Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, April 03, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Seaman's Gulch Road to get improvements but not urban-level amenities; some confusion about turns at Hays and 16th streets in Boise

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: As a resident of Hidden Springs for almost 10 years, I have noticed that Seaman's Gulch Road from the entrance to the Ada County Landfill to Hidden Springs has needed some attention for as long as I've lived here. Anytime we have a moderate to heavy rain there are several washouts on the road. I can't think of anywhere else in the county where, if this were to happen, a remedy would not be quickly provided. Now that there are more than 1,000 homes in the Dry Creek Valley, I think it's time ACHD considers improvements to this heavily-trafficked arterial. And as long as I'm typing out this letter, a bike/running lane or space would be wonderful.
Mike G

Road Wizard:

The Hidden Springs planned community is out "in the country" and is accessed by country roads. Those roads don't get the same service as city streets that provide links to public facilities like schools and parks.

Instead, Seaman's Gulch is popular among hard-core cyclists and runners because it's part of the dubiously-named "Dump Loop."

Those users benefit from two uphill vehicle lanes on Seaman's Gulch up to the dump, which allows traffic to move around people. Beyond the landfill to Hidden Springs, traffic is relatively light. I've done the loop by bicycle and felt pretty comfortable (that is, with the traffic, not the required level of exertion).

A pedestrian/bicycle lane is not in the plans, but an ACHD maintenance project is in the works to improve the roadside ditches beyond the landfill. That should reduce the amount of sand that washes onto the road when it rains, a common event in "foothills country."

Dear Road Wizard: Are there any plans to change the situation at Hays and 16th streets in Boise's North End? There is a sign, but that sign is not big enough or clear enough to explain what needs to occur. I think it's pretty self-explanatory, but on a near-daily basis my husband has to slam on his brakes or risk getting hit.

Road Wizard:

This intersection is designed to allow both directions of traffic on Hays to turn onto southbound 16th toward Downtown Boise at the same time. The arrangement prevents traffic backups on Harrison Boulevard.

Well-used 16th is a two-lane, one-way road, which is what allows for the simultaneous turns from Hays. Drivers just need to stay in the correct lane.

It's more challenging for westbound Hays motorists turning left onto 16th, since an unfamiliar driver's instinct is to treat 16th as a two-way road. Going beyond the lane closest to them feels natural.

To overcome that tendency, there is a concrete island to help guide drivers. The sign next to the traffic signal tells westbound Hays motorists to "Keep Left of Island." Possible additions include making the island larger and/or posting a second sign.

ACHD has selected the "refresh the intersection markings as needed and consider another sign" option. That is a sensible approach since there haven't been any reported collisions in the last several years involving drivers going the wrong way around the island. Plus, only a small percentage of drivers make that mistake.

Interestingly, people were most often seen using the wrong lane when there weren't many conflicting drivers using the lane for their turns. Driving speeds are low, which makes collisions easier to avoid.

Return to Road Wizard

Have a Question for the Wizard?

E-mail it to:

Or mail it to:
Road Wizard
3775 Adams St.
Garden City, ID 83714

You may include photos of a particular situation, but photos cannot be returned.

Road Wizard Archives

Additional years are also available by request.


We Drive Quality Transportation For All Ada County ~

Ada County Highway District © 2017
For Questions or problems with this Web site contact the Webmaster