After much public debate, Ada County Highway District commissioners have opted not to turn Fifth and Sixth streets in downtown Boise from one-way to two-way streets.
The June 28 vote was 3-to-2 against the conversions, with only ACHD Commission President Paul Woods and Commissioner Jim Hansen voting yes. Hansen said he had hoped his fellow commissioners would pay greater attention to letters from Boise Police Chief Bill Bones and Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan in support of the change.
"Public safety ought to be the number one consideration," said Hansen.
In his letter to the ACHD commission, Doan said a two-way conversion on fifth and sixth streets would "improve emergency vehicle access to businesses" and "eliminate the need for emergency vehicles to drive the wrong way on a one-way street."
The majority of the commission, however, sided with an ACHD staff recommendation to leave the streets the way the are based on public feedback via an online survey and open house in April, which revealed attendees and respondents were opposed to the change.
Arguing in opposition to the public feedback, Hansen said, "I think we should be very cautious about making policy change based on non-scientific polls.".
Commission Vice President Rebecca Arnold pushed back against Hansen's argument.
"I think we make almost all of our decisions based on non-scientific polls," she said. "We do the best we can based on the information we get from the public."
With that, Arnold voted nay with commissioners Sara Baker and Kent Goldthorpe. But Goldthorpe said he's looking forward to revisiting the issue.
"I'm grateful that this vote isn't a 'now or never' proposition," he said.