Bike-Car Plan Hearing Wednesday At City Hall

Looks like any way you cut it, bikes are about to trump cars in Downtown Boise. If you want a voice in the motoring/cycling future, here is where you can vent or offer advice.
Woman riding a bicycle in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Ada County Highway District (ACHD) will host an open house tomorrow (Wednesday, March 16) to gather public opinion on different concepts being proposed for Main and Idaho streets in downtown Boise. The open house will be held at the Boise City Hall in the Council Chambers on the third floor. Businesses are invited to attend from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., and the general public is invited from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

At the request of the City of Boise, ACHD is evaluating concepts that propose to remove auto lanes and/or parking lanes in exchange for bike lanes on these two streets. Four options are currently being considered:

–No Build: Bike lanes on Jefferson Street. This plan would not add bike lanes to Main and Idaho, but would remove on-street parking on the north side of Jefferson Street to add bike lanes.

–Bike Lanes Protected by Parking: This plan would move on-street parking between the new bike lane and the motor vehicle lanes on Main and Idaho streets. It would remove one motor vehicle lane on parts of Main and Idaho streets.

–Bike Lanes with Painted Buffer: This plan would add a painted buffer between the new bike lane and on-street parking and the adjacent motor vehicle lane on Main and Idaho streets. It would also remove on motor vehicle lane on parts of Main and Idaho.

–Protected Bike Lanes: This plan would replace on-street parking on one side of Main and Idaho streets with a new bike lane separated by a painted, three-foot buffer and a vertical element, such as a row of plastic pylons.

Staff will be on hand at the open house to answer questions. Public comments will be taken until March 30th. Those unable to attend the open house can still participate in an online survey, accessible at All of the open house materials will be available online by the close of business on Thursday, March 17. From there, the project team will review all of the input received from the public, and make a recommendation to the ACHD Commission at the April 27 Commission Meeting, held at the ACHD Auditorium (3775 Adams Street, Garden City).

If the Commission adopts a plan for Main and Idaho streets, the plan will proceed to detailed design, and the implementation would occur with planned maintenance in 2017. If the No Build Option is selected, bike lanes on Jefferson Street will be built in 2016 with planned maintenance.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. HA! Your tag line was slanted just like the one on the survey- “Remove auto lanes or parking on Main & Idaho for bike lanes?” The tagline on the Capitol lane survey was similar. Not sure why the addition of bike lanes are always villianified. Total time from 16th to Broadway increases 18-60 seconds with these options.

    Here is an interesting presentation from VRT on Main/Idaho bike lanes.

  2. I like the bike lane protected by parking best. If a car driver yakking or texting on their phone has an accident, then it is two smashed cars, no cyclist or pedestrian fatalities. This also protects all the businesses from a car crashing through and killing people at the business. Clancy is correct, making room for safe transit for those who can’t or won’t pilot a 5,000 pound metal box only adds seconds to a car trip but makes our city a much safer place for everyone.

  3. I support the further destruction of the Boise downtown economy with additional traffic and parking restrictions. Comrade Bieter is a glorious hero! I hope the tax base surrounding the downtown never figures out where they are diverting the funding from because it sure as Lenin is not coming from the city core.

  4. Bieter begone
    Mar 15, 2016, 2:24 pm

    Imagine this. Two lanes of parking, one lane for bikes leaving two lanes for cars. Except, when a bus pulls over, and they will do that outside of the bus basement, there will be one lane blocked, leaving…… lane for cars!

    Then imagine when Bieter gets his trolley. They want to put it on……Main and Idaho!!!!! So one of the two remaining lanes is taken up by a trolley, leaving how many lanes for cars? One!!!! Which most like will be shared by a bus, which when it stops for a passenger or two (most likely one passenger will be waiting) will leave how many lanes for cars? None!

    So in a city that’s supposed to be walkable (remember that tag line and all the money they spent on that Jeff Speck guy) we get a trolley… people don’t have to walk. And on roads where the city really doesn’t want cars, they want two lanes of parking?

    You can’t make this stuff up if you tried.

