Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, October 14, 2018 ACHD's Road Wizard

Apartment complex goes in at Federal Way and Targee Street; roads without sidewalks are fair under the Americans with Disabilities Act; fire station emergency signal is triggered by the push of a button

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: A large apartment complex is going up quickly in front of the post office at Federal Way and Targee Street. If all the soon-to-arrive residents are going to use Targee to get in and out, conflicts with Federal Way traffic flow will be significant. Does the city or ACHD have plans for the now near-zero traffic accessing Federal Way from Targee to reach some way-huge number as a result of the new apartment complex?

AES in Boise

Road Wizard:

This location offers a view of the Boise Foothills and access to four-lane, center-turn-lane Federal Way. There will be nearly 200 apartments, and it is ACHD's job to determine what type of traffic impact that will represent.

The projected traffic numbers with the apartments don't necessitate a traffic signal at Targee and Federal Way; Federal Way can accommodate the additional traffic. However, homeowners already on Targee may be inconvenienced at times.

To help with that, there will be a full access driveway along Federal Way at the north end of the property, which will give apartment dwellers an alternative to using Targee for every coming and going. The developer of the apartments was also required to build new sidewalks on Targee and Hudson streets.

Dear Road Wizard: There has been a lot of talk and open houses about Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements of late. How do streets without sidewalks conform with ADA requirements? Does this enter into the discussions when ACHD decides not to put sidewalks on residential streets?


Road Wizard:

All new sidewalks must be accessible to all users under ADA guidelines, which means sidewalks must include ramps and bright bumps underfoot at intersections. Roads without sidewalks can't conform to those standards of course, but the lack of a sidewalk means that it is equally inaccessible for all users under the ADA, so that's considered fair.

ACHD has an "ADA Transition Plan" that helps guide where sidewalks are built. The focus is on adding sidewalks in locations that will provide the greatest benefits to the most users at a reasonable cost. That means filling in sidewalk gaps, or constructing or rebuilding pedestrian ramps on key pedestrian routes. New sidewalks are also constructed by developers because ACHD requires them to be installed when buildings are constructed within the sidewalk network.

Despite these efforts, many locations will continue to lack sidewalks. It's the nature of development over the decades. Some 70 years ago people were enjoying the rise of the automobile and were fine with walking in the street if they weren't behind the wheel.

ACHD spends at least five million dollars per year on new pedestrian improvements, and the number gets closer to 10 million dollars when the cost of sidewalk improvements with road projects is included.

Dear Road Wizard: Recently I was northbound on Cole Road just passing the New York Canal when a fire engine with lights flashing pulled out of the fire station. The emergency light on the street stayed green. Shouldn't the truck lights switch that to red in both directions on Cole, or is that a manual switch they failed to trigger?


Road Wizard:

This fire station signal must be activated manually from a button inside the building - they don't turn red simply because a truck exits the station. It may have been overlooked in this case, or crews decided it wasn't necessary.

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