Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, October 23, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

No plans for a pedestrian bridge at University Drive across Capitol Boulevard and 9th Street; YMCA Halloween Run will not impact roads; reader catches signal timing error after Broadway Bridge completion

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: Has there ever been discussion about building a pedestrian bridge across Capitol Boulevard and 9th Street at University Drive in Boise? If safety is a concern, I believe that such a bridge would be the answer. It's unfortunate that this is a "back burner" issue and probably won't be addressed until students are killed and/or severely injured.

Road Wizard:

A good question, and I appreciate that Kurt disclosed that his daughter works at ACHD. As a recent hire, she missed the original debate about a pedestrian overpass or underpass at University. Discussion goes back more than 20 years.

There are crosswalks at the University intersection, but it can be a long wait. The intersection is also a distance away from where many Boise State University students prefer to cross Capitol and 9th to get to and from campus and restaurants, businesses, and private student housing off of 9th. There has long been a problem with jaywalking in this area.

A pedestrian bridge or underpass was never built at University because it could cost millions of dollars and people may not even use it, much like some people don't bother using the crosswalks at University.

A local example of pedestrian bridge avoidance is the decades-old Overland Road walking bridge just west of Curtis Road. It was originally built to serve school children, but is otherwise seldom traveled. Even the 90-year-old mother of a now-retired ACHD employee preferred to make the more risky street crossing instead of taking the longer hike up the bridge stairs, across, and down the additional steps.

Back at Capitol and 9th, extending Royal Boulevard across the two roads to the Boise State campus was a less-expensive way to provide effective pedestrian crosswalks at the two new signalized intersections.

ACHD will continue to look at other possible pedestrian crossings for the area, but it's unlikely to be anything above or beneath the road.

Dear Road Wizard: The YMCA Halloween Run is coming up again on October 29th. Considering the complaints about The Color Run and the Halloween Run's traffic nightmare last year, I hope ACHD does not give the YMCA a permit to have the same road closures. You may remember my letter from last year that drivers heading west on Idaho Street out of Downtown Boise weren't allowed to go north into the North End. This sent cars down residential Idaho. That was bad planning, I cannot overstate it.

Road Wizard:

Last year's plan was fine, but the execution received a lot of boos.

This year the YMCA didn't request road closures for the run because the event will take place off the streets and on the Boise Greenbelt. There is no need to worry about the "Ghost of Halloween Run Past."

Dear Road Wizard: Ever since the Broadway Bridge re-opened, the traffic southbound on Broadway Avenue at 5:15 pm backs up from Boise Avenue to well north of Highland Street. I am sitting through three light changes minimum. This was not a problem before bridge construction. What happened?

Road Wizard:

During the Broadway Bridge rebuild, signal timing was changed to serve detoured traffic. With the bridge now complete, the signals were supposed to be back to normal operation. However, an error was made during the adjustment. This was a great catch by this anonymous writer, and ACHD corrected the mistake.

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