Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, January 31, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Request for left-turn green arrow signal on northbound 13th Street at Front Street; surprise curb where sidewalks ends on Americana Terrace off of Americana Boulevard

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: When traveling north on 13th Street when you hit Front Street in the left-hand turn lane, it appears that there should be a dedicated left-turn signal, then an option to turn after yielding to oncoming traffic. If that is not correct, I feel drivers should be able to make a left turn without waiting for oncoming traffic turning onto the Interstate 184 Connector and others going south on 13th. Only one or two cars turning left from northbound 13th have the ability to turn onto the Connector each cycle. Cars back up all the way through Myrtle Street past the CitySide Lofts. What say you?
Josh

Road Wizard:

I say it is too bad that the Greenbelt tunnel construction under the Main Street bridge is causing so much disruption for downtown Boise traffic. This is preventing ACHD from being able to study "normal" traffic patterns on 13th Street to determine reasonable improvements. And the "new normal" for 13th Street takes some adjustment. The road was converted to a two-way route from the Connector to State Street this fall because that was what Boise city leaders wanted. Although 13th is now a better southbound route to the Connector, this also makes turning onto the Connector from northbound 13th difficult. As for adding a dedicated, "protected," green arrow left-turn signal for northbound 13th drivers, that would require taking away green light time from Front Street traffic moving toward the Connector. Stealing even a few seconds from Front could cause traffic to back up on Front to Broadway Avenue. A second lane is expected to open up this week on Main as the Greenbelt work continues. Hopefully that will lighten the load on 13th as we wait for the tunnel work to finish in September 2016.

Dear Road Wizard: If one is riding a bicycle south on the sidewalk on the west side of the Americana Bridge on Americana Boulevard, at the end of the bridge the sidewalk curves around onto Americana Terrace. Lo and behold there is a four-inch curb. It is my opinion that this is extremely dangerous to bicyclists. It is a blind corner and if you are doing more than walking speed you are in for a rude awakening. Surely your civil engineers could have come up with a better solution.
Anonymous

Road Wizard:

"There is a place where the sidewalk ends, and before the street begins, and there the grass grows soft and white," is how the Shel Silverstein poem goes. A verse about Americana Terrace would read more like "where the sidewalk ends, a curb sticks up." The curb was part of a sidewalk corner rebuild that included a bumpy yellow pad to help people with visual impairments detect the intersection. The sidewalk ramp was changed so people using wheelchairs could better navigate the intersection. Usually a curb is level with a sidewalk. This curb appears to help storm water drain from the sloped sidewalk, which doesn't continue onto Americana Terrace. The sidewalk does keep going on Americana. These type of sidewalk improvements are focused on meeting Americans with Disabilities Act specifications, not so much the needs of bicyclists. There is a bike lane that runs along Americana designed for bicycle use. ACHD will mull over what changes might work to provide a curb warning. Redoing the sidewalk is an option, but that would be a big expense.

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