Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, April 14, 2019 ACHD's Road Wizard

Another request to time the Idaho Street "instant" crosswalk signal for St. Luke's Boise Medical Center employees; Sidewalk, bike path, but no road connects 4th Street between Cherry Lane and Maple Avenue in Meridian

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: The Idaho Street instant crosswalk signal for St. Luke's Boise Medical Center employees needs to be modified. I find it disgusting that the flashing light is instantly automated with every push by straggling employees, and traffic backs up to Warm Springs or Broadway avenues because of this middle-of-the-block pedestrian signal. It should be timed like the ones on River Street or Harrison Boulevard and employees have to wait! And with the closure of the Fort Street/Robbins Road/Washington Street/3rd Street intersection, how are we East Enders going to get around?


Road Wizard:

LML's years residing in Boise's East End go back to 1955, so this reader can be considered a residential resource. This flashing beacon has stopped traffic for about 15 years, ever since St. Luke's requested and helped fund the installation so their employees, patients, and visitors could cross Main and Idaho to get to and from the hospital and a primary parking garage.

These types of pedestrian-activated signals do not have the ability to delay activation to limit disruption to traffic. Even if that was possible, people are so accustomed to the "instant" service at St. Luke's that familiar and unfamiliar users may ignore the delay and risk crossing as they wish. Traffic engineers have to consider human nature along with everything else. But ACHD strategically placed the crosswalks to concentrate their use to fewer locations, which helps.

Unfortunately, timing beacon activation wouldn't be much of a benefit. For example, traffic westbound on Idaho arrives from Avenue B, Broadway and Warm Springs. One of the locations would need to be selected to endure the delay of the pedestrian crossings. Right now, drivers from all the locations share the stops in equal measure.

Road work in the area includes the roundabout under construction at Fort/Washington/Robbins. One block of Jefferson Street east of Avenue B is also closed as part of St. Luke's expansion/road changes. The roundabout should be mostly completed by August, and Jefferson is expected to re-open in mid-May. The use of detours and a lot of patience is needed to get around the work.

Dear Road Wizard: : Why doesn't 4th Street from Cherry Lane to Maple Avenue go all the way through? Instead, it's just a swampy bike path people have created. I asked someone once and they said a church owns the property and won't let it happen. That sounds untrue as it seems the property would be county-owned.


Road Wizard:

About two years ago, ACHD "people" built an asphalt pathway and sidewalk between Washington Street and Cherry Lane, but it may appear that they forgot to build an actual road.

The West Ada School District requested an improved walk route for students who attend Meridian Elementary. But 4th Street is not a critical link in the network for motor vehicle traffic and wasn't considered with the sidewalk project. However, without the paved pathway, the unopened public right of way really was a swampy walk in rainy conditions.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns land directly east of the path, could trigger a start to the process of eventually connecting 4th Street if they wanted to redevelop the south half of their property. But ACHD has received no proposals from church leaders for such a project.

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