ACHD Paint Stripes Confusion

The following is a true story and NOT a condemnation of bike lanes or bicyclists. I hope it is not an example of an old-timer who can’t handle change.

UPDATE 10/30/15
I passed by both locations and noticed candlesticks blocking the Main St. entrance to the bike lane (keeps cars like me out) and the new paint job at 27th and Fairview. Kudos from the GUARDIAN to ACHD.

Scene 1 : main
Southbound on Whitewater Blvd. approaching Main Street. A series of white stripes puts my car in the right lane to turn right, destination Garden City. The bike lane is to my left for bikes to go straight across Main on 30th.

I look to the right and see the same configuration with a GIANT sign that clearly states “Garden City Right Lane” over the right lane (See photo). To my left–just like on Whitewater is a narrow bike lane between two broad white stripes. I proceed to Garden City in the far right lane.

Only when cars started honking did I realize I was in a really wide bike lane and the white stripes that looked like a bike lane were filled with “candles.”

SCENE 2:27th fairview
Eastbound on Fairview at 27th. A set of two white stripes that offer no indication of what is expected of cyclists or motorists (see photo)…is it a two lane bike route?

If you have any comments, please try to share some photos of similar spots that need ACHD attention. We try to do do the right thing, but sometimes it is difficult to know one’s place in life.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. ACHD looks at adding bike infrastructure anytime a road is paved or chipsealed. This has lead to a hodgepodge of bike lanes that have a lot of “start and stops”. Either more paint or a “Bike Lane Starts” sign may help. More of those candlesticks in the first photo could be placed sooner or blocking the protected lane (bikes can easily navigate through them).

    I encourage you to submit this to . I have sent questions and concerns to ACHD using “Tell us” and always get a response or corrective action.

    EDITOR NOTE–Clancy as usual you are correct. we sent the photos to ACHD before we posted.

  2. There is no doubt that the messed up mayor and city council and the City of Boise could care less about the thousands of us driving the streets of Boise in favor of the 10’s who ride bikes.

    They seem to think that by adding all these lines and bike ways that there will be fewer accidents. The future will likely prove them wrong. The lines create even MORE confusing.

    They also create something else – they create an environment where drivers no longer want to go downtown. That is likely their desire but good luck to the businesses downtown – they will not be seeing many of us anymore. Bye Bye

    EDITOR NOTE: It may be a plot of folks in Meridian!

  3. Guardian, That is an awesome story!
    It exemplifies several things about ACHD, our roads, and our road users.

    If you go back to that first intersection, (Fairview & Whitewater) and stand there, I hope you see at the start of the bike lane there is “a bike” painted on the ground. There should also be a curved dotted line from your lane (right side) leading you to the correct vehicle lane.
    The standard is a painted “bike” on the ground in the bike lane after each intersection, provided the bike lane continues through or starts there. So perhaps you missed that along with the initial candle causing a question.
    In Google satellite image there are several “bikes” painted in that stretch from WWB to point of Joes Crab Shack. So if a driver missed the first one the next one gives notice. There is even one in your photo. If you are driving over the painted bicycle image, that is bad. 🙁

    That intersection is awful- especially due to the turn only, from Fairview onto Whitewater. If someone blows through the turn-only – easily done give the natural flow of the traffic, the way it used to be, and the appearance of a vehicle lane on the other side (wide bike lane)– they could end up in the same situation as the Guardian did, or more likely they cause a collision while trying to get over suddenly.

    My conclusion is, no one at ACHD drives around the county – at all. 🙂 They must not bike either.

    Scene 2.

    In your photo, your car is sitting in the bike lane (again). That is a violation of some law, some where, some how. 🙁

    In the past, there were (unique) lines right there used to “narrow down” the wide bike lane down to a regular width bike lane and effectively ‘scratch out’ that section of the road between the bike lane and the curb.

    If you are indeed referring to the dashed line separating a bike lane and lane of traffic (those are everywhere), that is comparable to a dashed white line separating two lanes- a car lane and a bike lane (indicating- passing allowed). So it indicates a “passing zone”. Those too, as a standard, are at each intersection where a turn would be possible along with a formal bike lane- wherever a turning car crosses over a bike lane.
    The related rule would be “a car is expected to pass in front of any present bicycle only within that zone in order to make a right turn”.
    Any vehicle passing another vehicle, overtaking that vehicle, has to allow ample space to do so. In some cities it is common and in fact the new southbound Whitewater (exactly what you desribe going southbound) is an example of the car expected to cross the bike lane into another car lane (the turn lane) WELL BEFORE the intersection, thereby having the bike lane on the left of the turn lane. Theory being it is safer for the car to do that before the intersection .

    There rests the legal hitch for drivers committing a ‘right hook’ onto a bicycle as was done unto Fire Chief Doan– when a car turns right without allowing enough space overtaking that bicycle- it is the drivers violation.

    What is missing there in your photos, by error or dealy on ACHD’s paint crew, is multiple “bike” images in that bike lane to clearly indicate it is a bike lane.
    So again: ACHD!

    They recently did chipseal on that street. And when they repainted, the paint job was/is insufficient or it’s just not done yet.
    Fine,,,,, unless of course your kid gets killed there today because a driver didnt’ understand it was a bike lane.

    Consider a new driver, a tourist to Ada County, an elderly person, an infrequent driver, or a person not driving all over Ada County all of the time, there are MANY places where the use of unique traffic controls, or lack of controls, or a bad design,,,, either causes actual problems or has the potential to cause a problem such as a collision. Or, in this case, a lack of quality control creates a confusing and therefore dangerous situation.

