Opinion » Mail

Mail Aug. 21-28, 2007

Hizzoner Sets It Straight

I'm not sure where Jacki Liddell received the information that formed the basis for her comments (BW, Mail, "GC Bike Ban," August 15, 2007), but it is apparent that she is misinformed.

I was never a principal in either of the entities that developed Riverside Village.

My involvement with Riverside Village began in September 1985 after the first three phases had been constructed including the pathway from Glenwood to the New Dry Creek diversion structure. I was the development manager for the new project owner (Idaho Forest Industries, Inc.). Prior to that date, I had no involvement whatsoever.

I am not a resident of Riverside Village. I have lived in the Meadow Creek Subdivision, developed by O'Neill Enterprises, for nearly eight years. I have never lived in the original Riverside Subdivision. I did live in what is known as Riverside Six near the intersection of Riverside Drive and Arney Lane for about four years.

The designation as a walking path became official in 1997 with the adoption of the Greenbelt Master Plan Map. The pathway was built (1980) to a standard width of six feet without sufficient room to expand. The ordinance to enforce the designation was forwarded to the council by me once the need to have an enforcement tool became evident. For years, the signs prohibiting bike traffic were honored without the need for active enforcement.

At the time the pathway adjacent to Riverside Village was planned (1978) and approved (1980), there was not a coordinated multi-jurisdictional effort that had identified river bank corridors as alternate transportation routes. At the time, the city's success in acquiring such an amenity was noteworthy. You accuse the city of bowing to the demands of development. Riverside Village was approved with construction commencing nearly 30 years ago.

You accuse the city of bowing to the demands of the Riverside Homeowners Association. The city is simply honoring the historic approvals that are no–––w nearly 30 years old.

Now it is obvious that you want to change the historic use of the pathway adjacent to Riverside Village and expand it. It is not quite so simple. The challenge isn't dealing with elitists, it is dealing with the physical restraints of the 30-year-old pathway. It is not big enough to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists, and there is not sufficient room to expand. If your answer is to expand anyway, then how would you propose that we fund the horrific expense of taking riverfront land away from over 30 unwilling homeowners?

I am working toward establishing a connection between Ulmer Lane and Riverside Drive as an interim connection and working toward a river crossing as a long-term permanent solution.

—John Evans, mayor, Garden City

Room For Sirens

It is not a question of if, it's a question of when.

The "when" being when someone's suffering is prolonged, or life and/or property lost because emergency vehicles are prevented from responding properly.

On any given day, at any given time, you can't get a greased needle up Eighth Street (between Bannock and Main) with a jackhammer, because the fire lane is full of a variety of commercial vehicles (mainly beer trucks), along with other commercial vehicles illegally double-parked on the same street. They seem to feel that the best times to do this are during the morning and afternoon commutes.

I empathize with the logistical challenges presented downtown. But I take exception with the attitude at City Hall that emergency lanes represent "an obscure section of the City Code."

Though I don't enjoy them illegally blocking bus lanes and busy traffic lanes on Capitol Boulevard, Bannock and Main streets during peak times either, at least it's not an emergency lane.

In parting, I will point out that these incidences occur under the windows (literally) of both the mayor's office and the offices of the CCDC. Additionally, I have lodged this complaint on the "Mayor's Hotline," with parking control and Max Clark of the CCDC. All of which should provide a reasonably competent attorney with enough ammunition to tear through the insulation City Hall believes the CCDC affords them, and sue the city into the stone age when the inevitable tragedy comes to pass. I would like nothing more than to be incorrect in my assessment, but I believe the reasoned reader will see that I am not.

—Mike Murphy, Boise

Thanks Mike

As the summer winds down, I am going to make sure I take my family hiking in the magnificent Boulder-White Cloud mountains. They are a piece of the pristine wilderness that drew us or our fathers to Idaho. I love the silent views, and my son likes to fish and chase the marmots. We should maintain places like Castle Peak and Warm Springs Creek as they have been for the centuries before us, or they will be gone like most of the quiet places in California. I believe U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson is doing a good thing by attempting to preserve this little piece of quiet wilderness. Its preservation has no downside, and this is one of those rare instances of a politician actually doing something for the benefit of us and our children. If you are an average person like me, there is no downside to preservation of this small area, and I would ask you to commend Rep. Simpson in his efforts to do so.

—Ken Marsden, Idaho Falls