Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, March 24, 2019 ACHD's Road Wizard

Risky middle-lane maneuvers on Chinden Boulevard near Orchard Street; bike lane disappears on McMillan Road near Mitchell Street; concerns continue about the Eckert/Healy intersection with Boise Avenue.

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: When going west on Chinden Boulevard around 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., stopped at the light at Orchard Street, the traffic backs up past 35th Street. There are people who drive down the middle lane, over the turn lane for 35th, and over the double yellow lines to turn left onto Orchard. An accident almost occurred when someone pulled up to turn left onto 35th and someone was driving down the middle of the street. Has there ever been any consideration for putting anything there to prevent vehicles from doing this? I enjoy reading your columns.


Road Wizard:

This is an odd, back-to-back-to-back left-turn lanes situation, with the Chinden center lane marked with arrows as left-turns for 35th and 36th. This would seem to increase the risk of a head-on collision when someone enters the center lane too far in advance of the standard left-turn at the signal at Chinden and Orchard.

Concrete median curbing or something similar could be installed to prevent drivers from using the center lane to stack up for left turns. Chinden is Idaho 20/26, a state highway, and the Idaho Transportation Department will consider curbing. It could create a nuisance for snow removal, a service ACHD provides for the road, but ACHD is fine with the idea.

Dear Road Wizard: The westbound bike lane on McMillan Road virtually disappears near Mitchell Street before returning again. This is a dangerous situation because it forces the cyclist to briefly enter a fast-moving road unexpectedly for the drivers. It seems like a simple fix. At least a warning sign could be installed for both cars and cyclists. It is a blemish to an area with really good bike infrastructure.


Road Wizard:

ACHD is looking into signs or other measures as short-term options. And a long-term solution is coming in the form of a pavement widening project. It is planned for this section of McMillan in 2020 and will improve the sidewalk network and should also create more bike lane space.

Dear Road Wizard: With the growth in the Barber Valley, traffic along Eckert Road has increased substantially, and this is leading to issues at the Eckert/Healy intersection with Boise Avenue. These issues are compounded by the speed of vehicles coming up Eckert and the short sight lines due to the curve in Eckert. There are large numbers of Timberline High School students with limited driving experience trying to turn across the traffic to get to Harris Ranch. The Greenbelt also crosses Boise Avenue at the intersection. This combination of factors is making this a very dangerous intersection. What can be done to make this intersection safer?


Road Wizard:

This is one of those questions that comes up time and time again, but the intersection seems to work well because drivers recognize the need to conduct themselves accordingly in this challenging location.

Eckert used to be part of Idaho 21 and there were about 5,600 vehicles counted as a daily average in 1996. Today's daily traffic is a bit below that at last count. And the crash frequency has remained low over the years, with three reported crashes between 2009 and 2015, and no others in the records since that time. For now this is a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" situation.

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