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Friday, February 24, 2012
New traffic signal at Front and 2nd provides closer, protected crossing for many pedestrians; to be put into service February 28

Boise - Citizens doing business at the Ada County Courthouse will have a more direct and safer option for crossing Front Street if parked on the south side of the road. A newly installed traffic signal and crosswalk now sit at Front and 2nd streets outside of the Ada County Courthouse and Administrative offices.

Since the Courthouse opened in 2002, visitors who park on the south side of Front Street have often favored crossing mid-block, rather than using the signalized crosswalks available at Front and 3rd streets and Front Street and Avenue A. As many as 80 pedestrians an hour, often with children in tow, could be seen jaywalking across the five-lane road between Avenue A and 3rd Street to get to and from the Courthouse.

"Jaywalking in front of the Courthouse has been a significant problem since the new Courthouse building first opened ten years ago," said Ada County Commission Chairman Rick Yzaguirre.  "We’re glad to finally have this new crosswalk in place to provide a safer crossing for Courthouse visitors." 

Before considering the construction of a traffic signal, Ada County took steps to encourage Courthouse visitors to park on the north side of Front by reducing parking costs in the surface lot and allowing an hour of free parking, as well as requesting additional patrols by Boise City police officers; however, it did little to deter people from parking across the street and jaywalking.

"Even after we took over the Courthouse parking from CCDC and reduced the cost to a dollar an hour with the first hour free, we still had over three thousand people a week risking their lives by jaywalking through five lanes of traffic across Front Street-- sometimes with infants and toddlers in tow. It was just a matter of time before someone got hit and seriously injured or killed. I believe the new signalized crosswalk will dramatically reduce the risk of that happening," said Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman.

The new signal will be timed to coordinate with other signals in downtown Boise and traffic engineers expect it to have minimal delay to the 25,000 motorists who drive this stretch of Front each day.

The $140,000 traffic signal is a partnership between three agencies-- ACHD designed and constructed the signal; Ada County and the Idaho Transportation Department, which has jurisdiction over Front Street, also shared the cost.

Putting the Signal into Operation

On Tuesday, February 28th at 10:30 a.m., the new traffic signal will be switched on for the first time. Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman will flip the switch, putting the signal officially into operation. Ada County Commission Chairman Rick Yzaguirre, ACHD Commission President Rebecca Arnold and ACHD Commissioner John Franden will also be in attendance.The event will occur at the traffic signal controller cabinet, located on the southeast corner of Front and 2nd streets.

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