The Best Route Is The Road Not Taken

ACHD has wisely put a “HOLD” on the plans to make it even more difficult for cars in downtown Boise in favor of bikes. Here is their news release about previously proposed changes to downtown east-west streets:

The ACHD Commission has decided to defer consideration of the addition of bicycle facilities to Main and Idaho streets at this time.

Accordingly, there will be no hearing on April 27, 2016 to consider alternatives to add bike facilities to the streets, nor has any future date been set. The previously approved conversion of Jefferson Street to two-way traffic with the addition of bike lanes will move forward later this year.

Commissioners are concerned about the general turmoil in downtown Boise with the ongoing, and major, construction projects involving the Main Street Station and Boise Convention Center expansion, the Simplot headquarters/Jack’s Urban Meeting Place, and the pending request from St. Luke’s for the vacation of two blocks of Jefferson Street and the related $400 million hospital expansion. Commissioners are also awaiting the conclusion from the Boise Circulator Study, which is considering a new shuttle bus or light rail system for downtown streets.

Some of these projects and issues are expected to be completed or resolved by summer 2016.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Kinda perturbed….not because bike lanes will not be happening. If all factors are interrelated, ACHD should of required a Jefferson vacation with the development agreement . The Warmsprings/Broadway intersection was also not part of St.Luke development agreement when St. Luke could be the biggest factor in traffic patterns at that intersection. While bikes are an easy target, somehow St.Lukes seems to be getting a fast pass.

  2. Yossarian_22
    Apr 23, 2016, 10:00 am

    Cyclists will adapt and improvise. Any surface is a bike lane, if you are properly equipped.

  3. Nincompoops and the Fat Wallet Syndrome
    Apr 23, 2016, 10:51 am

    The roads are literally crumbling throughout the county. Children walking in the roadways because there are no sidewalks and the shoulders are muddy. Meanwhile this bunch of nincompoops is dithering away money to screw up the perfectly good roads in Bieter’s kingdom.

    We do get the last laugh however. Sausage stuffer bike seats cause sexual dysfunction in men and women.

  4. downtown is so congested with construction right now, a delay on more road changes is a good idea. Current construction is a phase, give it a year.

  5. Mitchell Jaurena
    Apr 24, 2016, 12:25 pm

    Strong but appropriate language concerning Boise’s drive for bike lanes

  6. Thanks Mitchell… too funny. And for the record I don’t think that the roads in Ada County are “literally crumbling.” ACHD, for the most part, seems to do a pretty good job of maintenance.

  7. Bill Goodnight
    Apr 25, 2016, 9:30 am

    Some see things as they could be and ask “why not?”
    Wouldn’t it be great if we could all cycle among the cars? Why, it would be wonderful!

    As a cyclist for 50 some years and victim of two life threatening encounters with vehicles, let me say the first rule of cycling is not to assert your legal rights to the road….IT IS TO SURVIVE!! Most cyclists I see around town are examples of Darwin at work.

    Idaho has little or no rules of the road for cycling and the public has little knowledge of what rules we have and there is no mechanism for teaching them…no test…no license.

    Placing a child on some appendage of a bicycle and rolling down Main or Idaho streets would represent child endangerment, and yet, that’s what the City would invite.

    ACHD just saved some lives. Administrative mixing vehicles and bicycles is a recipe for disaster.

  8. It is ironic that Former ACHD Commissioner Jaurena refers to it as ” *Boise’s* drive for bike lanes” instead of ACHD’s drive… maybe that’s why it is “former” commissioner. Juarena was not elected but appointed and was not able to retain an incumbent seat.

    In his election bid, he stated, “I have highlighted these needs in the last two years and have directed greater investments in roads, sidewalks and safe routes to schools within the area.”

    “Safe routes to SCHOOL”????
    How about riding a BIKE to school?
    How about ACHD providing adequate infrastructure for kids to safely ride their bike to and from school?
    Just last week was ANOTHER story of a child on bicycle getting hit by a vehicle withing 2 blocks of Whitney Elementary.

