City Government

Garden City, State Force Bikers To Court

For almost three years the Citizens for an Open Greenbelt (COG) has attempted to reverse the bike riding ban in Garden City. The State and Garden City are resolute in maintaining no bike riding along this section in the Riverside Village area; the same section (our public trust lands) that had been called a “bike path” by the State and Garden City for many years.

In a press release the group said, “Having exhausted our efforts to resolve this out of court, this last Friday, November 12, our attorneys filed a complaint on behalf of COG in the Fourth District Court, in Ada County. We have been unwavering in our commitment to eliminate this unjust Garden City bike ban ordinance. The defendants in this case are Garden City AND the State of Idaho Land Board.”

Essentially they are arguing that:
1. This disputed section in Garden City (Riverside Village area) was intended, designed and created for bike riding.
2. The State and Garden City have arbitrarily and wrongfully limited the citizens’ right to utilize a public bike path for bike riding.
3. Garden City enacted an ordinance that is unreasonable, arbitrary and in violation of prior agreements for which they were a party to.

The pro-biking group also said, “This was not an easy decision for COG as we had hoped either the State or Garden City would respect the interests and needs of the bike riding public in the Treasure Valley. But they chose not to. As much as we’re glad this case is moving ahead, it’s unfortunate that we could not resolve this without the need for legal action. Now both the State and Garden City will be committing taxpayers’ money and resources to defend this lawsuit.”

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I was disappointed, but not surprised, when Garden City’s Mayor Evans and his toadies wouldn’t back down. (For me, it will always be significant to note that Evans was the developer of Riverside Village, before he became a politician. Coincidence? You decide.)

    I was both disappointed and surprised when the Idaho Attorney General and Land Board refused to act, saying that Garden City could make the citizen-donated BIKE path off-limits to cyclists. (What’s wrong with this picture?)

    I’ve donated both money and “legwork” to the Idaho COG. I fully expect them to prevail in this case, because they are right and Garden City is wrong. (Garden City further reinforces their place as the punch-line of local jokes, however.)

  2. Why can’t there be one small part of the greenbelt where one can walk without fear of being run down by a speeding bike who doesn’t announce their presence until they’ve given a heart attack to the pedestrian?

    It’s not like bikers can’t ride on every other part of the greenbelt (exception natural area in SE Boise) or on Foothills trails (where even in dismount zones near pedestrians they don’t). Sheesh. How about giving pedestrians a little bit of respect?

  3. In response to nan emouse:

    The Greenbelt was envisioned as a multi-mode transportation/recreation corridor, extending all along the Boise River.

    Multi-mode certainly should accommodate pedestrians from one end to the other! (And cyclists!) If some cyclists are exceeding 15mph, or not announcing their presence in a reasonable manner, should all cyclists be banned? That would be akin to banning all cars from the roads because some drivers get drunk.

    I’m sympathetic – those Lance Armstrong -wannabe wankers on the Greenbelt certainly aren’t good ambassadors for transportation cycling. However, I see inconsiderate pedestrians as well – taking the entire width of the path, all-over-the-place dogs on crazy-long leashes, stopped to chat in the middle of the path, etc. (And SURELY you’re not one of those pedestrians with the music earplugs… who’s oblivious to outside sounds, but who gets mad when surprised by a cyclist.) Let’s ALL play nice!

  4. Bike Boy. Are you kidding me? Pedestrians who are inconsiderate and take “the entire width of the path”? Try driving in the North End when bicyclists are three- and four-abreast in (and over the line of) the bike path and then squeal cause we horrible people who drive cars have difficulty maneuvering around them. Or those who do not pay any attention to red lights or stop signs and come careening around corners so fast that a driver must slam their brakes on. I especially enjoy it when it is dark out and a bicyclist does not have reflective clothing on but darts across oncoming traffic to take a turn. I respect bicyclists’ right to bicycle. I recognize it is good for the environment and is a healthy lifestyle for the rider. But you need to be honest that the primary (albeit not exclusive) problem in this city is the disrespect shown to pedestrians and automobile drivers by many, many bicyclists on a regular basis.

  5. First Garden City, then move the lawsuit to Boise for SE Boise. The nature area was good enough for a 6-lane road bridge to cut through it, but not good enough for bike paths.

    The greenbelt is an important amenity for the city and an important transit corridor for bike/ped commuting.

