By Steve “Bikeboy” Hulme
GUEST OPINION (plea)
If you lived in the area during the winter of 2016/17, you will surely recall the unusually “snowmageddon,” and the ensuing flooding.
The torrents of water forced authorities to remove a bridge behind Les Bois Park when it was in danger of collapsing, due to erosion of the foundations on both sides of the river. The bridge remains on dry ground, “a bridge to nowhere.” In a recent article on the BOISE WEEKLY WEBSITE, Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands Executive Director Jan Johns says, “It’s a major arterial… it’s been down for over a year,” and “puts a real cramp in the style of people who use it for commuting as well as for enjoyment.”
If it has caused your sprocket to slip it’s chain, stand up and shout “Amen!”
The Feds have promised to kick in $ to fix it, if the locals can cough up $75,000 in matching funds. (The formula is similar to many roadway restoration projects.) And don’t forget, “Big Mike,” the steam locomotive, was moved from Julia Davis Park to The Depot using those transportation funds earmarked for that Greenbelt Transportation Corridor.
What makes this bridge different is… apparently the $75K will be raised using bake sales and begging, rather than using local taxpayer money. I’m sure many citizens would declare “Rightly so! I don’t want my taxpayer dollars replacing a BIKE BRIDGE!”
However, if bicycles (and shoes) are legitimate means of transportation, and that bridge is part of a significant transportation corridor, why isn’t a government agency kicking in the $? Both the city and county must be flush with cash, due to the involuntary property-tax hikes caused by appreciating property values.
Imagine a similar scenario for the Cloverdale I-84 overpass. “Due to fire damage, the overpass is closed until it can be replaced, at a cost of $6-8 million. Before we can get started, overpass users will need to raise $2.5 million – please help!” Not likely! (Probably 80% of metro-area citizens could go the rest of their lives without being affected by no overpass on Cloverdale… other than traffic being squeezed onto the Five Mile and Eagle overpasses.)
Donations to replace the Greenbelt bridge can be made at the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Rec web page which has more details about the damage and necessary repairs. (It’s gratifying to see that almost 1/3 of the total has already been raised!)
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Aug 29, 2018, 2:52 pm
Why can’t the Ridge to Rivers “Partnership” funds pay for this bridge? Have they forgotten about the “Rivers” part? Their overwhelming interest and fund expenditure has become turning the Foothills into a Mountain Bike Amusement Park, carving up and destroying wildlife habitat for thrill riding. No cheap downhill thrills in replacing a useful bridge, I guess.
Aug 29, 2018, 2:53 pm
Good point, seems like this could easily be funded by Parks and Recreation or some other part of the City’s budget. Nice to see the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Rec contribute, just wonder if the City was approached and said no.
EDITOR NOTE–It would have to be GARDEN City. The location is not in Boise. Actually, it would be a good PR move on the part of Garden City.
Aug 29, 2018, 3:18 pm
If it were doing its job, ACHD could have that bridge fixed in a matter of days.
Aug 29, 2018, 3:24 pm
Where’s Peavey-Derr when we really need her?!
Aug 29, 2018, 3:27 pm
Meanwhile, a 2.4 mile stretch of I-84 will get widened in Nampa for a cost of $150 million. Of that cost, only 43% is born by any gas tax or other transportation funding.
Aug 29, 2018, 3:56 pm
If the bridge carried corporations products to market, military deliveries or a trolley, it would be replaced instantly. Alas, it’s only “Consumers”, not even “Motorists”, who use it, so it’s pass the hat time. I’m surprised the government folks haven’t touted the benefits of swimming across the river as a viable and healthy alternative.
Aug 30, 2018, 10:03 am
It is NOT a “bike bridge”.
It is simply a bridge on the Greenbelt.
Another example of how Garden City is hosed about their part of the Greenbelt.
Aug 30, 2018, 10:09 am
It does seem like R2R should be ponying up some dollars for this project. If the City has $250,000 for a rest room that will be installed up the road from the Albertson Foundation’s fancy new destination bike park in Military Reserve, surely they can find a measly $75,000 for a bridge that would be used by a far greater number of the taxpayers (and of course all the tourists visiting the West’s version of Our Fair City.)
