besides, most young people are probably more interested in the foothills mountain biking trails.

  3. Heck, I’ve lived in the area for nearly 50 years and *still* can’t find some of that stuff.
    Yeah, the Depot should be open all the time; the Capitol should have signs to tell people where to find the various officials, legislators, etc.; friends and I tried to go to the Birds of Prey a few years ago and got lost …
    And if one does learn how to find a particular thing in Boise, don’t expect the same route to be available the next time you want to go.
    Ah, well …

  4. The Boise Picayune
    Sep 22, 2008, 4:18 pm

    Hell… We don’t even have any “Welcome to Boise” type signs.

    The only thing greeting people to the “City of Trees” at the end of the Connector is dirt and a cell phone dealership.

    And while you can be sure that the muckety-mucks at the Convention and Visitors Bureau are well compensated, they rely on septuagenarian volunteers to staff a downtown Visitors Information office laden with dated materials.


  5. I recently visited Sonoma Valley California. One of the towns there (Healdsburg) and a sign similar to the one pictured on each street corner for pedestrians. The sign showed the businesses located down each side of the block. Very cool indeed.

  6. bobbie patterson
    Sep 25, 2008, 4:30 pm

    Dave – Interesting that whenever the subject of visitors comes up no one bothers to call us to see what information is available. Anyone coming to town for any reason can call us or email us and ask for a complete city visitor guide. We also run two information centers with 50 wonderful senior volunteers. When they are not open at the Vista location we leave a basket of guides and maps for visitors with a note encouraging them to help themselves to all of the materials which, by the way are free. At the center on the Grove walkway we leave a note in the window stating that if we are closed they are welcome to step next door to “Taters” where we also leave a supply of free information.

    As far as signing is concerned for some of the attractions I don’t have solution for all of those needs. I know we do have our information centers well signed for both downtown and coming off of the freeway.

    I think I will send you a couple of copies of our visitors guide so you can share it if you run into other “lost” visitors. You might consider sending them to the African exhibit at the zoo, to the Botanical Gardens, to the great view at the new Veterans Cemetery, or how about the Warhawk Museum. How about the Discovery Center or the Old Pen Or the Art Museum and Historical Museum.

    Lots to see and do and we are really trying to provide the visitor with good information!

    And to Picayune – Your observations about the knowledge, the age and kindness of our volunteers as well as your analysis of the dated nature of our materials tells me you have not stopped in often or bothered to get to know both the people and the information!

    EDITOR–We didn’t suffer from lack of destinations, the problem was lack of signs! Imagine giving a stranger directions to Table Rock from Vista and Kootenai. In all fairness, they did have some freebies from the Closed visitor center.

  7. Ms. Patterson, I have no doubt that you are an involved, caring, supporter of Boise visitors. But to think that visitors will hunt the centers down to get directions or to find what is available to do while here in town is a bit naive. To give a visitor a pamphlet and then expect them to navigate a city they are not familiar with is not the best plan. There nees to be signs prominently posted throughout the city “pointing” the way, not only for visitors, but for our residents as well. Many people would find the signs make good “reminders” of what the city has to offer.
    After maintaining a fairly involved position in local politics, I can only assume that the city leaders don’t really care about this subject. It is much easier to “Talk the talk” rather than actually do a little “walking the walk”! They seem to be only interested in this at election time, and then , as with MOST other issues, they are forgotten about the day after election.

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