    OLD people might be opposed to bicycles in the community- until is becomes their grandchild on that bike.

    This would be better for a Throwback Thursday post:

  9. Tom Anderson
    Apr 25, 2016, 12:23 pm

    Perhaps we need a new Boise Gaurdian story titled…
    Curmudgeon Car Cultist Crybabies Criticize Cycling
    It could including valuable information about how God created cars on the 8th day, that bicycles are actually the work of Satan, and how incredibly dangerous bicycles are to God fearing motorists.

  10. Bill Goodnight (curmudgeon)
    Apr 25, 2016, 5:01 pm

    I ride 100 miles per week and some of it is on rural and suburban roads, but sure as hell not downtown! Bi-lateral subdural hematoma and brain surgery made me smarter!

  11. The bike and peds are organizing again! This time with the help of ACHD.

  12. It’s good to be in the right, just not dead right.

    Bill Goodnight is right, the object of biking downtown is to stay alive, not assert your right to the road.

    I bike anywhere from 10 to 50+ miles a week, and many of those miles downtown. Main and Idaho bike lanes are not a good idea. The pro bike riders at Jimmie Johns weighed in last year and they concurred.

    This case is a perfect example of a tiny minority yelling and screaming like children until they get what they want. Unintended consequences, people. The more bicyclists take over the roads, the more crowded and angry car drivers will become making it even MORE dangerous.

    Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Downtown is good enough, I have no problems getting around without ever using Main and Idaho.

    If you’re in a hurry, then leave home 5 or 10 minutes earlier.

  13. Yossarian_22
    Apr 27, 2016, 9:41 am

    The USA was developed as a car-centric habitat as soon as cars became the dominant form of transportation, led by the efforts of people like Robert Moses. The wide and open land mass afforded us the opportunity to build out rapidly. For a long time until 1970, the USA was the chief oil producer of cheap crude. It seemed to be in our DNA to create this motorcar haven. Europe is a much more pedestrian/bike/rail oriented habitat. Their own landscapes and limited national sizes and urban cultures required them to be that way. This works for them and their bike friendly facilities are appropriate. I can enjoy bike facilities if they get built or continue to navigate the streets without them. Asphalt is asphalt.

    It is difficult for planners to try and adopt these facilities into a built out infrastructure that is car-centric. It has become a cultural division and technical issues nightmare for road engineers. Some people believe that bikes represent a social engineering attack on their way of life. The climate debate enters the picture rapidly at this point. I don’t want to hash out that here. I would point out this simple fact…my own strong libertarian motive is to choose my OWN forms of transportation that suit my needs. I walk to the local shopping center all of the time. I bike to most of my destinations beyond that. I log about 1000 motor vehicle miles a year because I can. I do it for several reasons. I’m not here to tell others what to do.

    The ultimate decider of what transportation we choose is affordability and feasibility. Right now, gas prices are driven very low by this Saudi campaign to drive the shale producers out of business (and stick it to the Russians et al). The economically sound price of oil is about $80/bll+ for shale. My neighbor who worked oil rigs in ND just lost his job that he did for 4 years. At some point, we will see prices rise again. So cars will be enjoying a windfall for a while. But, many people have discovered biking is very healthy, liberating and inexpensive. Bikes offer a different choice, and that’s a personal freedom. We still own our cars, but we also choose our bikes or to walk. Isn’t that American?

  14. cynic- JJ riders should not be considered an expert opinion. My office is on the same block as JJ and they make the sidewalks dangerous.

    I would like to see most of downtown converted back to 2 way streets. This will reduce speeds and traffic. A few studies have shown upto 30% of traffic in downtown cores are people looking for cheap or easy parking spots.

  15. Downtown solution:
    One way streets on ALL streets between Broadway and 16th; State Street and Myrtle.

    20mph limits in the same zones, with traffic lights timed for 20mph

    No bicycle riding on sidewalks, no skates, no skateboards in the wheels up zone of downtown. If the street is too dangerous for your slow brain, fine get off the bike and walk it on the sidewalk.

