ACHD Peddles Bike Survey

We got a request from the Ada County Highway District asking residents to take yet another survey with regard to use of what we used to call streets, roads and highways.

Today, these are “transportation corridors” and we reported previously that Team Dave wrote a letter to the ACHD asking for automobiles to be placed third on a priority list.

Without any further coaching, here is a SURVEY LINK.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Does not matter what you do on the survey. The bikers overload the results and/or actually do the surveys for the city or district. No conflict there right?

    ACHD will do whatever they want anyway – like on Emerald Street.

  2. Matt; of the hundreds of car trips and dozens of bike trips I have made on Emerald, I’ve never once seen enough car traffic to warrant two lanes dedicated to cars, while bikes need to risk death, or hog the whole #2 lane.

    Mr. Editor; the EROI ( energy return on energy invested ) on oil has passed the point where we can maintain industrial civilization. Soon, either gas prices are going to be too high to afford for most people, or the economy is going to be so bad that buying gas and maintaining a car won’t be possible for most people. There is a reason our roads and bridges are so terrible, soon they won’t have much traffic, so there is no need to try to keep them pristine and wonderful. There is no combination of fixes or miracles that will reverse this trend.
    If you don’t believe me, ask ACHD ( I doubt they will go on the record though ), they will confirm what I am saying.

  3. I live just off Emerald – have for 20 years. In my THOUSANDS of trips I see about 2 bikes a day – max. And the car counts prove it.

    Most of the time both lanes have cars going both directions. Nice try.

  4. I (a dyed-in-the-wool “biker”) took the survey yesterday. Lest anybody get the wrong idea, it’s not about Emerald Street; it’s about downtown, and specifically Main and Idaho. They present several options for adding bike lanes to those two roads.

    Matt’s cynicism may be slightly unwarranted.

    “ACHD will do what they want anyway…”

    Actually, the ACHD plan was to add a bike lane on Jefferson. It’s the CITY that wants them to re-engineer their plan, putting bike lanes on Main and Idaho, so they are asking for input on various options.

    “The bikers overload the results…”

    My response to the survey… leave Main and Idaho to the cars. And stick with the original Jefferson Street plan. (Or, they could leave it be altogether.) While I appreciate the city’s enthusiasm for making Boise bike-friendly, it benefits all of us to have efficient MOTOR vehicle travel, too. Taking away car lanes won’t make cars go away.

    I’ve ridden my bicycle in the rightmost traffic lane of Main, Idaho, and Jefferson for years and years. It’s legal and it’s pretty safe. (Assuming motorists are paying attention… and THAT is an issue that needs some attention.) Yeah… casual cyclists are afraid of that scenario and end up riding on the sidewalks, but are occasional sidewalk conflicts somehow worse than occasional car/bike conflicts? All of those problems SHOULD be addressed with more vigorous education/enforcement. (There are already bike lanes in both directions on Bannock Street… which puts the “biker” within 2 blocks of any address on Main or Idaho.

    Some “bikers” look around and see that people in cars need to get around, too. I do my very best to ride legally, visibly, predictably and defensively, and to be a courteous rider. All I ask from motorists is the same. Most of them – the exceptions being punks and rednecks in giant pickups – graciously work with me. THANKS!

  5. Suzanne Troje
    Mar 4, 2016, 9:17 am

    Has anyone factored in how the trolley will factor into all this?

    EDITOR NOTE–An insider tells me the cyclists are well organized and overall the plan (from Boise City) is to attack the automobile. Of course the solution will be bikes and street cars. Planners refer to “transportation corridors” rather than streets and roads.

  6. Matt; you see 2 bikes a day because (a) car-centric people are on autopilot and very un-observant when isolated in their metal box, and (b) riding on that stretch of road right now is suicidal, so most people avoid it. That is why it is a priority for redesign.
    I tend to hog the #2 lane on dangerous roads when on a bicycle, which is infinitely safer for the bicyclist, but can make for road rage situations with car drivers who are inconsiderate and hate any tiny inconvenience.
    My “other bicycle” is a full size camper van with rather large mirrors, so I am very aware of many of our roads being too narrow to safely accommodate both cars and bicycles/ pedestrians.

