When the City of Boise hosted a block party on Broad Street between Fifth and Sixth streets in mid-October to celebrate the redesigned thoroughfare as the first new LIV district—Lasting, Innovative, Vibrant—the message was loud and clear: Come one, come all and see the new environmentally friendly area. But the party is over, and since the Oct. 12 celebration, that block of Broad Street has resembled a parking lot with vehicles parked bumper-to-bumper, sometimes curb-to-curb. (Full disclosure: The offices of Boise Weekly are at the corner of Sixth and Broad.)
"Our inspector says it has been a 'soft closure' on Broad Street," said Ada County Highway District Communications Manager Craig Quintana.
Boise-based Andersen Construction secured a permit to close Broad Street between Fifth and Sixth streets while the firm completes construction on The Fowler, a 159-unit apartment building opening soon. Quintana said the soft closure was designed to accommodate construction vehicles but still allow public access around those trucks. When the block devolved into a makeshift parking lot for people working on projects along and near Broad Street, Boise Weekly asked officials with the city about enforcement, because many of the cars and trucks had no permits to park on the closed-off street. Officials with parking enforcement said the block needed better "no parking" signage. Another problem surfaced when an increasing number of cars and trucks parked along Broad Street were left idling, sending a steady stream of fumes down the "environmentally friendly" block. When we asked drivers why they left their vehicles idling for extended periods of time, we were told to mind our own business. City officials said they would look into that matter, too.
As for when Broad Street might open, ACHD said it should be soon, especially considering the Andersen Construction permit for the street closure expired Nov. 6.
"They're just flat-out late," said Quintana. "They could be subject to increased payments for being in the public's right-of-way, and that's a conversation that needs to happen with our inspector. There will be some discussion over what kind of penalties they might face."