public transportation

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Boise Wins Federal Grant, Will Revisit Downtown Circulator

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Saying, "This was the piece we were missing in 2008 when we first proposed a streetcar project," Boise Mayor Dave Bieter announced today that the city had been awarded a $375,000 grant to fund a new analysis of a possible downtown circulator system. The study will investigate best routes to connect Boise's downtown core with adjacent neighborhoods, including the Boise State campus.

"We're looking forward to working with the city in exploring the options under this grant," said James Maguire, Boise State associate vice president for campus planning and facilities. Boise State participated in an earlier streetcar task force.

"The city is committed to doing its part to create a comprehensive transportation system for the Boise Valley, including commuter rail, improved bus service and a downtown circulator," said Bieter. "This alternatives analysis will get us one step closer to that goal."

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Candidate for State Rep. Gathers Signatures for Light Rail

Posted By on Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 4:17 PM

A newly formed nonprofit, The Idaho Coalition on Transportation and Clean Air, helmed by former Nampa mayoral candidate, Melissa Sue Robinson, is gathering signatures to bring an advisory vote on light rail, or perhaps high-speed buses, between Caldwell and Boise to the ballot in 2010.

We asked Robinson why.

"Have you ever driven down 84?" Robinson says.

Melissa Sue Robinson, transit crusader
  • Laurie Pearman
  • Melissa Sue Robinson, transit crusader
At least 56,000 signatures will be required to bring a measure to ballot, however Robinson says that only a few hundred signatures have been gathered since the campaign kicked off shortly after Christmas. Her attention has been primarily focused on her campaign for state representative in Nampa's 12th District, Position B, but says once the weather warms a bit, she'll be back to the signature drive.

"I'm unopposed in the primary, so all I really have to worry about is the general election, which doesn't really get going until around August," Robinson says. However the general election is against an incumbent Republican in one of the most Republican districts in the country.

She also portrayed the effort as more of a petition drive insisting state legislators address the issue than ballot measure.

This whole thing may come as something of a surprise to Treasure Valley residents and transportation wonks, as so far none of the other, more established transportation groups are involved with the effort and the campaign only claims two volunteers. Robinson says that she is working on a plan to share office space with the Canyon County Democrats, and plans to ramp up the effort soon. But Robinson wasn't clear on what a larger effort would look like other than planning to focus volunteer recruitment efforts on the BSU campus.

Add to those difficulties a theoretical $20 million price tag that Robinson attaches to the project and Robinson's admission that the measure is actually not yet authored—which might make the signature gathering moot—and the recent experience with Boise's streetcar fund raising and this effort may turn out to be a non-starter.

But that doesn't mean it's a bad idea, or that locals aren't interested.

A recent post to BW's calendar listing of the volunteer effort by transportation blogger and former Democratic spokesperson Julie Fanselow, wanted to know more.

"Many Treasure Valley residents would love to see light rail, but without local option authority, how would we pay for it?" wrote Fanselow. "Who all is in the coalition? And does the coalition also support the more realistic short-term goal of expanding bus service?"

Robinson told BW, expanded bus service is a major goal of the campaign. The other questions however, remain to be answered.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Facebook Idaho wants bike lanes

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2009 at 10:00 AM

This just in: A new facebook group is calling for bike lanes to be part of Idaho's stimulus plan.

In 24 hours since the governor's budget dude, Wayne Hammon, dissed bike lanes, 133 people have signed on. Alas, it does not appear that Uncle Butch has a Facebook page, and he's where the buck stops on stimulus.

Yesterday we chatted briefly with Idaho Transportation Department Chief Pam Lowe about the stimulus money she will divvy up and Lowe said that $18 million of it will go toward the department's Public Transportation Division.

About half of that was mandated for public transportation in the stimulus bill, but the Idaho Transportation Board also directed some $9 million to bus shelters and replacement of busses across the state.

That's not saying much about bike lanes, but we did overhear Hammon in the Annex halls telling Suzanne Craig (yes, that Craig)  that he's glad Lucky 13 had moved out of the North End. Hammon later told us the same story and asked us not to report it, but since we heard it twice and since it's funny as hell, we're breaking our non-promise.

Hey Hammon, there's a bike lane all the way out to your favorite pizza join in District 19. Use it.

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