Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, September 8, 2019 ACHD's Road Wizard

What is the process behind naming streets; How often are street signs stolen and what is done about it; How does Adopt-a-Highway work?

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: With some of the recent news about Chicken Dinner Road and those whackos PETA trying to have it renamed to Soy Breakfast Way, or whatever, it got me thinking about who does name the roads in Ada County. Is it ACHD?

Bill

Road Wizard:

The short answer is simply not ACHD. The longer answer is that new names are proposed by the developer of the new subdivision to the Ada County Assessor's Office. From there, requests are sent to the Ada County Street Naming Committee for review.

Ada County has a set of general standards for street naming that details the process. Some of the cities have additional guidelines as well. These include:
  • Duplicate street names are strongly discouraged (though Meridian and Kuna both changed the names of existing streets to "Main Street" within the last 20 years or so, even though streets in both Boise and Star already had the same name).
  • If an existing street is extended through the development process, it (usually) keeps the same street name.
  • If a new street aligns with (but doesn't connect with) an existing street, it also usually must take the name of the existing street.
  • If a new street makes a significant change in direction, a separate street name is required at the point of the change.
  • Street names must be no more than 13 characters in length, including spaces, so "Floating Feather" for example wouldn't pass muster as a new street name with the Committee these days.
  • The Dispatch Staff compares new street names to similar existing street names to try to weed out "soundalikes" that can create confusion for dispatchers trying to direct emergency services to 911 call locations.

The land use agencies' elected bodies, not the Committee, have the ultimate authority regarding street names, and Committee decisions are occasionally appealed to the appropriate city council or the Ada County Board of Commissioners.

Dear Road Wizard: For several years, the street sign has been missing at 17th Street and Hill Road, in the North End. In this area, at least, it would be on the northeast corner. Maybe it's in somebody's basement or garage. How often are street signs stolen and what is done about that?

Charlie

Road Wizard:

A dozen or so signs go missing every year, but since ACHD is not an enforcement agency, there is little they can do about the signs disappearing. If a stolen sign is a safety concern, such as a stop sign, ACHD will replace it immediately. Other types of signs that are not safety-related usually must be custom made, which can take a couple of days. Depending on how busy the ACHD sign shop is, ACHD likes to replace missing signs within a week of them being reported.

Although powerful, my crystal ball does not show me when street signs go missing, so having concerned citizens like you report them is much appreciated!

Dear Road Wizard: How does one Adopt-a-Highway? What are the responsibilities involved?

Casey

Road Wizard:

ACHD's Adopt-A-Highway program allows various groups to "adopt" a section of roadway to help keep it free of garbage and debris. ACHD provides the group with safety vests, garbage bags, and temporary warning signs. The bags will be collected by ACHD at the end of the cleaning day.

It is a two-year commitment, and within that time frame the group must clean the area twice per a year. If your group would like to volunteer, applications can be found on ACHD's website, www.achdidaho.org.

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