Team Dave At Odds With ITD, ACHD Pros

Front Street Traffic (U.S. 20) --DON DAY PHOTO

Front Street Traffic (U.S. 20)

Boise’s urban renewal agency, Capital City Development Corp., and Mayor Dave Bieter’s Team Dave are at odds with both state and county road agencies over how to operate the Front-Myrtle corridor in downtown Boise, according to Don Day’s BOISE DEV website.

Day did some really good reporting as he explained how Bieter and crew continue their assault on Boise motorists. They want to reduce the capacity of the two busiest east west routes by adding more bike lanes. Their professed goal is to, “get people out of their cars.” Whether or not they succeed, there is a very real chance those cars–and people–will stay out of downtown and opt for Meridian and points west.

Day published a series of e-mail exchanges in which the Idaho Department of Transportation and Ada County Highway District questioned language in document. CCDC spent $200,000 in public tax funds to promote their plan, but both the state and county pushed back. The two streets are designated state highways, hence the state jurisdiction. Each intersection is controlled by ACHD.

Boise refers to Front Street as a “pedestrian barrier,” yet both the city and CCDC approved the construction of BoDo along 8th south of Front. Take a look at Day’s story (linked above) to get a feel for the standard Bieter approach of, “We don’t want the public to be aware of this until it is a done deal. Then they can comment.”

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Nothing new!

    When you feel you are the emperor and your city council feels they know more than anyone in the state you continue to “be at odds” with about everything that is common sense and or run by others who you have no respect for.

    Expect much more of the same.

  2. The big concern is how to connect downtown and BoDo for those are walking or riding a bike. It is a good write up that shows the power struggle we often see, but with the added layer of ITD. Putting buffered bike lanes one of these streets would be silly has the cyclist comfort level is very low on high speed streets without some sort of protection.

  3. Kent Goldthorpe
    Oct 5, 2016, 4:45 pm

    Thanks Dave

    You are accurate on every count. I very much appreciated the articles. My only question is this; Will anyone out there care? Good news is yes, there will be a very visible and we’ll publicized public process.

  4. I used to enjoy the downtown and parks along the river, but Bieter has chosen to leave too many bums in the parks and chosen to screw up the streets and parking too, So I’ve not been there in a long long time. Boise will kill itself with liberal policy just like every other city core in America.

    Liberalism is a mental disease and Bieter has it bad.

  5. Bieter begone
    Oct 6, 2016, 7:03 am

    “The public will not have a say in the process.”

    Of course not, and that says it all.

  6. Kent – many, many, many of us care. We attend neighborhood meetings, open houses, public hearings and find that what we saw is simply heard as blay, blay, blay to the committees and councils.

    99% of the time the politicos have already cut deals before any of the public participates….thus the problem that the politico’s attitude that they think we are pretty stupid – it comes through load and clear every time.

    Public hearings and public “input” is simply a necessary evil to check the box that says, “we had public input”. NEVER means they listen or care.

    I cannot tell you how often I have seen neighborhoods testify and then action take as if they had never said a word.

    Hard to get through the backdoor deals.

  7. “The public will not have a say in the process.”

    And why should they? Have you met the public?

    Let’s take the example of the special meeting the Mayor held when they kicked the bums out of Cooper Ct. The Mayor, arguably on the side of the homeless, got little other than insults and derision. Had it not been for a strong police presence in that room, I’m sure some of those “public” speakers would have attacked the Mayor and others.

    Having said that, there wouldn’t be any pedestrians downtown if not for the cars that brought them there.

    How does NYC do it? Manhattan has lots of broad avenues and tons of traffic but there seems to be no lack of pedestrians.

  8. It is a good thing for Boise to be actively pursuing its goals in relation to the downtown core. Staff at ACHD and ITD are charged with moving traffic. That is their primary function. We need a counter balance to the pave it and fill it with traffic folks.

  9. We need far better tracking of politicos. Suggest a search site dedicated to what the public told a politico at public hearings, and what the politico did with that input. To include who the politico has connections with, who the donors are, who employs family members, who gave scholarships to family members, who paid for vacations, Who provides private jets, etc., and who got the contracts and approvals. Then and only then will these scumbags do what the majority wants. We will also have fewer scumbags in office.

    The media is suppose to perform this function but clearly that bunch is as dishonest as ever.

    EDITOR NOTE–NGZ and others: This comment just barely survives the “topic test.” Please refrain from, “cops are bad, politicos are crooked, nobody cares, they’ll do what they want,etc.” Since Team Dave didn’t want to hear from public on the road plan, we will leave it up.

  10. New improved bike routes
    Oct 6, 2016, 7:51 pm

    What a shame. Bikes don’t belong on the highways such as the connectors. They are freeways of sorts. Why start this argument, Boise City?

  11. I was just going to try 184 route from S Cole to get to Parkcenter…
    I think the rest of downtown can turn completely pedestrian or 2-wheeling.
    But Myrtle and Front streets connect motorists to 184 and then the Interstate. We need that capacity to move cars.

    As to public input and testifying.
    After observing what exactly ACHD and Boise P&Z Commission do after hearing and recording it, it seems a waste of your afternoon time.
    No wonder most people do not want to participate in public process, they have probably tried it at least once.
    The politicians actually count on it.
    They know if they ignore public input long enough, the public will just go away.