    I too have seen very rude bikers and very rude pedestrians who walk 4-abreast taking the whole path and then appear disgusted when you need to pass.

    Greenbelt should be a bit wider and more education and enforcement of bikers, pets, and peds.

  6. We are straying way off-topic here. But “Amazed” obviously sees the situation from behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

    You will not get an argument from me that there are plenty of “bad” cyclists (either uneducated or unwilling to follow the rules for whatever reason). I’m TOTALLY resentful of them!

    However – I can’t say whether there are more bad cyclists or motorists, as a percentage of the whole. Do you s’pose “Amazed” sees the red-light-runners, speeders, impaired drivers, drivers who are barely capable to begin with, distracting themselves with handheld electronics? And those motorists are putting other citizens in danger with their careless actions. At least the bad cyclists rarely kill somebody else; bad motorists kill innocents regularly. It’s “collateral damage” that society is apparently willing to accept.

    Boise’s “primary problem” is NOT disrespect shown by bicyclists. I can say that honestly. (Although I agree it’s a problem. I’d LOVE to see enhanced enforcement, and I tell the authorities that every chance I get.)

    Regarding the SE Boise “nature trail” – the dynamics are different. That has ALWAYS been private property. Property owners can grant an easement for the greenbelt, and many have. But it’s their choice. By contrast, the Riverside Village path is PUBLIC property – it was deeded from the State to Garden City, contingent upon their maintaining it as a public “bike path.” It does NOT belong to Riverside Village.

  7. I’m with bikeboy. And it’s not like the Riverside Village section has a lot of bicycle traffic.

    The same selfish arguments have been made since the greenbelt was begun. The Goodman Oil property comes to mind. Old man Goodman refused to give an easement, the paving contractor paved his section anyway and then said–“oops,” ah, the good old days. Where is he now? The greenbelt is still there and loved by nearly everyone.

  8. Amazed. As a cyclist who rides their bike to work everyday, I have never been so insulted. Clearly, you dont ride bikes, or probably even walk for that matter. Every day i fear for my life because some artard driving never pays attention. Its illegal yes illegal for cyclist to ride on sidewalks. And considering the complete lack of bicycle lanes downtown, cars should share the road. Some of us dont have the money to drive a beamer to work. I guarantee you have never biked to your job once for that matter or you would know how cars are constantly trying to “race” cyclist in order to make it to work on time, because they left the house late.
    I’m deeply sorry that cyclist have caused you to be 30 seconds late to wherever you were going. Get off your phone and pay attention.

  9. Chris Mitchell
    Nov 17, 2010, 2:38 pm

    Oh why can’t we all just get along?

    I feel like a parent needs to step in and say, “if you can’t stop fighting then I’m going to take the greenbelt away and nobody can play with it.”

  10. If more people knew the real story as to how Riverside Village (RV) Greenbelt became off limits to bicycles, I think they might take a different view of the “Nature Trail” there. The RV developer, now the Garden City Mayor and RV resident, reneged on a promise to (contract with) the State to provide bicycle access on this section of the Greenbelt (as well as putting up signs making it look like a crime to traverse the Greenbelt at night).

    See for more details.

    Three cheers to Gary Segers and COG for defending State-granted privileges in the face of greedy NIMBY-ites.

  11. Rod in SE Boise
    Nov 17, 2010, 8:44 pm

    Once again, a story about bicycles draws large numbers of comments. Seems like the only stories that draw more comments are the ones about BPD brutality.

  12. When the initial protests took place, it was obvious that some of the homeowners had “landscaped” to the waters edge on property they clearly do not control. It would be poetic justice for the “open the greenbelt” side to have some “picnics” in those areas to see how the homeowners like that use! When the question was raised to the HOA, it was clear that Evans had misled some and was using his office as mayor to “cover his rear”.

  13. If some bikers are inconsiderate, ban ’em all.
    If some drivers are inconsiderate, ban ’em all.
    Oh, yeah, that solves the problem — no bikes, no cars.

    Somehow, I don’t think anybody would go for that.

    Of course everybody, including The Boise Guardian, seems to have forgotten that in the original plans for the Greenbelt, it was to be open to all non-motorized modes of travel, including bicyclists, tricyclists, pedestrians and EQUESTRIANS! And it was going to be unpaved, so the equestrians — yep, those folks who ride horses, donkeys and mules (and even zebras, if they can ever break one) could have equal rights, too. So where’s all the outcry for them, huh, equal-righters?

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