    Right lane of the street is for bicycles either as a dedicated bike lane or a sharrow- with appropriate signs for infrequent users.

    40 feet clearance of no parking on downstream side of intersection (enhances visibility for all).

    Compromises for all parties.

    Unfortunately simple and consistent are NOT terms known to ACHD.

  16. Bill Goodnight: “Idaho has little or no rules of the road for cycling and the public has little knowledge of what rules we have and there is no mechanism for teaching them…no test…no license.”

    I agree with the part about “mechanism for teaching them,” not the rest.

    Road-going cyclists are legally recognized as vehicles in Idaho (and coincidentally, the other 49 states, too). They are expected to follow the same rules. The notable exception in Idaho is the famous “Idaho Stop.” (Cyclists may treat a stop sign as a yield sign, treat a stop signal as a stop sign.) And in Boise it is illegal to pass within 3 feet of a cyclist, or harass a cyclist. (Unfortunately, none are enforced regularly unless a collision is involved. I’m FULLY in favor of enhanced education and enforcement.)

    In order to get a driver’s license in Idaho, you need to take a test which includes several questions about cyclists using the road.

    I’ve been transportation-cycling in Boise for 30+ years, including downtown 5 days a week for 20+ years. If a cyclist is riding legally, visibly, predictably and defensively, it’s pretty darn safe. (Nobody is safe from yahoos pilotiing 4000-pound lethal missiles while staring at a handheld electronic gizmo. Another law that needs better enforcement!)

  17. @Easterner: some good ideas, but the police will never really enforce the no bikes, skateboards, etc on sidewalks and wheels down zones, they think such small infractions are a waste of their time.

    Almost 20 years of walking, driving and riding my bike in Boise… never seen a police officer giving a citation to a cyclist, pedestrian, or leash laws, but I see the infractions daily. I don’t deny it happens, just never seen it.

    Some police jurisdictions realize this (tendency for police to not enforce minor infractions) and they hire lower paid Police Aides, or other similar title, these unarmed non-POST positions are allowed to enforce vehicle registrations on parked cars, parking citations, pedestrian/bicycle infractions, leash laws, littering etc. This position has more authority and training than a security officer, but not the high cost of additional police.

    If we are going to have these laws on the books, there should be enforcement. Whether or not these laws are on the books is a second and different question.

  18. Eagle Writer
    Apr 28, 2016, 3:02 pm


    Compromises between parties of disequal standing do not work and should not be made. Would you meet a homeless person halfway on rights to your front lawn? How does a compromise between good and evil work?

    City streets are for autos. To try and make our city streets dual function corridors is to ruin them for autos and still have them dangerous for bikes. It will destroy our downtown appeal.

  19. Tom Anderson
    Apr 29, 2016, 7:46 am

    Eagle Writer; “…City streets are for autos…” Actually, city streets for 99% of human history are for pedestrians and horses. The personal automobile is a temporary historical blip caused by humans accessing fossil fuels created over millions of years, and, since there is no substitute for cheap oil, it is only a matter of time until the personal automobile goes the way of the dinosaurs. Don’t get to reliant on that comfy car, it won’t be around much longer. As the era of cheap oil winds down, we are going to find that burning the last of it to move 5,000 pound personal chariots is not practical or possible if we want to eat too. The bicycle and public transport are tools to retain mobility as the cars fade into the dustbin of history. It’s really almost comical the way old geezers lash out at anyone who suggests cars are not a permanent fixture in the world. Try pushing your car down the street sometime to get a sense of the insane amounts of energy needed to power a car, and then study up on the laws of energy, and the reality of our precarious energy situation, and you won’t be “peddling fiction” anymore.

  20. I think you mean unequal as disequal does not really exist as a word.

    How are we unequal? I hope you are talking about physically unequal. I am sure my life and my rights to the road are equal to yours. I should not be thought lesser just because I choose to ride my bike.