  5. Yossarian_22
    Mar 15, 2016, 2:46 pm

    Biking is here to stay. Cars are here for as long as cheap enough gas is here to fuel them. I have worked close enough with ACHD and Boise City planners in the recent past to know that there will NOT be a total takeover by bike infrastructure. These plans listed are not new. They are the very same old plans having been debated since around the year 2000, some even before that. As long as businesses in downtown Boise demand that their customers have car access to their stores, there will be parking. But, bikers have been making their pleas for their own parking and lane facilities long enough that some of them are getting heard and even implemented. I guarantee you, many or most bikers have cars, too.

  6. They will rig the results just as they did with Emerald Street.
    They bike counts on Emerald were done by the bikers themselves.
    We live just off Emerald and have for 20 years and the counts are just plain bogus.

  7. Fred, I counted Emerald/Latah/Americana during the bike counts for the past 4 years. I can assure you that my results were never rigged or intentionally miscounted. The data submitted to ACHD matches my worksheets. I will be more than willing to send them to you! Pretty sure the BG will vouch for my willingness to stick the facts.

    Yossarian is correct. While I do own a full size pickup, I chose to ride my bike downtown for work and play. Not only does it save money for my employer and myself, it frees up parking (often subsidized) for someone else. I do not agree 100% with the presented solutions, but I do think bikes deserve some accommodations downtown.

  8. Fred – Proof of your accusation??

    The “bike counts are rigged” theory was shot down on the post…
    ACHD Peddles Bike Survey.

  9. “bikes are about to trump cars in Downtown Boise.”

    Did someone invite Trump?
    There’s going to be huuuuge wall to keep out all those noisy polluting cars! It’s gonna be huuuuge and beautiful!

    C’mon Guardian, that’s like saying, “No matter how you look at, blind people are going to trump sighted people in Downtown” — Speaking of all those ridiculous expensive, yellow ramp pads installed by ACHD.

  10. Investment in bike infrastructure will only help safety now and the economy in the future. There have been studies showing that people who cycle are more likely to spend money in the immediate vicinity vs. some random place between home and work. Towns like Portland have bike corridors that have suddenly become the ‘hot’ development areas for both housing (gasp) and retail/food establishments.

    I think another step to support bike infrastructure would be to convert portions of the CCDC garages to paid monthly bike parking. This would help to better utilize existing garages and provide secure parking for cyclist downtown.

    Fred – maybe you should volunteer to help with the bike counts to make sure the counts were accurate.

  11. Seems that Fred (above) and Matt from this other Guardian Post (see link below) are one in the same. Is your strategy of posting under different names similar to what you accuse the bike survey takers are doing?

  12. Here you go Tucker:
    “In support of our bicycle-friendly city, DPPS offers bicycle lockers for rent. Lockers are located in both the Eastman Garage and the City Centre Garage. Lockers are rented for $5.00/month plus a one-time refundable deposit of $50.00. For more information or to rent a bicycle locker, please contact the DPPS office by emailing or calling (208) 368-7944.”

  13. The subtitle, “Bikes are about to trump cars in Downtown Boise” – don’t you think that is a bit sensationalist? Idaho & Main have effectively 5 lanes devoted to cars right now (two parking & three driving), and all the plans involve trading only one of those for bikes, leaving cars with four. That’s hardly trumping cars. Cars will still have the majority asphalt space on Idaho & Main (as well as all downtown roads) devoted to them. More than any other place in Boise, cycling is great downtown. The experiment in 2014 showed that cyclist comfort plays a huge role in getting the people on the sidelines to cycle, and the buffered/protected lanes give the highest amount of comfort. They are the smartest transportation investment.

  14. Eagle Writer
    Mar 16, 2016, 2:33 pm

    I bike, but not downtown. Sidewalks are for walking, streets are for driving, and bikes should be on, well, bike paths. Why should the default thought to be taking away driving access when cars are registered and licensed for the streets and thus paid taxes to use them?

    Either register and license bikes, or put their lane/path on the sidewalk with the free walkers. It is no more an absurd thought than to put the free bikers on the street with the paid autos. And, the damage of a biker hitting a walker is no more than a car hitting a biker.

