Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, January 24, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Traffic signal head placement at Victory Road and Orchard Street will always look wrong to someone; Warm Springs Avenue and Parkcenter Boulevard name change, street light and speed limit

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: The traffic lights heading east on Victory Road about to cross Orchard Street are misaligned. When I wait for the light to change so I can proceed straight ahead toward the Boise Airport, the left-turn signal is in my vision. The light pole has plenty of extra room to allow the lights to be moved over for better visual alignment. Can they be readjusted?

Road Wizard:

"A little more to the left. No, a little more to the right. Actually, a bit back to the left." That's the type of conversation that has gone on about the signals. They've been repositioned a couple of times.

This intersection was reconstructed by the Idaho Transportation Department as part of a new Interstate 84 overpass project about six years ago. Victory curves as it approaches Orchard, and because of the angle, the signal placement will always seem wrong from some vantage point.

ACHD, which manages the traffic signals in Ada County, settled on the current configuration, which has the signals lined up pretty well with the left-turn lanes. This is better than the previous positioning that had left-turning drivers thinking the thru signal served the left-turn lanes.

Most drivers approaching the intersection from Victory are turning left, which is another reason why I wouldn't expect any other "just a little more to the right" changes.

Dear Road Wizard: The street light at Warm Springs Avenue and Parkcenter Boulevard is not functioning. Also, this type of light doesn't have sufficient candlepower to light the area. Also, the renaming of Warm Springs/Parkcenter is a disaster. Try to tell someone where you are, as my wife recently had to do when she had a flat tire. If the idea of the Warm Springs bypass is to encourage traffic to use it, the speed limit should be raised to at least 45 mph. Why drive the longer distance on the bypass? It's faster to drive through the two roundabouts on Parkcenter.

Road Wizard:

Historic Warm Springs Avenue used to be a straight shot from downtown Boise to Idaho 21. Now, using Warm Springs takes some adjustment.

The changes were the best that could be done after Boise City's long-ago approval of the Barber Valley and Harris Ranch planned communities.

There are now two Warm Springs and Parkcenter intersections. A street section between those intersections that was once Warm Springs is now Parkcenter. A new road that carries the Warm Springs name bypasses the Parkcenter section. No wonder Jack's wife had trouble describing her location.

Naming the bypass Warm Springs Avenue allows the road to remain a continuous route. The current speed limit on the bypass is 35 mph, but the plan is to increase it to 40 mph. It's a longer distance compared to Parkcenter, but will ultimately be a faster route.

Especially since using Parkcenter won't always be such a quick trip. The road will be more of a residential street. Buildings close to the road, like the roundabouts, will encourage motorists to slow down.

As for the new street lamp, its job is to light the crosswalk at the eastern Warm Springs and Parkcenter intersection, not the entire intersection. It hadn't yet been connected to a power source. An Idaho Power crew making electrical connections near the intersection this week said that the light should now be good to go.

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