  21. Skilled Driver
    Apr 29, 2016, 7:54 pm

    Maybe Eagle Writer means disparate. Disparate things are not equal. Throughout human history roads are for humans to transport themselves or goods and because we are now in the age of the automobile, 99% behind us doesn’t really play in to the equation. It is not a relevant attribute to ask whether you are having a good experience with your wagon or donkey on the streets of America.

    We do have more efficient autos however. They are smaller than the conspicuous caddy’s of the past. They are safer, and by the way, a family of four or five can safely travel together in downtown to eat at the restaurant that was there last week, but gone this week.

    Perhaps creating, educating about, and enforcing a downtown driving zone would work. 20 mph like residential. Timed lights. Photographic run the light or run the stop sign mechanisms until people comply out of being scared of the fine.

    I know! Let’s send the transportation planners to metros that do this. Won’t work, but fun to imagine.

  22. Bill goodnight
    Apr 30, 2016, 3:49 am

    To those of you who offer the ultimate demise of the auto to tout bike lanes downtown: when the autos are mostly gone you won’t need bike lanes so deferring a decision is logical.

  23. Eagle Writer
    Apr 30, 2016, 9:30 am

    Thanks for the history lesson, Tom, I am shocked to discover that our streets once were for horses. But your point is huge – I’m sure we tried and failed with those shared horse and auto lanes until the primary mode of transportation won out. If you check your more modern history you will see that it is the auto.

    I plan to stay “comfy” and rely on my car as I watch consumer trends closely and I do not see an oil shortage nor reduction in auto manufacturing in the next 50 years.

    Clancy, “dis” is simply a prefix that means “opposite or absence of.” I use “disequal” a lot and thus it is word, and in fact always feels much stronger than “un.” To clarify, yes of course your standing in life and to drive our roads is equal to all. Your standing to bike the interstate lanes is not. Your standing to bike the sidewalks is not equal to that of pedestrians, and until bikes are registered, riders licensed, safety equipment mandated, and “equal” taxes paid, your standing to bike the city streets is not equal.

    I bike too and regularly. One bike for trails and one for rural roads and highways. But I always know I am not equal to mountain lions, or drunks pulling boats to or from McCall. And I don’t ask or expect the trails or roads to be changed on my account.

    Ride your bike downtown, but don’t ask or expect the town to be changed for the very small minority.

  24. Eagle Writer,
    You seem to be implying that a cyclist is not permitted on the Interstate. Here’s your sign:

    pssst Idaho allows it. It’s LEGAL Eagle Writer! Utah and Wyoming also allow bicycle traffic on the Interstate as do other states. That’s called “equality”.

    EW, You are also wrong in spouting that cyclists do not have “equal standing” to pedestrians on sidewalks. Wrong again. Sidewalk riding is permitted by state law- unless specifically prohibited by local ordinance. Of course, pedestrians do get the right-of-way on a sidewalk; they also get the right-of-way in the road- in case you were not aware of that ‘disequal’ law.
    Hmm, seems like bicycles and cars have legal lawsuitiquality (see I just made up).

    EW, you admit riding a bicycle on rural roads and “highways”… I’ll guess you are one of those idiots bicycling on Beacon Light and Floating Feather where there is NO paved shoulder to actually ride on so you are forced to back up the taxpaying, vehicle traffic. Thanks ACHD!
    Google street maps actually shows a recdumbbent (made up that word too) bike, without adequate flaggin, riding ahead of the Google car at Linder and Floating Feather. Is that you Eagle Writer? You were out for an afternoon ride on an ‘disregistered’ bike weren’t you?
    So 40 & 55 mph (60+ in reality) is safe for you to ride on, but downtown 30mph, 3 lanes of travel for safe and wide passes, with lights every block is too dangerous for you?
    Well, those are just “disequal” thoughts, Eagle Writer.
    Yeah, that even feels wrong typing– it’s NOT a word!

    Why are you so wrong on this issue Eagle Writer?

    EDITOR NOTE–You guys have gotten off the main route which was the ACHD/city downtown. Gotta go on to other things.

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