Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, April 21, 2019 ACHD's Road Wizard

Signal at 5th and Fort streets and ambulance access during road construction; speed bumps on Linden Street in southeast Boise

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: Please fix the light at 5th and Fort streets. The wait for east/west traffic on Fort is stupid long for very light traffic going north and south. Most mornings at 6:15 a.m. during my commute, I'm the only one waiting for a green. I have used this route since 1992 and this is bad.


Road Wizard:

Well, that issue was likely due to a traffic detection problem at the signal, which has been resolved. However, since this letter first came in, there are now new complications near the intersection due to the roundabout construction and associated road closures at Fort/Robbins/Washington.

Fort is closed east of 5th and, as part of the designated detour route, 5th is handling extra traffic, resulting in delays for drivers. The general area is a little tougher to get through than normal, as St. Luke's Boise continues to expand.

But if motorists are having a difficult time with traffic, how are ambulance drivers able to make it to the emergency room without losing valuable time?

St. Luke's follows ACHD rules to require contractors to provide road closure notifications to first responders. Hospital staff also reaches out to nearby fire stations to share road impact information, as well as partner emergency responders outside of Boise. There is also more than one access point for emergency vehicles at the hospital.

All of this planning and effort was effective during the closures last year, and St. Luke's reports that during that time ambulance access was maintained, and paths for emergency vehicles were provided if a route to the hospital was completely closed to traffic.

This year, the upcoming move of the Bishop Foote Guest House scheduled for Friday will impact the Jefferson Street ambulance bay. The moving crew is planning to stay on the north side of Jefferson in order to leave a lane open for ambulances. If for some reason that's not possible, there is a plan to directly work with dispatchers to send ambulances to the front of the hospital or briefly route them to the emergency room at St. Luke's Meridian.

Dear Road Wizard: I am interested in petitioning for speed bumps on Linden Street in southeast Boise. Traffic levels have sharply increased, including semi trucks and heavy duty vehicles. Also, speeding is rampant.


Road Wizard:

Speed bumps are technically called "speed humps" or "speed tables" because they are flat on top. Some were installed on the eastern section of Linden in the mid-1990s. But that is the portion of Linden that runs by White Pine Elementary and Timberline High School, so the traffic calming is appropriate.

But the portion of Linden close to Broadway is not a candidate for a variety of reasons. First, Linden east of Broadway has about 10,000 vehicle trips a day. And the maximum number of vehicles for speed humps is less than 4,000. Second, larger traffic volumes also tend to mean fire and emergency response crews use the route regularly and it's best not to delay their response times by vertical deflection on the roadway.

Also, the most recent ACHD speed study showed that the average speed on Linden was 31 mph, which is good since the posted speed limit is 30 mph. However, about five percent of traffic was traveling 38 mph or faster. That's a reasonable case for police enforcement, but not for speed humps.

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