  12. The excerpts noted in the BoiseDEV column show ITD and ACHD trying to downplay valid criticisms of Front and Myrtle. Front and Myrtle are correctly referred to as “high speed and auto-focused,” with “pedestrian and bicycle treatments” “secondary,” as well as “time-consuming and inconvenient” as related to pedestrians. These are all true about Front and Myrtle, when they were constructed, and today (keeping in mind the context under which they were built – bicycles and pedestrians were completely off the radar). In a way, this back-and-forth between agencies highlights the misaligned goals of the agencies. ACHD/ITD are charged with moving traffic, regardless of the consequences – and that will frequently be at odds with Boise. You mention that traffic is backed up on Front and Myrtle, which is also true. If so, would you support widening them, to accommodate extra traffic? We may have to demolish some buildings to get it done, but why not? And if you widen the road here, that leads to widening the entirety of I-184, since that the ultimate destination of the connector. This is the logical thought process when you only consider auto-traffic, and it has been highly destructive.

  13. Speckled Hen
    Oct 7, 2016, 12:46 pm

    I disagree that ITD is charged with moving traffic. They are a “transportation” department, not a moving cars department. Their mission is pretty clear: Your Safety. Your Mobility. Your Economic Opportunity.

    Granted, we all believe that (in cars) is probably what they would add to it, but their published mission is intended for the safety, mobility and economic opportunity of all transportation system users. ITD also states that “The state transportation system is inextricably woven into the fabric of Idaho life. The state’s citizens use Idaho’s transportation system to get to work, school, friends and recreation… The transportation department’s mandate is to provide the people of Idaho with a transportation system that includes various means of travel.”

    Now, you can argue that politicians at the state level co-opt that mission statement and force them into a “moving cars” mentality. Their staff is probably just as vested in that purpose and don’t view their role in such light. But their stated goals are very different.

    Moving cars 30 seconds or a minute slower through downtown will not impact the state highway system negatively or thwart economic activity. There’s not a single downtown in America where that has been the case.

  14. Hen, I will concede that ITD’s mission statement is not to just ‘move cars,’ it’s much more nuanced, and appropriate. ITD seems to have made a commitment to alternatives, based at least on their more recent projects (Gowen/highway 21, for example). However, as they were built years ago, Front & Myrtle are overwhelmingly vehicle focused.

    You mention 30 seconds delay – I think one of the best changes that could be made to Front & Myrtle (also relatively inexpensive!) is to simply re-stripe the now 12-13ft wide lanes into 10.5/11ft lanes, and slow traffic to 25mph. It would likely mesh better with the downtown grid, and allow for bigger sidewalks/better ped. environment ‘for free’, with the space saved. All without sacrificing any vehicle capacity.

  15. Jason, are you the ACHD guy by that name?

    Keep people and bikes away from fast moving cars. FACT is they do not mix well and nothing the septic tank full of local thinkers and planners will ever come up with will change that fact.

  16. Jason, why do you and others ignore this inescapable fact? There would be hardly any pedestrians downtown if not for the cars bringing them there. You must not live downtown or you would know this.

    In other words, 90% of the pedestrians you see came there by car.

    Do you not get your own cognitive dissonance?

    If you remove the cars you kill downtown.

  17. Yossarian_22
    Oct 8, 2016, 11:39 am

    Well, once they get all of the construction finished down there, it will open up and we will have visibility again. I bike, so I’ll use the new facilities. I also drive my pickup, so I’ll drive down or through town. If biking does become more attractive, then more lane space will open up for motorists. If not, then they might have a problem. We’ll see.

  18. Boisecynic, I don’t think cars should be removed downtown. I just think a 5 lane highway with high-speed traffic is inappropriate in the one part of town that is pedestrian focused. My suggestion for Front and Myrtle doesn’t even reduce vehicle capacity. You can have a lot of cars without them going very fast – and many can still easily arrive by car. I know that cars are going to be a part of this city, for the forseeable future, and I don’t think they can be realistically ‘banned’ from any part of Boise. However, I would like to see an end (at least downtown) of the idea that the speed & capacity of roads for cars is the number one priority of their design.

    NoGoZone, I’m not an ACHD employee. I do agree that fast moving cars and bikes don’t mix – which is why I’d like to see car traffic slow down. Since ‘education and enforcement’ are really terrible at slowing cars down, engineering needs to step in, with smaller lanes and re-adjusted light timing.

  19. New improved bike routes
    Oct 10, 2016, 5:09 pm

    These decisions were made decades ago. The Front/Myrtle came about the same time as the urban renewal for the Grove. It was a two laner before that. It was controversial then, as it is now, and it was then meant to bring cars to the parking garages and to bsu and through the core to points west and south.

    Ever seen Seattle? You don’t bike on I5.

    The connectors have a 95% chance of not changing so to the bike crowd and the City who has created this argument please turn your attention elsewhere for other innovative and cultural things.

    Why is there so much focus on this and not on schools and the tax dollars that should go to schools instead of parking garage? It is a real issue.

  20. You’re right, there’s not a great chance that Front and Myrtle will change – but without anyone considering alternatives to cars, the chance would be even less. It was a car-oriented design decades ago, and it still is today.

    I believe government and elected officials are perfectly capable of addressing more than one problem at once. They’re certainly capable of screwing up more than one thing at a time, after all!

  21. Do you think the wikileaks folks would have local emails available so we the taxpayer could figure out who to vote for?

    EDITOR NOTE–Go see the SNOWDEN movie and you will have no doubt they have the e-mails. Actually a very good show.

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