Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, March 11, 2018 ACHD's Road Wizard

Unsafe parking still happening at the small business plaza west of the Hill Road "dogbone" roundabout; reader describes "jarring visual noise" at traffic signal at Royal and Capitol boulevards.

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: Recently you wrote about unauthorized diagonal parking along Hill Road at the small business plaza west of the excellent "dogbone" roundabout. It sounded like that rude parking would be eliminated soon but nothing is happening yet. Please help eliminate this egregious public safety hazard -- it's dangerous for drivers, bikers and pedestrians. It makes me nervous every time I go by there. How long does the public have to tolerate this selfish behavior? Thank you for your very helpful column.

Steve L.

Road Wizard:

In the original column "RP" was concerned about drivers backing up onto Hill Road and not being able to see oncoming vehicles or bicyclists.

ACHD told the property owner to remove the white diagonal parking space markings, and the property owner painted over them with black paint. But "Kristen" also sent a letter to the Road Wizard, reporting that people continue to park diagonally between the black lines. Some drivers leave their vehicles with the bumpers hanging over the designated bike lane.

This parking problem is partly in ACHD's right of way, and any parking spots, such as with this situation, need approval. Permission was given originally for parallel parking, but not for diagonal parking. ACHD is not in the business of painting parking for businesses, so they will give the property owner another chance to properly designate the approved parking layout. If no action is taken, ACHD will post "no parking" signs, effectively eliminating any road/shoulder parking at the location.

Dear Road Wizard: A Guest Opinion in the January 25 Idaho Statesman noted that the newly-reconfigured intersection of Royal and Capitol boulevards at Boise State University has terribly degraded Boise's most famous view -- the iconic panorama of the Boise Foothills and Idaho Capitol as motorists descend Vista Avenue toward downtown. I understand the need for maximum pedestrian safety at this new, heavily-trafficked crosswalk, but the amount of new warning signs, poles, control boxes, and stoplights do seem terribly over-engineered at this intersection. Is there any way ACHD could reduce the jarring visual "noise" that's been created?


Road Wizard:

When it comes to driver, bicyclist and pedestrian safety, the clear view of traffic control devices is what matters most.

But there is an "extra" traffic signal head on northbound Capitol at Royal because Capitol used to have four motor vehicle lanes. The signal was designed and constructed before the fourth lane was converted to a buffered bike lane.

Even without the aforementioned signal there would still be five, which may seem excessive since the general rule of thumb is one overhead signal per approach lane.

However, at Capitol and Royal, as is the case with similar intersections, there are pole-mounted signals on both sides of the road in addition to the overhead signals. These indications provide added signal visibility when there are sun glare issues. They also offer an alternative signal view when overhead signals are blocked by larger vehicles. Another benefit is that they serve as a "guide" for turning drivers.

This intersection is similar to any signalized intersection constructed in Ada County. There is a reason for that -- people recognize and respond to uniform and consistent features. Removing the additional signal head wouldn't do much to reduce the claimed "jarring visual noise." And removing anything else would deny the Capitol and Royal intersection the necessary and appropriate features associated with signalized intersections that serve all users.

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