Is Highlands Cure Worse Than Disease?

We received a detailed complaint from a reader regarding a recent Ada County Highway District road engineering project near Highlands School off Bogus Basin Road which claims the cure is worse than the disease.

According to the reader, ACHD responded to complaints of cut through traffic on West Braemere by installing a “diverter” at Curling and Braemere which forces motorists leaving the Highlands subdivision to use only a single roadway which increases traffic in front of Highlands School during morning drive times.

ACHD held multiple public meetings and heard hours of comments prior to implementing the changes.

Here is the complaint:

It has been a tough few days. The diverter increased morning traffic on West Curling Drive in front of the Highlands Elementary School where many children are trying to cross the road and also at Bogus Basis Road, where additional children cross the road. Morning traffic coming down East Braemere Road and from East Curling Drive used to be able to exit either on West Braemere Road (over the speed bumps) or on West Curling Drive (in front of Highlands Elementary).

Now, all this morning traffic was pushed in front of the elementary school. While this reduced traffic on West Braemere Road, ACHD only pushed the traffic somewhere else, namely, in front of the elementary school. And done so at the worst time, as morning peak traffic occurs at the same time children are arriving.

The school children have been on the wrong side of this decision.

There have been multiple reports of traffic cutting through the Crane Creek Country Club parking lot to take a left turn to defeat the diverter. And emergency exit in the case of large fire has now been restricted to a single path. There have been a lot of negative reports on the Nextdoor Website, who want the diverter removed (and to be fair, some who want it to remain).


datauri-file copy

Highlands map

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Not clear to me
    Aug 29, 2016, 3:46 pm

    It sounds like there are a lot of Range Rovers sitting around idling with the a/c on to keep the dog and kids safe from global warming in this neighborhood.

    I can’t figure out where the little picture is in the big picture or where the big picture is in Boise.

    EDITOR NOTE–Sorry about captioning. Hope we have fixed it now.

  2. Kent Goldthorpe
    Aug 30, 2016, 7:51 am

    Yes, it’s been a tough few days. ACHD has had to yet again go through the same kind clashing of cymbals, bloviating, and threatening, all to publicly rehash what has been publicly covered in numerous, well attended meetings, the thousands of dollars of in-house engineering expense that has been well explained to and well received by the majority of the Highlands neighbors as well as the unprecedented degree of personal, professional, POSITIVE, patient and active involvement of the Highlands neighborhoods and residents. The diversion was the initial concept developed by the neighborhood hand in hand with ACHD engineering and for which the better part of an entire public hearing was dedicated. And yes, the hearing room was full. The Highlands Mitigation team, made up of residents, went door to door explaining the plan, obtaining opinions as well as support, all of which was conveyed to ACHD. They also sent out tons of mailers. The high level of support received was amazing. I say amazing especially in light of the extreme nature of the limitations we have to deal with due to a lack of traffic planning on the part of the developers decades ago who never thought to accommodate population growth in their neighborhood design. Continued development in the foothills is and well continue to impact traffic throughout this area and many other Boise neighborhoods. I have publicly used the word “obscene” in describing the mess this lack of foresight has caused. The term still fits. The long term “cure” will likely be a bitter pill for many. ACHD didn’t cause the problem but we’re, as an entire District and Commission, attempting to mitigate the growing traffic problems of this neighborhood.

    I would personally like to once again thank those who were involved throughout this process. It took well over a year before any changes other than trimming sight obstructions and right of way blocking bushes were made. It is incredible that anyone has the audacity to accuse ACHD of not reaching out in this matter. No, actually it is laughable.

    Constructive comment and assistance is appreciated more than you may imagine. I hope it will continue.

  3. C. Goldthorpe’s response is typical for ACHD fare. – Blame someone else.

    “ACHD didn’t cause the problem”

    “lack of traffic planning on the part of the developers decades ago who never thought to accommodate population growth”

    Accommodating population growth?
    Is that really a developers job?
    Not the local government’s role… you know in that department called PLANNING & Zoning!!!! (ACHD & Boise).

    ACHD was formed in 1972.
    44 years of road “planning”, subdivision approvals, maintenance, road construction and it’s still the “the developer’s fault”?
    Ha! That is laughable. Does anyone take ACHD seriously? Even their attorneys are laughed at in court (Brookview).

    This is what we get since ACHD has been loaded with Realtors and church cronies as commissioners…

    So their other common response, ‘we made that bad decision in a meeting already. Sorry you weren’t there.’ So we don’t have to accept responsibility because that was decided in a ‘public meeting’. It wasn’t us.

    And then ‘we spent thousands of dollars to study this to death’.