  7. Dave Kangas
    Mar 4, 2016, 10:10 am

    If you would have asked me a year ago about adding bike lanes to an arterial, I would have been against it. I thought it was a dangerous mix. Now, after being involved with the Healthy Corridor-Vista grant I have changed my mind. First we need to realize that more people actually want to live closer in, rather than deal with endless freeway congestion. Second, in times past all that mattered was to move cars. Today, more people living closer in, want to ride or walk to neighborhood destinations. If we only have roads designed around cars, how do we promote a healthier lifestyle and local environment for bicyclists and pedestrians? We can have both, it just requires a change in mind set for all of us, especially ACHD. Now for an extreme comparison, would you rather drive on Ustick or Harrison blvd? Or somewhere in between? Yes, if might take a little longer in a car, but how else do we get people to consider alternative transportation choices?? We cannot, ever, ever build enough roads and highways to accommodate traffic. If we don’t start changing now, we will be S California before we know it.

    EDITOR NOTE–Dave, we are already victims of urban sprawl. Growth does NOT “pay for itself.” Team Dave keeps annexing to create more residences and “higher density.” If we continue to build big box stores on Federal Way, Franklin, Overland, Fairview, State, etc. encouraging the sprawl, you are correct, we will never be able to build enough roads. If we stop giving away perks for “economic development” to SkyWest, Micron, CCDC, and all the others there will be far less demand for roads, schools, sewers, etc. Bigger is not better. Better is better. Bikeways on Columbus and Kootenai make sense. Eliminating lanes on Vista, Capital and downtown will only create havoc…all in the name of JOBS!

  8. Kent Goldthorpe
    Mar 4, 2016, 11:37 am

    Thanks for the “plug”. If folks go through the ACHD website to take the survey they will see an explanation not given in this article as to the reasons for it. I can assure you all that the best way to make any survey affecting the entire county would be to spread the link far and wide. There is no subtle agenda being peddled here, just a desire for as much public input from every last segment of the county as possible.

    Bike traffic is a matter of fact. The growing numbers of bike riders is also a fact. The doubling of the County’s population in the next 25 years is almost a certainty considering the accuracy of COMPASS forecasting the last few years. Making land use planning and highway infrastructure decisions with this in mind in concert with the revenue constraints included in current tax levies makes surveys like this one critical if public input is to play a part in these decisions. It would be very helpful for members of the public to contact ACHD and other agencies with ideas concerning obtaining a greater volume and variety of public input. I know, having discussions about this very thing on a weekly basis, that those ideas would be welcome and seriously considered.

    As to the claim made by J Smith, that was incredibly entertaining.

  9. I share much of Bikeboy’s thoughts as I ride my bike often in the downtown core. Bannock already has bike lanes and goes the entire length of downtown. Grove is another awesome street for bike travel until you hit the Grove plaza.

    The bike crowd has not organized, but they do have better social networks. I have yet to find the “Downtown Boise Drivers” Facebook page.

    People riding bikes are becoming more common as Com. Goldthorpe indicates. People riding bikes offer many benefits for a downtown core, mainly reduced parking and traffic demands. Besides a bikes make the streets look friendlier.

  10. It is interesting that Commsr Goldthorpe uses the phrase “affecting the entire county”.

    As I was proceeding through town last night and thought about this survey, I was considering, “ONCE AGAIN Boise city and ACHD focus on Downtown while the rest of city/county suffers”.

    Commissioner, Downtown bike lanes for 16 blocks do not affect the entire county- at least they shouldn’t. That money should come from city/CCDC/GBAD, or some DBA money. If this change is productive and wonderful for downtown (95% businesses) those businesses should be paying for it- NOT a homeowner in Kuna.

