How Big Should a Boise City Block Be?

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When the Boise City Council convenes Tuesday, officials will consider a detailed study on how to best map out the city's future.

A 20-page white paper, titled Subdivision Connectivity, was crafted by the city's Planning and Development Services staff, advocating for shorter block lengths, limited use of cul-de-sacs and more neighborhood connections. Simply put, the City of Boise "has no adopted standards for what constitutes a proper level of connectivity," according to the report.

In particular, the study considers the length of city blocks in Boise. As examples, block lengths in the city's North End may run 290 feet when conventional subdivisions in other Boise neighborhoods have block lengths as long as 1,000 feet or more. The City of Meridian has a standard block length of 750 feet while Nampa has a block lenth maximum of 500 feet in its code. Comparing Boise to other cities, Portland has a maximum block length of 300 feet, while Raleigh, N.C., has a maximum of 1,400 feet.

Previous recommendations from the city's planning staff have been to adopt 500 feet as a standard block length, but in the most recent study, staff wrote that "750 feet might be a more reasonable maximum length standard."