    Biking on low density rural roads is fine, but biking on inner city streets is foolish and we waste time and money with these studies and conversations.

  15. Yossarian_22
    Mar 16, 2016, 2:46 pm

    Any charges of “rigging biking surveys” can be easily refuted. The next time ACHD performs a bike count, I will personally join Dave and anyone else who wants to witness a count at ANY one of the listed corners at the time of the survey. Since Emerald is getting the most attention in this debate, I suggest it be Emerald/Roosevelt or Emerald/Latah/Americana.

    In fact, we could do a survey anytime. Any takers?

  16. Foothills Rider
    Mar 16, 2016, 3:54 pm
  17. The best bet for bicycle safety is to get cell phones off while driving downtown. People driving and holding a cell phone in one hand and trying to control 2-3 tons of vehicle with the other hand is just plain wrong.

    Driving in downtown is fraught with all manner of things like pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles and other cars and trucks. Safe driving mandates both hands on the wheel and both eyes and your mind on the area around your vehicle.

    EDITOR NOTE–Same applies to bikes. Texting and talking with one hand means no hand for at least one brake.

  18. Crimony Sakes
    Mar 16, 2016, 4:57 pm

    The city itself is promoting the protected bike lane. I recall (vaguely) that is choice 2. They’re asking employees to buy in on that one.

  19. Eagle Writer – The bicycle is the most efficient transportation device ever invented. It is a primary means of transportation for people all over the world. It is not merely a toy to use in places where there aren’t many cars.

    Your assertion that cars pay for the roads, so bikers and pedestrians are second class citizens is ludicrous. Cars absolutely dominate the landscape, and they kill 10 times more people EVERY YEAR than died during the 9/11 twin towers attack. We are still killing people all over the world and our US Constitution is being shredded because 3,000 people died 15 years ago.
    Around 450,000 people have died since 9/11 due to car accidents, but some feel ever so downtrodden should they be inconvenienced in any small way regarding their God Given Right to assault the world with their personal automobile.

  20. Let’s not forget that the vast majority of people on bikes have cars at home.. and they do pay fees on those cars.

  21. Eagle Writer
    Mar 17, 2016, 10:27 am

    J Smith – The bicycle is indeed efficient, that was not my argument. Mass executions and slavery are “efficient” too but we have chosen to reject both.

    I never said bike riders were second class citizens – those are your words. My point is that if bikes are to use the city streets they should be taxed and registered as are cars. They should be required to wear helmets as we are required to use seatbelts.

    Better yet, simply paint the bike paths on our downtown sidewalks and let them ride there for free, just not on the streets with the cars.

  22. Weren’t we beating this same dead horse less than two weeks ago? And the wide range of opinions, just here on the Guardian, is evidence that we will NOT arrive at a consensus. I can’t help but wonder if the hearings, surveys, etc., are all P.R., and our all-knowing leaders will ultimately pat us on the head and do what they want to do.

    Here are some observations, based on 30+ years of in-the-(bike)-saddle experience:
    – Riding a bike can be pretty safe, if you ride legally, visibly, predictably, and defensively. Even in a hostile environment like downtown Boise!
    – Nobody (or ‘most nobody) will deliberately run into you, even when they find your presence annoying… if they see you. If they don’t notice you, all bets are off.
    – The common PERCEPTION, by motorists and would-be and casual bike riders, is that it’s dangerous. That’s why more people don’t ride bikes (and clamor for dedicated bike infrastructure), and why some motorists declare that bikes don’t belong on the roads.
    – The biggest danger inherent in bike-riding on public roads is inattentive drivers. It’s worse now than 10 years ago, on account of handheld electronic gizmos. I wish the law-enforcers would vigorously enforce the inattentive driving law.
    – As they add dedicated/separated bike infrastructure, it’s a pretty safe bet that more people will take to bicycling. So, the only question is the cost – in dollars AND to other means of transportation.
    – There are far more people transportation-cycling in Boise now, than there were in, say, 2000. But ridership still drops WAY off when the weather turns bad. Dedicated bicycle facilities sit largely unused from November thru March.

