ID: Group to Meet Wednesday on Downtown Boise Bike Lanes

June 23--GARDEN CITY -- The group studying Boise's issue of the year will have more than 40 people who represent a wide variety of groups, including cyclists, pedestrians, Downtown business owners and Smart Growth experts. Staff members for the city of Boise, its urban renewal agency, Ada County Highway District and public transportation authority Valley Regional Transit will also sit on the panel.

The study group won't have any elected officials, highway district spokeswoman Nicole Pineda said.

The group is scheduled to meet at noon Wednesday in the ACHD auditorium, 3775 Adams St., Garden City. Its topic of study: how to build a transportation system that moves cyclists, motorists and pedestrians in and through Downtown efficiently, safely and in a way that's good for business.

Pineda said the public is invited to attend, but the group will not take comments from the crowd.

In early May, the highway district -- responding to a request from Boise Mayor David Bieter and the City Council -- installed bike lanes on Downtown stretches of Capitol Boulevard, Main Street and Idaho Street. The lanes were buffered, meaning painted barriers, plastic markers and -- in some places -- a row of parked cars separated the bike lanes from vehicle traffic.

Against the requests of Bieter and the City Council, the district's board of commissioners made the bike lane project a pilot, saying they would remove the lanes after a month unless the board voted to keep them longer. Bieter sent a letter to the board asking commissioners to spend more time studying designs for the bike lanes and educating the public about them, then install lanes on a permanent basis.

The bike lanes elicited an overwhelming and divided response from people around the Treasure Valley. In general, people who primarily drive through Downtown didn't like the bike lanes. Cyclists generally liked them.

The first week of June, district commissioners Rebecca Arnold and Mitchell Jaurena blocked an attempt by fellow commissioners John Franden and Jim Hansen to keep the bike lanes at least until the district begins a multi-year process of resurfacing Downtown streets.

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