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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