    It would be nice if ACHD had people who were thoughtful enough and well versed in their job and planning to determine the right thing to do— slow public input would not be necessary. The right infrastructure would be done in a timely manner. Wow! Safe, it works, cost-effective and meets the goal of moving people.

    Instead we got the expensive ugly barriers in downtown – two years ago- and now ACHD is STILL ‘studying’ the issue with monkeysurvey. Add this to the long list of ACHD junk.
    Makes a nice excuse when things go badly I suppose- “well that’s what the public survey said”. Pierce Park is an example of that excuse.
    Imagine going to your doctor and your doctor says, “well let’s take a survey of the people in the waiting room to determine what to do about your blood pressure.”

  11. Matt, I have done the bike counts at Emerald/Latah/American twice yearly since May of 2012. The average number of cyclist for the 4-6pm time slot is 133. The bike counts are done by volunteers and all the data is given to ACHD, IDT etc…. I will try to get the data for downtown and report back. You all may be surprised how many people ride bikes.

  12. Yossarian_22
    Mar 4, 2016, 1:01 pm

    I participated in the bike surveys for two of the years that they have done them. Any suggestion that these surveys are being “overloaded” are totally without merit, unless someone has proof that the survey takers are lying about the bike traffic. BTW…what do car counts “prove” exactly?

    In 2010, I performed the counts in the prescribed ONE hour time window, in the afternoon at the intersection of Kootenai and Latah, which yielded 44 bikes total. I also had to note direction from and to of each bike. It was pretty fairly distributed, if I remember. I have looked at the counts for 2010 at Roosevelt and Emerald and they seem consistent with the bike traffic for that sector (70 bikes/hour). Now, the directions are not included in the pdf survey copy I have, so I can’t say where most of the traffic is flowing to and from, but I can say with confidence that it is MUCH higher than 2 per day allegation, flowing on Emerald. I know this because I used to use Emerald to bike to work years ago. Most of the bike traffic counted for Emerald is at the intersection of Emerald/Latah/Americana, at the top of the hill. One hour of traffic there yielded 130 for the 2010 survey. I can tell you that most Emerald bike traffic for Emerald shifts to Irving at Marshall, as Irving is a favorite bike transit corridor to get to the Garden St connection that drops down to the Greenbelt.

    Most bikers hate Emerald in current configuration because of its alignment, which is erratic, due to the properties that jut out at various places, crowding the limited road width available to both cars, bikes and pedestrians, which is why many like Irving. That doesn’t stop bikers who still need access to their destination on that corridor. I know that ACHD has been wanting to address this for a long time.

  13. Thanks for the link I took the survey.

    I would prefer these Boise/ACHD surveys be written a little more user friendly like:

    Option A was derived by professional transportation planners and traffic engineers at ACHD, Option B is the shiny idea of the month from the City of Boise that really won’t work.

  14. Where's The Beef?
    Mar 4, 2016, 5:44 pm

    Commissioner Goldthorpe,

    Is it true that Boise City residents contributed only 40% of ACHD budget, yet they got 60% of the ACHD spending? If true, who’s team are you on?

  15. Over the past 10 years there has been a group of us that have been doing traffic studies in the Depot Bench area. Almost all of the studies have been done with the help of ACHD. We even purchased a speed gun to measure traffic speed in several areas.

    Part of several of the studies have included counting bikes.

    I noted Matt’s comments on bikes. I will tell you that not one of our studies that included Latah and Emerald (as cut through from Capital Blvd) showed anything close to the bike traffic indicated in the rational for removing two lanes of traffic.

    In fact one substantial finding is that Emerald carries 35% more traffic just due to cut through from Capital Blvd via Crescent Rim.

    While Matt may be a bit low on a count of 2 our data does not support anything near the bike trips used to justify closing two lanes on Emerald.

