Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, June 3, 2018 ACHD's Road Wizard

Contractor wrongly closes both sides of Bogus Basin Road sidewalk during repair work; crosswalk on 3rd Street near the Ada County Courthouse causes delays.

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: Imagine craving a burger, but as you are walking down Bogus Basin Road north of Hill Road to Hawkins Pac-Out, you discover the sidewalks on both sides of the road are closed without any proper detours. How are you supposed to get your burger?

Anonymous

Road Wizard:

The contractor handling the sidewalk repair work was supposed to close one side at a time, not side against pedestrians. That is what ACHD required as part of the traffic control agreement.

Sidewalks and bike lanes are considered along with motor vehicle lanes during roadwork-related closures. There are more "bike lane closed" signs popping up around work sites as well. And a reasonable alternative pedestrian route is required when sidewalks are not passable.

ACHD inspectors are assigned to watch out for contractor fails but this one became apparent only after it was too late. After a day or two of work delays on the project, the inspector told the contractor that they would have to fill the gap on one side with temporary road mix if the sidewalk wasn't finished by the end of the day. The crews were able to complete the work in time.

Dear Road Wizard: The crosswalk from the Ada County Courthouse to their parking across 3rd Street can be very frustrating for northbound traffic on 3rd, which can get backed up all the way to Myrtle Street. It seems like the timing of when pedestrians use the crosswalk creates major disruptions. It seems like pushing pedestrians to the signalized crosswalk at 3rd and Front wouldn't increase their walking distance for the most part and would coordinate crossings with the flow of traffic. Having that crosswalk so close to the one at Grove Street . . . so many pedestrian crossings in an increasingly congested area!

Steven

Road Wizard:

There are four crosswalks on 3rd between Front and Main streets, assuming you count the crossings at the signalized intersections.

The non-signalized courthouse employee crosswalk on 3rd may seem like one crosswalk too many. But it is well used, which is why Ada County asked the Ada County Highway District to install the crosswalk in the first place.

Attempting to "push" those pedestrians down the street to the signalized intersection/crosswalk at 3rd and Front wouldn't be an effective way to support those employees. While pedestrians may do a lot of walking, people tend not to travel much distance out of their way to use a crosswalk. The crosswalk at 3rd and Grove is also considered too far to serve as an option for courthouse employees.

Keep in mind that 3rd is a two-lane street that balances the needs of motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. Moving vehicles through the area faster isn't a higher priority than providing designated crosswalks.

Dear Road Wizard: What are ya doing to us on a Sunday morning! Seriously, though, I enjoy your column and look forward to reading it every week. Keep up the (usually) great work!

Michelle & Steve from Eagle

Road Wizard:

Perhaps you are referring to the April 8 column about drivers turning onto Myrtle Street from Capitol Boulevard who fail to check for bicyclists. After getting several responses, I realize I should have reminded readers that while bike lanes, bike boxes, etc., at the intersection are appropriate support for bicycle traffic, those safety improvement features can't force people to watch for bicyclists. Police departments enforce laws, not road agencies.

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