    (I did the survey and “voted” for bike-laning Jefferson, and leaving Main and Idaho alone. In any case, I believe they should postpone a decision until we get a feel for how the new futuristic transportation depot changes everything. Are the wide bus loading lanes on Main and Idaho slated to go away? That could change everything!)

  23. Eagle Writer – The registration fees you claim give you ownership of the roads only account for 9% of ACHD’s budget. I have a car, so I pay those fees.
    34% of their budget comes from property taxes, and I payed nearly $2,000 last year.
    28% of their budget comes from the State Highway Users Fund which I contribute to just like ever other car owner.
    13% comes from impact fees which I paid when I built my house.

    So, please tell me again why I should use the sidewalks (reserved for freeloaders) when I choose an alternative form of transportation which is quiet, doesn’t pollute the air, frees up space for other vehicles, and doesn’t kill someone if I accidentally hit them?

    Note that most bicyclists also own a car, because riding in the winter in Boise is difficult to say the least.

  24. I think the following public service announcement from England about bicycles is applicable to what we need to do in downtown Boise:

  25. Eagle Writer
    Mar 18, 2016, 11:07 am

    J Smith – I made no claim of road ownership, those are your words not mine.

    On the other hand, when we pay fees we essentially “rent” use of the street.

    So what if many bikers own cars? I own more than one car, do I only need to register one and still use both? The unregistered bike pays no “rent.”

    I won’t waste space telling you again as you ask. Just re-read my previous post.

    EDITOR NOTE–Another bit of logic. We license dogs, but we don’t license bikes and we devote a lot more roads to bikes. Lots of dog owners own both cars AND bikes. 🙂

  26. Yossarian wrote: “Biking is here to stay. Cars are here for as long as cheap enough gas is here to fuel them.”

    So if fuel gets to the point that cars are beyond the average person’s means then what does that mean for all the vast infrastructure that produces aluminum and other light weight alloys used to produce bikes? And ship them from China in huge container ships?

    Everyone is missing the most important point. There are far more cars than bikes. More cars are coming. Boise City has no control over this unless they build a Trump Wall at the River.

    In fact, the greenbelt tunnels at Fairview and Main— my sources tell me that they are actually foundations for future car blockades.

  27. Yup – the answer is obvious! We need to discourage bike ridership, and get those people who clog Boise’s roads on their bikes, into cars (single-occupant cars) where they belong! Then traffic will flow much more freely! (/sarcasm)

  28. Not putting bike lanes on Main and Idaho is not discouraging bike ridership. But putting them in is the plan to discourage automobile reliance.

    Why can’t the proponents simply admit this? I’d have a lot more respect for them.

    It still ignores the point that Boise can not plan and zone outside its own city limits. Far flung car places like Eagle, Meridian, Kuna, Star, Nampa, Caldwell are adding cars every day. A certain percentage of those come downtown frequently, some every week day.

  29. Angry_Floyd
    Mar 19, 2016, 7:32 pm

    I would personally love to see Boise get a local rail and usable commuter bike system. We love sprawl and we love our cars in the west, but we’ll end up like LA if we aren’t careful. The S-Bahn trains and bike friendly cities in Europe are wonderful places to visit and live. Like it or not, Boise is fast on its way to being the size that would support commuter rail. We can either start planning and keep our city the wonderful place it is, or wait and end up like Spokane. The concept works well in many cities:

  30. Boisecynic – No big conspiracy here.

    Yes, it is good to discourage automobile dependency and encourage bike ridership. Make it safe and easy to ride a bike, and let all the fat, sick car dependent people who get zero excersize get an eyeful of the healthy, happy people in the bike lanes who are combining travel and excersize, while saving money.

    Maybe we should charge a LOT more for parking, like is happening in London…

    “…A parking space in London has been put on the market for £350,000, making it more than one and a half times more expensive than the average UK house price…”

  31. J Smith. Did you just call me a fat sick car dependent person? And where did I say anything about conspiracy? And you ignored the questions I posed. Why do people always do this?

    I suppose firemen and cops are fat sick and auto dependent too? Let the firemen get to fires on bikes. Maybe Burley can make a fire trailer based on on the Tail Wagon frame?