    Seems like a traffic engineer with 1 drone, a lawn chair with a day or two observing the intersection, could figure that ___ out –one way or another.

    But since ACHD can’t even get the downtown traffic lights in sync, I have low expectations.

  4. Boise Schools pride themselves on being neighborhood schools that are within walking distance of many students. Looking at the Highland Elementary boundaries, shows that a large percentage of potential students would use W. Braemere for their walk to school. (BSD map, red=W.Braemere). This street currently does not have any sidewalks plus limited visibility in a few areas. Cut through traffic on this street could be very dangerous to students.

    Curling is much better suited for pedestrian traffic with sidewalks on both sides of the road with visible crosswalks and a “school zone”.

  5. Kent Goldthorpe
    Aug 30, 2016, 1:29 pm

    Please excuse my omission of one bit of information. ACHD was not in existence when the original land use planning was done in this area, nor were they involved in the design and construction of the roads, this for the same reason. The City of Boise was the road department for those years and projects. They work very hard with ACHD to mitigate these traffic, bike and pedestrian problems in the Highlands.

  6. Easterner. I fail to see what religion has to do with anything. “Church cronies” was unnecessary.

    EDITOR NOTE–Eric, I missed that ref. Sorry, I agree with you.

  7. I’m curious – how would this neighborhood been built, if it HAD been built to ACHD’s modern design standards? Would Braemere be cut-off, or converted into a second ‘through-street’ of sorts – higher capacity and less housing frontage, similar to how Hill rd? Land-use policies mandating lower or higher density?

    As far as public notification, I think I understand. There are people who read and stay informed, and others who have “no idea this was happening!” until the earth-mover is digging up the street in-front of their house – despite weeks/months/years of meetings and mailers.

  8. I’m with easterner this time. Blaming the developers is silly.

    Boise metro area has become so big, and has been so for a long time, that it’s out of the hands of a developer or neighborhood or city or even the county. It’s now up to the State of Idaho to plan for a huge metropolis that spans multiple counties.

    It’s time to finish the Central Valley Expressway. It’s time to start planning for a foothills freeway.

  9. Not clear to me
    Sep 1, 2016, 12:23 pm

    I think Church Cronies still have a lot to do with local and state government and I think it is a somewhat valid topic. Two things make Boise different from Spokane. 1) Low crime and, 2) Heavy church involvement (until recently) in Boise. I’d like to see a chart of the numbers and placement of churchers in office. I bet it’s still alarming if one is not part of the club. However, I generally can’t stand Eastie comments either.

    On this topic, I generally side with the commissioner. Most of the inhabitants of these uppity high personal debt suburbs are completely disconnected and only notice a change when they literally run into it, and then only when not in a Valium fog. The same inhabitants disturbed about the flow of traffic probably text and drive, and probably take the kids to and from school when they could walk or ride the bus. When I think traffic in front of a school, I think aggressive drivers screwing up the normal flow of the adjacent streets while they whisk little darling to/from as near as possible the school. Go to any school and watch all the mommy U-turns inside the school zone. If an ordinary citizen screwed up traffic as much as the school system does all day long they’d get life in prison.

    Commissioners, In the future, schools and bus routes need to be built far away from the commerce which pays for them. The walk to school idea is apparently dead, so no need to have the buildings in the neighborhood any longer. Perhaps a big industrial park with all the schools on three square miles out in the desert? Extra space can be leased to the prison system as the population flexes up and down.

    WAY TO GO ON THE BSU FENCE!!! I’m surprised some senior professor has not labeled it racist yet. Can I put a Trump sign on it?

  10. Erico49, here is why that comment is “necessary”.
    From this site’s “About” page:
    “Local politicians with their personal agendas work to circumvent the will of the people.”

    Is it okay here on BG to point out Bieter Cronies, political cronies, crony capitalism, and Gov Otter Cronies, but somehow that fault stops when it is church cronyism?

    Catholic, Mormon or other right-wing fanaticals, it happens. And that is never good in government, because we end up with crappy work.

    “Don’t vote for me because I know the topic matter, but because I belong to ‘YOUR group’ and you can expect we believe the same, about whatever___” (bicycles, business over neighborhoods, anti-city, drug enforcement, bikini bars, police protection, guns, racial issues, govt contracts, etc).

    Let’s not ignore the elephant in the church. (that is great pun).

    -condensed rebuttal. 🙂

    EDITOR NOTE–At the risk for sounding like Trump, I gotta agree with Easterner to a point. Coles weighted his mayor’s office with LDS members. Bieter leans to Catholics, especially Bishop Kelly grads.

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