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BW Bike Issue: Garden City Group Pushes for Bike Access

Citizen group fights city to allow bikes on section of Greenbelt

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Since 2007, Citizens for an Open Greenbelt have been waging a bureaucratic war against an obscure law in Garden City: the bike ban along a 1.5-mile section of the Greenbelt.

According to COG officials, the law is invalid because of documents they claim show the property was given to the city under the conditions that it would be available for use for bikes as well as walking. They say Garden City is only maintaining it to appease a scant few wealthy property owners along the path.

Earlier this year, COG brought a suit against Garden City to overturn the ban, but Ada County District Judge Cheri Copsey ruled the group didn't have standing to bring suit as it had suffered no direct "particularized harm." But Copsey was also explicit that the decision made no attempt at deciding the underlying issue.

Since COG's attempt to overturn the ban through the courts failed, the organization is now planning to take it to the people through a citizen ballot initiative, though it isn't sure when.

"The city has some ordinances about when a petition is submitted regarding when it can go to a vote, so we have to figure out what is best for its chances," said Gary Segers, spokesman for COG.

Once COG settles on a timeline, Segers said it is just a matter of submitting the required number of signatures, something Segers believes can be gathered with ease

"Preliminary research says that we need 63 signatures," said Segers.

That number represents the required 20 percent of voters from the last general election, nothing compared to the 944 followers COG has on its Facebook page.

Still, "We're double-checking and triple-checking [that number]," said Segers.

But Segers is also quick to admit getting it on the ballot doesn't ensure victory.

"Elections like these, it's all a matter of who shows up," said Segers. "So it's conceivable that the few that are still pushing their own little private Idaho will show up."

And while Segers feels most people in the Treasure Valley understand the issue, ultimately, it's Garden City voters who will make the decision, and he said that, by and large, people in Garden City "don't vote."

"Hypothetically, if 10 people show up and vote on this initiative, and six vote against it, then it doesn't prevail," said Segers.

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