    Change all cop cars to bikes too, good luck with those high speed chases.

    Let’s ban taxis and bring on the pedicabs. Need to go to the airport? Better plan on 2 hour pedicab ride from the north end.

    What about construction workers? What cargo bike is gonna haul a bunk of plywood out to Harris Ranch?

    Funny you bring up London, Robert Bruegmann explained what happened to London and it was exactly because of the well intended but misguided urban micro managers.

    Look at Portland’s urban growth boundary. Portland = super expensive housing with the side affect of the west’s worst homeless problem which leads to its own environmental side effects of garbage and feces everywhere along the banks of the Willamette.

    The bike lane to hell is paved with good intentions.

  32. Liberty and the Personal Spacecraft
    Mar 20, 2016, 11:22 am

    American workers are very productive relative to the rest of the world. We American’s produce widgets with a bottom line of only 4% more expensive than China! One of the many reasons is the liberty multiplier known as the personal automobile. Another is the individual house and spacious yard in the suburbs. These are easy to find economic and sociological facts. I invite you all to discover the American dream coming true right under your feet.

    However, communist dipsticks like our mayor go to places like China and Europe and somehow get impressed by people and places less productive than the city he leads. Dipsticks like our mayor are at war with the automobile and personal liberties because he wants to emulate in China and Europe. Perhaps he’s attracted to the greater power of the leadership in those societies?

    We must make drastic changes to local governments. Agencies like the City of Boise, ACHD, and Ada County have become self-centric. After all the workers and well taken care of they’ll reach out for additional tax monies to partially perform the public services in their charters. Like our schools, they’ve become primarily a secure jobs program and unable to effectively perform for the public good.

    Automobiles are the coolest thing ever. And the newest are like something from the aerospace industry. The fact that they are affordable to the common man is just amazing.

    I do argue we need to make a change in motor fuels. We have so much natural gas in North America that we are burning it at the wellhead for lack of market. It is often found in the process of extracting liquid oil. Liquid petrol is problematic in a number of ways. I propose influential people like our mayor move the compressed gas technology of the personal automobile forward. The technology has made great strides and simply needs leadership to force the switch from liquid fuels. Buses and trucks are already making the transition to efficiency gains and drastically reduced emissions.

    All that pavement is expensive you say? No, it is not. All those government workers and pensions are expensive. The government worker is over compensated and under productive. America does not need to choke out the automobile and it supporting infrastructure, American needs fewer communist leaders and less job security in government.

    Liberalism is a mental disease. The primary symptom is a fear of individual liberties.

  33. Yossarian_22
    Mar 20, 2016, 4:46 pm

    It is true that when fossil fuels and raw materials become too scarce…EVERY manufacturing sector will be impacted. I do however believe that as it becomes painfully evident (it always has to be) of such scarcity, that policies will be implemented to ration such things. People will adapt and improvise accordingly. Bikes require a fraction of the materials a car requires to keep up with demand. Keeping the roads up will become a big chore.

  34. James H Kunstler, an expert speaking on our suburban (car dependent) civic design…

    “…Our suburbs will prove to be a huge liability. (As energy depletion becomes problematic) They represent the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world…”

    “…Because they have no future, our suburbs entail a powerful psychology of previous investment that will prevent us from even thinking about reforming them or letting go of them…”

    “…There will be a great battle to preserve the supposed entitlements to suburbia and it will be an epochal act of futility, a huge waste of effort and resources that might have been much better spent in finding new ways to carry on an American civilization…”

    Here’s a short TED Talk by Kunstler on the topic which is fascinating and very entertaining.

  35. Liberty and the Personal Spacecraft
    Mar 21, 2016, 10:05 am

    J Smith, You’ve been drinking Bieter’s Kool-Aid.

    What energy shortage? Do you mean the fictitious one created by the politicos and corporations? It’s being used to extract money from the workers. Everything which happened in this country in the last 30 years has been designed to eliminate the middle-class… including the manufactured energy crisis and all those other inflated fees and taxes. Our electricity bill is nearly 3x of 15 years ago, but the fuels for electricity production are cheaper now. If you make $80K a year, you pay approx 55-60% in taxes and fees. Most of it goes to payroll and benefits of government employees.

