Sunday, March 12, 2017
Cyclist deals with sandy shoulders on Five Mile Road and Emerald Street; the reason for appearance of stop signs on Shaw Mountain Road at Shenandoah Drive; differing speed limits on 27th and 28th streets detailed
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Dear Road Wizard: I’m a bicycle commuter and I would like an update on when Five Mile Road, from Victory Road to Emerald Street, and Emerald all the way to Americana Boule-vard will be swept. There is a lot of sand and debris on the shoulders and in the bicycle lanes that is making it perilous to ride. I find myself using the traffic lanes to avoid the hazards.
Motor-free road users first had to deal with plowed snow piles on bike lanes and shoulders. Now bicyclists may feel the need to purchase a beach cruiser to get around. But the sand will be col-lected.
The first step is to remove the bulk of the 20,000 tons of traction sand used this winter. Each street gets an initial sweep, and all major routes have been visited, including Five Mile and Em-erald. ACHD is now reaching residential roads.
The sand is fine and difficult to collect, so even though bike lanes are swept, the sand and debris that remain gets pushed to the road sides by the whoosh of motor vehicles. Crews working overtime will return for additional visits as needed; Five Mile and Emerald got a second sweep this week.
Dear Road Wizard: Like crocuses in the spring, new stop signs have sprung up at the in-tersection of Shenandoah Drive and Shaw Mountain Road. So now it's a three-way stop. Shaw Mountain is an arterial that serves the entire Table Rock area. I've seen major viola-tions of the stop signs. Barely a touch of the brakes. Shaw Mountain has been free-running since I arrived in Boise in 1979. Was this intersection a problem? What justifica-tion exists for this change?
The homeowner’s association submitted a petition to ACHD asking for the three-way stop, and the Boise Mayor’s Office also wanted to see new stop signs in bloom.
There weren’t any problems that justified adding the signs from a traffic engineering standpoint; there’s no real issue with crashes or excessive speeds. But residents often feel that stop signs slow drivers down, and that may have been the motive in this case.
ACHD is studying the impacts of the change. If the signs are creating more problems than they solve, I would expect ACHD to remove them.
Dear Road Wizard: About two years ago, when 27th Street was realigned, its speed limit was dropped to 25 mph. Yet nearby, on 28th Street between State Street and Hill Road, the speed limit is 30 mph. Isn’t there real inconsistency in how street speeds are posted in the North and West ends in Boise?
The construction of Whitewater Park Boulevard provided an alternative for drivers who were using 27th Street in the West End as a preferred north/south route.
That meant 27th could return to the neighborhood road it once was. The number of traffic lanes were reduced and narrowed to make room for bike lanes and parking on one side of the street. Enhanced crosswalks were added. The reduced speed limit, while perhaps a little low, supported the vision of a pedestrian-friendly place with retail development, and a project is in the works.
To the north, 28th Street hasn’t had any major changes, so the 30 mph limit has been left alone. ACHD continues to monitor driver speeds on both roads, and 27th in particular.