Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, September 23, 2018 ACHD's Road Wizard

Boise's downtown gets a pass on chip sealing; no current plans to close Harrison Boulevard for Halloween night; flashing yellow arrow and pedestrians at Chinden Boulevard and Linder Road intersection

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: Just curious why the designation of "DT" (Downtown Boise) means that it's not in the rotation for a chip seal. Downtown Meridian gets this treatment, so why does Downtown Boise get a pass?


Road Wizard:

The "DT" can be found on ACHD chip seal zone maps. Downtown Boise gets this designation because it's larger and denser than Meridian's downtown. The area is exempt from chip sealing because the process requires multiple visits from road crews and several days of parking restrictions.

But there is an alternative protection for downtown streets called a micro seal. A single truck can mix all of the materials and seal the road in a one-and-done application. The chemicals are also different and allow the road to be ready for traffic in about an hour. Micro seals have also been used in Meridian's smaller downtown.

A micro seal isn't used everywhere because it's more expensive than a chip seal. It also doesn't have the chip seal's rough texture, which provides traction during slick road conditions.

Dear Road Wizard: I'm doing a project with Boise State University and St. Luke's Children's Hospital regarding the Halloween festivities on Harrison Boulevard. Do you have any information about when the painting on the road will be completed, and if/when they are closing Harrison like they did last year?


Road Wizard:

Locals know that Harrison Boulevard has been a go-to trick-or-treating street in Boise for many years. Last year was the first time that Harrison was closed to motor vehicles on Halloween night. People in the neighborhood requested the closure, and ACHD obliged. But so far there are no current plans to close the street again.

Harrison Halloween is a sort of unofficial special event that doesn't have sponsors that are typical with official events. Sponsors generally cover the cost of necessary traffic control devices for special event street closures.

As for the street paint, ACHD is planning to have most of that done by Halloween.

Dear Road Wizard: I use the crosswalk in Meridian at the Chinden Boulevard and Linder Road intersection. When the walk light tells me how many seconds I have to cross, the blinking yellow arrow for left-turning traffic off of Chinden onto Linder starts blinking almost simultaneously. Though it still appears I have the right of way for crossing, vehicles are also allowed to turn left into my path. This is a large intersection, and left-turning drivers are anxious to beat traffic going straight at 55 mph, so I must look to make sure a car doesn't miss noticing me in the crosswalk. In the interest of pedestrian safety, can the signal scheme at such intersections be changed?


Road Wizard:

Some pedestrian protections are built into how the flashing yellow arrows operate. The appearance of the yellow arrow is delayed for five seconds after a pedestrian gets the walk signal. This allows the pedestrian to become visible in the crosswalk before motorists start turning.

This also means that opposing through traffic gets a green light before the yellow arrow flashes. That way, people turning left can't really try to "beat" oncoming traffic as they attempt to turn.

There is new technology that may allow pedestrians to cross without displaying the conflicting flashing yellow arrow. How it might function with existing signal controller constraints is still in the testing phase.

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