ACHD's Bike Lane Stakeholder Meetings Nearing Conclusion

by

ACHD's bike lane stakeholder group has no shortage of recommendations, but how many of those will make it to the ACHD commissioners? - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • ACHD's bike lane stakeholder group has no shortage of recommendations, but how many of those will make it to the ACHD commissioners?

Ada County Highway District's planning and projects deputy director David Wallace has to go before the ACHD commissioners on Wednesday, Sept. 3 and submit the recommendations of the bike lane stakeholder group ACHD put together earlier this summer, and a possible plan for downtown Boise's future bike lanes.

But first, Wallace needs to nail down exactly what those recommendations are.

To do that, the group met for one of the last times on Aug. 12 to look at three proposals put together by a subcommittee of stakeholders. The three proposals included DBIP, which puts a bike lane buffered with paint on Capitol and keeps the lanes of traffic pretty much the same, and moves parking in front of City Hall away from the curb much like the pilot project; DBIP Amended, which takes away one lane of traffic on Capitol and makes a larger two-way bike lane buffered with a physical barrier—like giant concrete flower pots—from the Boise Rive to River Street; and DBIP Amended Plus, which is just like DBIP Amended, except the physical barriers would run all the way to Main Street.

After showing off the three loose proposals, Wallace asked the stakeholders for their thoughts, "principles" and "preferences." The meeting started sleepily, without much contribution from the 18 stakeholders that showed up (last time, there was 25)—except for that one person with a hand always in the air.

As more participants spoke up though, it felt like deja vu of the meeting held almost exactly a month ago, when different factions of stakeholders presented their viewpoints on the pilot project.

Folks voiced concerns over losing parking, having accessible ADA parking available, letting city buses safely cross bike lanes to reach stops, confusion over bike boxes, the importance of education, buffering materials that "don't make it look like a construction zone," safety and comfort for casual cyclists, reduced speeds for vehicular traffic, and east-to-west connectivity.

When the vast amount of disagreement became clear, Karen Gallagher from the city of Boise planning and development services, raised her hand.

"I'm not clear on what you're going to say to the commissioners as far as what this stakeholder group is recommending," she said.

"Neither am I," said Wallace. "I'm in a crazy position."

Wallace is in a strange position where he has to walk the line of making the stakeholders happy and presenting the commission with a proposal they feel is realistic. 

He ended the meeting with three giant notepad papers full of "principles and preferences" from the stakeholders, with the task ahead of him to figure out how to boil it down and sell it to the commission within three weeks.

"As they say on Car Talk," he joked with the stakeholders at the end of the meeting, "you've wasted another hour and 35 minutes of your time."