  16. Mr Goldthorpe, ACHD President – “…As to the claim made by J Smith, that was incredibly entertaining.”

    I know that having the average “politician type” be honest in public about a controversial topic is very unlikely, that is why i said you folks likely wouldn’t admit on record to preparing for the end of the personal automobile.

    I was at a meeting with Ada County Commission President Carol McKee several years ago. About ten people were present, one was a good friend of mine. I pointedly asked McKee, “so, you guys are aware of the Peak Oil situation?” She said, “Yes, we are very aware of it and are planning for a transition from cars, to bikes and buses.”

    The last politician type that stood up to me publicly on this issue changed his tune once everyone else left the room. He told me, while crying, that he was terrified of the peak oil situation and was sure he was going to die, because he was too old to deal with it.

    You can certainly take the 5th when asked about the peak oil situation, but don’t deny it publicly, it isn’t a smart move. If you don’t understand the issue, you have no business wielding any power over our transportation system.

    If you honestly are uninformed, please do your constituents a huge favor and spend a few minutes on the web page below for a very concise explanation of the situation. For further reading, there are hundreds of good books on the subject. One of the first, and still the best, is The Party’s Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Society. (2003). Richard Heinberg

    Peak Oil Primer

  17. Steve Rinehart
    Mar 5, 2016, 9:51 pm

    The Jefferson bike path plan was endorsed by the city and ACHD two or three years ago, after extensive public process. Even the mayor said he liked it. It was only later that pressure groups intervened to ask the city to take another look at the Main / Idaho bike lanes, which led to the pilot project with bike lanes down busy streets marked off with plastic pylons and the resulting traffic chaos.
    Jefferson was a workable plan; still is, in my view.

  18. I ride a bike about 8 miles every day and most of the time I feel like drivers in cars are paying attention to what is around them. However, there are enough people with their cell phones glued to their ears or trying to send a text message that give me the shivers for my safety as well as others around them.

    I can’t understand why police aren’t nailing these dolts for inattentive driving. If enough tickets get handed out perhaps it would be a safer world for all of us. The legislature is loathe to enact an outright ban on cell phones while driving, so it translates to these cretins it must be OK to aim two tons or more of steel and rubber at all the cars, pedestrians and bikes in their immediate space.

    I observed the BPD handing out ticket for blocking intersections, why can’t they do the same for cell phone users who aren’t paying attention?

  19. You Are Nuts!
    Mar 5, 2016, 11:28 pm

    You have got to be out of your mind to be riding a bicycle on an arterial street. I can’t think of a more dangerous activity. (Perhaps base-jumping?) It’s probably a disqualifier on the life insurance policy.

  20. Flyhead.. for the same reason they won’t ticket red light runners. A tv news report asked that question several months ago (2 I think). And the answer boiled down to “It’s hard.” Of course, as you pointed out, the intersection blocking effort downtown wasn’t easy. But it’s DOWNTOWN. And that’s all that seems to matter.

  21. Businesses downtown pay huge impact fees to ACHD and deserve some ACHD funds downtown, even with a proportionate lack of residents.

    Growth critics scream impact fees are not enough and general tax budgets subsidize businesses…

    Talk with businesses and understand the higher rate of property tax, the impact fees, and higher utility rate categories, and they will tell you they are subsidizing residents and such gov’t fees are a major barrier to development.

    Since both parties (developers versus growthaphobes) feel equally screwed, maybe there is some harmony and balance with the current system!

  22. Several cities in Europe paint a yellow stripe down the middle of the sidewalk; pedestrians on the inside, bikes on the outside. Bikes are limited in speed and observe pedestrian rules. Would this work in Boise.
    A person that I know had a mirror on his car destroyed by a speeding bike. Bike insurance?

  23. Jack, if I were to WALK up to someone’s car and smashed their mirror, would you be promoting the question of “pedestrian insurance”?

    Not that I would, or ever have done that… that wasn’t me Mayor! 😉

  24. A bicyclist who destroyed a mirror would likely end up in the hospital. Was this car one of the many cars that is found parked with wheels up on the sidewalk?

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