    Apparently ACHD can’t see those awkward and confusing points- or they don’t think it needs immediate attention. It’s not a missing stop sign after all.
    And so why should they care? They’re pretty much exempt from liability of bad road work.

    Yes, you can report these points to ACHD and they may respond once you bring it to their attention. Anxious to read their reply and the response time.

    It reminds me of the image where the road paint crew paints over the road kill animal and the caption is “Not My Job”.

    EDITOR NOTE–BIKE symbols on Main are not visible from behind the wheel when you make a right from Whitewater…once in the wrong lane you are held prisoner by the candlesticks!

  4. partyinthe208
    Oct 28, 2015, 11:50 pm

    I feel both of these bike lanes could use some improvement.

    I remember when Main St was 4 lanes, before they put in that bike lane. It used to be a travel lane, and it WAS the lane you would use to get onto 20/26 into Garden City – so it had an arrow accurately pointing down at that right lane. When they took out that lane and put in the candlesticked bike lane, they simply slapped the “Right Lane” sticker over the arrow. I think they should have moved the 20/26 Garden City sign to the left, over the new “right lane”, and kept the arrow pointing down to the lane. They’d probably have to dump the Fairview Ave sign in the middle to make room, but it’s kind of redundant anyways.

    And on the Fairview/27th intersection, I think they should paint the bike lane green, and put diagonal white stripes between the bike lane and the curb. Surely these two new paint jobs will help tell us that section of the road is not for cars. Although I do believe there is a bus stop right there, so buses would have to be exempt from that to reach the curb.

  5. This is all just over-engineering. If there is a separate area for bikes, cars should be excluded from that area by concrete or steel barriers. Paint, signs and markers infest our streets and are distracting drivers from just watching where they are going. We would all be safer if folks just drove a little slower and watched for other traffic.

  6. Cyclist and driver
    Oct 29, 2015, 10:57 am

    As a cyclist and a driver I really dislike both Main and Fairview. I have seen cycling commuters nearly hit way too many times at the Fairview and Whitewater intersection and the Main and 27th intersection. On several occasions, a driver, wanting to turn right onto 27th from Main, focused on getting onto the right shoulder, ignored my right turn signal as I waited to turn right, and did not see the cyclist also waiting at the intersection. I attribute part of this to the bad habit of passing on the right regardless of the road, motorists still not watching for cyclists, and ACHD continuing to apply the “one size fits all” paint solution to all freshly chip-sealed roads. From personal experience, getting hit on a freshly chip sealed road really hurts and, for everyone’s sake, something needs to be done – correctly!

    Both Fairview and Main appear to me to be excellent candidates for a protected intersection, like the one recently installed in Salt Lake City. has a very well made video showing exactly how they work. I would also like to see PSAs covering road user laws regarding bicycles, and how to navigate the newly painted roadways and intersections.

  7. Boy howdy, Mr. Guardian… it really chaps me when a slow-moving bike rider is in the left-hand bike lane! haha!

    You missed the opposite side of Fairview (at 27th), where what appears to be a bike lane has not one but TWO left-turn lanes potentially crossing it. I snapped a photo, and commented about it, more than 8 years ago HERE. It hasn’t changed meaningfully since then.

    The ACHD will probably wash their hands of these particular examples… I believe they claim that Fairview and Main are STATE highways.

  8. Main & Fairview are ACHD’s; sock it to ’em!

  9. ACHD’s answer will be more signs. They love signs.

  10. good one bikeboy.

    I would say that is state highway when ACHD wants to ignore it and it is within their domain when they want to mess with it.

    Although I disagree with your description of the left side of Fairview being an official bike lane through that stretch.
    Granted, in your BN photo it shows the dashed line indicating a separate lane, there is no paint on the far side of the lane. It is not currently like that in google images, and no where are there signs or paint in the lane indicating such a bike lane on the left side.
    Granted Americana/16th, has bike lanes on both sides, but I don’t recall any other multi-lane one-way street having bike lanes on both side. Do you know of others?

    Since your photo was taken, google says they changed the second lane to straight ahead only (we all know how well that works) and added candlesticks to the far side to keep The Guardian out of that “lane”.
    It is a lane of nothingness.

  11. Painted lanes or not, cyclists may ride on either side of a one-way street.

  12. Rabula,
    True, a cyclist may ride on the left side of a one-way street (provided it is 2 or more lanes)…
    That doesn’t make it a bike lane, with the additional rules of a designated lane of travel.

    Safety first!

  13. Problem “solved” Guardian.
    I went by there today for lunchtime and on both accounts, corrective action was completed – more candles and paint.

    You must have VIP status at ACHD.

    Still interested in their official reply.

    EDITOR NOTE–I also passed by both locations and noticed candlesticks blocking the Main St. entrance to the bike lane and the new paint job at 27th and Fairview. Kudos from the GUARDIAN to ACHD.

  14. And how long until the candles are mowed over by cars, and not replaced?

    Look at similar situations around town.


  15. I’ve concluded the folks who place the orange construction warning and detour signage cannot read, and perhaps are not drivers either. Considering the low quality of our schools, my conclusion is entirely possible.

    They also never return to correctly positions the signs after vandals relocate or remove them.

    Meanwhile, count the supers snoozing in the pickups at the job sites. Especially evident before noon.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: