In a survey done last year by Transportation and Parking, it was found nearly 20 percent of commuters to Boise State choose a bicycle as their form of transportation.
In order to promote cycling safety and accommodate for the rise in cyclists on the roads, Ada County Highway District has proposed some changes to the streets of downtown. Included in this plan is taking an auto lane out of Capitol Boulevard., Idaho Street, and Main Street to put in a buffered bicycle lane.
“It’s kind of an obvious linkage that really needed to be made,” said Craig Quintana, chief information officer at ACHD, on the connecting of northern and southern downtown.
ACHD has been working hard to get the community’s input on these proposed changes, and so far they’ve received nearly 300 comments from the people of Boise. However, Quintana fears that they are only hearing from one group of the community —cyclists.
“Where we suspect we’re not getting good feedback and penetration in terms of public awareness is just the general driving public,” Quintana said.
In order to bring these possible changes to the public’s attention even more, ACHD is planning to create a live demonstration of what these changes would mean. Quintana explained that they are trying to “do our level best to simulate what it would really look like if we made these changes.”
The demonstration could run from a couple weeks up to a month. However, it will be difficult to create this demonstration without making it look like a construction zone.
“We can’t have a bunch of orange cones and orange barrels out there,” Quintana said. “Because in a construction zone, people drive and people bike differently.”
Quintana mentioned that extending bicycle lanes was highly influenced by Boise State.
JC Porter, assistant director of Transportation and Parking Services at Boise State, feels the bicycle lanes would be a benefit to the community and to Boise State commuters.
“I think anytime you can increase safety for cyclists it’s a good thing,” Porter said. “That (the bicycle lane) will definitely help promote cycling to and from campus.”
Porter explained the safest route currently to get from Boise’s downtown to campus is cycling along 8th street until reaching the Green Belt and then crossing the river at Friendship Bridge.
Porter isn’t sure how having one less auto lane will affect motor traffic moving away from campus up Capitol Blvd.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” Porter said, “there’s a lot of other access points to access University, like Beacon is a really good one.”
Echo Knight a junior health education major, rides her bicycle to the university coming from south Boise. Knight sticks to the back roads to avoid traffic.
“Cars scare me. Riding by cars kind of freaks me out,” Knight said.
Knight also works at Proto’s Pizza and will sometimes cycle from the university to there, which takes her up the Greenbelt and Capitol Boulevard.
“I think that’d be a good thing,” said Knight on adding a bicycle lane to Capitol Boulevard. “I think that might make people feel more comfortable riding their bikes there and I think biking is better healthwise.”