    The GOP is trying to tear down the only guy who can win because they are not really GOP… they are addicted to the tax and spend too.

    TED Talks has no credibility with me because they only support liberal speakers. Find me a conservative on TED.

    James H Kunstler is a washed up New York actor who blogs a lot on topics he’s passionate about. His education is in Theater arts. So NOT an EXPERT, just passionate… and just another anti-American liberal hack. The arts are loaded with commies.

  36. Liberty –
    ~1960:Global oil discoveries peak, and begin to diminish.
    1970: American oil production peaks, and has fallen ever since, just as predicted by geologist M King Hubbert in 1956. First American oil crisis occurs.
    2005: Oil prices soared because global oil production peaked.
    2008: Global financial crisis due to the high costs of energy killing the economy.
    2008 – 2016: Gas fracking fraud extracted more gas, but at a higher than market cost, and the depletion rates make it a very temporary short term scheme. Shale oil scam has produced small quantities of very expensive, very low quality oil that can not scale up production. Both of these are hailed as miracles that will save our American lifestyle.
    2106: Low energy costs because economy is still depressed, because the smart money knows that when the economy tries to recover, oil prices will soar again, once again killing the economy. Massive debt generated by governments to temporarily hold off a massive global economic reset to a much lower consumptive paradigm.

    Below is a link to help you understand what the popular media doesn’t dare talk about…

    Kunstler is an author, not an actor. He’s written several highly acclaimed books on civic design and energy depletion.

  37. Maybe downtown congestion will be helped by the parking rate changes. HOw many of you have circled to look for cheap parking.

    If the protected lanes go in….this is called a “road diet”. Road diets are used to increase safety for all users while enhancing bike and pedestrian facilities. There is little impact to the level of service when properly done. Check out these examples

  38. Eagle Writer
    Mar 21, 2016, 2:42 pm

    Liberty – Spot on.

    J Smith – London is a very poor example. Their business situation is nearly exactly opposite of ours. When we build a business location we must provide for adequate parking. There, due to the density of London and their public transportation lifestyle they are prohibited from providing the parking we would provide.

    The American west is more than a location, it is a lifestyle and culture. And while I could bike from my house to Oregon and back, I wouldn’t bike in downtown Boise. And while others may bike downtown, I don’t wish the culture of the town changed to something we (collectively) are not.

    And, your “shale oil scam” is simply ill-informed, but please don’t reply with any websites.

  39. Despite the wishing and hoping done by those who think they will by driving their personal automobiles to Walmart forever, geology won’t allow that. We need to put away the cornucopian fantasies and prepare for a future of scarce resources now or we will have no future.

    “…The Great U.S. Shale Gas Boom Is Likely Over For Good…”

    “…Unfortunately for the United States, it was never going to become energy independent. The notion of U.S. energy independence was built on hype, hope and cow excrement. Instead, we are now going to witness the collapse of U.S. shale oil and gas production…”

  40. Bill Goodnight
    Mar 30, 2016, 3:12 pm

    Some see things as they could be and say “why not?”

    As someone who has suffered two life threatening bike vehicle accidents in the past 40 years I can attest that mixing vehicle and bicycle traffic is a bad idea.

    In places where the two coexist it has taken generations of experience and fatal and nonfatal interaction to evolve into a workable situation.

    Idaho lacks sensible bicycle regulations or training. Most bicyclists I see in Boise represent Darwin at work: little regard for or fear of motorists or pedestrians, no sense of self-preservation.

    In an ideal world mixed transportation would be great. This is not an ideal world. We are inviting mayhem.

    to create a

  41. It was so pleasing to city government to witness the interruption of the evil automobile during the three days of treefort… that the city leader has ordered the police department to block streets daily at random and unannounced locations in Boise. This policy will continue until the evil automobiles give up and move to Meridian.

  42. Mitchell Jaurena
    Apr 2, 2016, 7:42 am

    Hmmmmm…is a “I told you so” inappropriate?

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