Aug 30, 2018, 10:11 am
Literally overnight, the voluntary bridge replacement fund has leaped about $30,000! (Yesterday it was a little under $25K; at the moment it’s over $56K!)
Let us assume that Boise Guardian readers have kicked in all that cash!
(I’m worried that if it’s wildly successful, the bridge fund-raiser may establish a disturbing precedent – ALL future infrastructure repairs will be contingent upon voluntary donations, in addition to taxpayer cash.)
Aug 30, 2018, 10:51 am
Katie fite, as one who enjoys the Foothills via many modes (MTB, hiking, snowshoeing, etc.) I find your comment way off base. There as as many, if not more, hikers, runners, equestrians and dog walkers using the trails than MTBs. RtoR maintains and manages the trails for ALL users, not for a select group. As Dave pointed out, the bridge is located in Garden City, not the Foothills, so 1) it is not within RtoR jurisdiction; and 2) the last I checked, Garden City is not a RtoR partner. I suggest you read their website or attend one of their meetings to educate yourself instead of making inaccurate statements.
Aug 30, 2018, 5:42 pm
It’s a critical inter urban transportation corridor for bikers and walkers that has been out of service for a year. The least ACHD could do is get ‘er done!
I know some commissioners read the Guardian. You gals & guys could get the job done in a NY minute if so inclined.
Aug 31, 2018, 6:45 pm
Hi Foothills User,
Last I checked, the bridge was located in Ada County. Ada County is an R2R “Partner” according to the R2R Website: “The Ridge to Rivers partnership consists of the City of Boise, Ada County, the Bureau of Land Management Four Rivers Field Office, the Boise National Forest and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game”.
Sep 1, 2018, 9:52 am
I would look to the individual who said take it down, and give them a reason to say now let’s put it back up. What a ridiculous bunch of crap. Just get COB out and it could probably be replaced.
Sep 1, 2018, 5:25 pm
Considering how many liberals will cross the bridge, I think it requires and environmental impact study before replacing it. It’s very important the users have a clear conscience.
Sep 1, 2018, 7:52 pm
Considering how many conservatives are sitting on it, I think it requires a group portrait. It is very important the community has a clear record.
Sep 3, 2018, 4:25 pm
Editor, Easterner, and Foothills User–Katie Fite is correct. The bridge is not in Garden City. Nor, has Garden City ever had any jurisdiction over the bridge. One landing of the bridge is on Ada County property, the other belongs to the foundation mentioned in the article.
Sep 4, 2018, 11:04 am
Garden City Council Member Souza says, “it’s not in Garden City”.
That is the like saying, “the Fairgrounds are not in Garden City”.
Or “Boise State University is not in Boise”.
TRUE. Technically one half of the bridge is on Ada County land (Fairgrounds) and the other sits on an island within the river.
But the whole area sits WITHIN the boundaries of Garden City. It is ‘in Garden City’.
And that is a really lame excuse for not leading the solution and taking care of that portion of the Greenbelt as if it were Garden City property- like a good neighbor.
Instead, leave it to the federal government and private individual to pay for a repair.
Much like the Idaho Foundation asking for funds… instead of turning the land over to Idaho Parks, or otherwise. Better to have CONTROL of the process.
Typical local government.
Typical Garden City.
BTW, apparently the Hawks baseball stadium is not IN Garden City either according to the council member.
Sep 4, 2018, 3:42 pm
The Fairgrounds are within Garden City. But, we have zero input into decisions regarding the use of the property. We do provide water service to the property. Memorial Stadium is also within Garden City. However, once again we have zero input into the use of the property. We do provide water there as well, and respond to calls for service there as needed. We bill Ada County for extra police services during The Fair. Other than that, I don’t really like using GC taxpayer funds on properties outside of our jurisdiction where we don’t have a seat at the table.