Ada County Highway District Chairman Carol McKee went back on her word Thursday and snubbed at least two citizens who wished to share their thoughts about a proposed street closure relating to a “multimodal transportation center downtown.”
When GUARDIAN readers expressed an interest in speaking at a Thursday joint meeting of the Boise City Council and Ada County Highway Commishes, the GUARDIAN contacted the ACHD and was told Chairman Carol McKee anticipated public interest and would make time available for citizens to speak. To preclude the exact treatment the citizens got, we asked an ACHD staffer for a firm committment and that’s what we got.
We posted the ALLOW COMMENT story and at least two readers attended the meeting ready to speak. One prepped several hours the night before with some brief comments and took unpaid time off his job to attend the noon meeting. ACHD Chairman Carol McKee snubbed both of the concerned citizens and made no time available for public comment.
When we contacted her with our concerns, she said there was time only for the elected officials to speak and she “had to finish the meeting by 1p.m.” Earlier this week ACHD Commish Sherry Huber had said, with regard to the issue of closing 10th street and a downtown trolley scheme being touted by Boise’s Team Dave, “They may have everything all decided, but we have a higher standard of public input.” NOT!
We applauded Sherry’s stand, but apparently we were premature. Her board did noting to include the public in the early planning and allowed the city to steam roll over them and direct staff to forge ahead. No one at ACHD or the city sought public comment.
If they had just listened, they would have learned there is a growing momentum against closing 10th street to make an on-street transit mall. A petition is being circulated among downtown merchants protesting the proposal, but officialdom won’t listen.
If the trolley is NOT a done deal, why are they calling it an “Intermodal” center? It should be nothing more than a bus station as there is no logical reason to plant steel rails in our streets to serve downtown. As it stands, officials are proceeding based only on information from those who are pushing for the scheme.
Rome bans cars in the center of the old city in favor of small electric buses. For our money you don’t have to be in Rome to do as the Romans do. Rubber tire buses would be much more efficient and flexible for moving people downtown than disruptive fixed iron rails.
FRIDAY AM UPDATE:
Daily Paper reporter Cynthia Sewell came through again with a story that 10th Street businessmen are NOT HAPPY with the prospect of exhaust fumes filling their shops and rows of buses creating an obstacle course for customers. Few businesses want to be located adjacent to heavy concentrations of engine fumes and noise. These businessmen claim they were never consulted prior to the proposed relocation of a transit center.
Based on our reader’s treatment, transit officials continued their disdain for transparency Thursday.
ACHD Commish SARA BAKER’S BLOG discusses the issue, explaining the “rush to judgement” is motivated by a deadline for spending Federal funds. Wow! We gotta hurry up and make an uninformed decision because transit officials failed to act in a timely manner. She also notes businesses opposed to the plan have contacted her.
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