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Sunday, April 27, 2014
ACHD pilot project to test if public wants to swap traffic lanes on Capitol Boulevard, Main and Idaho streets for bike lanes

ACHD crews will begin work Monday evening to erase existing lane lines on Capitol Boulevard and replace them with a new striping layout that includes a buffered bike lane – an area for cyclists separated from motorized traffic.

Once work is finished on Capitol, crews will move to Idaho and Main streets with a goal of having the full conversion in place for the test to begin on Thursday, May 1, 2014.

ACHD plans for the pilot to run at least one month.

"The question is, are those affected willing to accept the tradeoffs?" said Mitchell Jaurena, ACHD vice president.

Following an open house on the proposal in March, some 600 people commented on the plan, with two-thirds in support. Although the amount of feedback from the public to date has been good, the ACHD Commission wants to know if the general public truly favors the change before making any permanent alterations, Jaurena said.

Converting the vehicle lanes into bicycle lanes on the key streets could make Boise’s urban core more inviting to riders and promote Boise City’s goals for the downtown.

But motorists will notice more crowded commutes – particularly at rush hours.

In addition to the increased traffic congestion, 96 parking spaces will be lost on Main and Idaho streets during the test – an indication of the impact of the permanent change. Capitol Boulevard will gain 17 spaces as part of the pilot project.

ACHD and Boise planners believe demand exists for safer bicycling routes between downtown and Boise State University – and from east-to-west across downtown.

"This test is important because it will let everybody see exactly what making this change permanent would mean for motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and downtown businesses," Jaurena said.
   
Boise Mayor David Bieter and the City Council have endorsed the change.

The public can say tell ACHD what it thinks of the proposal starting Thursday, May 1, 2014, by going to www.achdidaho.org and taking the online survey. Citizens can call or e-mail ACHD but the online survey will allow the District to best track and evaluate the public reaction.

Besides the public opinion, ACHD will also measure traffic congestion, trip delays, use of the new lanes by cyclists, and gather feedback from Boise City, the Capital City Development Corporation, downtown businesses and other interested parties.

More information is available about the project on ACHD’s web site, www.achdidaho.org.

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