Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round

Today ACHD Commissioners met with the Boise City Council in a quarterly meeting. This is a long standing tradition and one that can pay great dividends as long as everyone is open to new ideas and acknowledge the issues that both entities face.

The main agenda item was a briefing on the Multi-Modal Center. That's a fancy way of saying transit center in downtown Boise even though it's pitched as a place for pedestrians, bikes and the potential trolley/streetcar/light rail thingy. This facility would take the buses off of Main and Idaho Sts, where they currently park themselves when not running around the county and put them in a north/south area. One of the potential locations would be in the parking lot of the Empire Building and the other would erect a structure across 10th St between Main and Bannock.

There's a certain urgency to finding and approving the final location in order to maintain the current $9 million plus federal earmark to build the Multi-Modal Center. And that brought us to today's meeting and a little controversy that seems bound to get bigger.

The Statesman intimated in a recent article that the 10th St location was a done deal. ACHD was quoted as saying the public input processes of ACHD were superior and there was no done deal. The Boise Guardian has profiled the issue and it's writer got an admission from ACHD President Carol McKee that the meeting today would be open to public comment. And apparently there were people present at the meeting that wanted to speak - except - they were not invited to put their two cents in.

I did ask what was the public sentiment to date from the neighboring owners and retailers. We were told that everyone had been contacted and I got the impression that there were no problems with the scenario of turning 10th St into a MMC.

But since the meeting I've gotten some e-mails from merchants along 10th St who disputed that.

And therein lies the problem.

On an accelerated schedule, we, Valley Transit, Boise City and ACHD, all need to make sure that any scenario chosen is the best, takes into account the people most closely impacted, and yet somehow speed through the process to safeguard federal earmarks.

There will be opportunity for public input to impact the decision. It's not a done deal yet. But the quickest way to make it a done deal is for people not to participate.


At February 26, 2009 at 7:49 AM , Blogger MNMAC said...

What research was done to look at other MMC in other cities? These centers do work and are decent neighbors to business if they are constructed well, with adequate lighting, and are maintained well. It sounds like many of the Commissioners are not open to public comment on this one. Why not have an open forum on Sunday mornings on Channel 7 View Point at 9 a.m.? A perfect setting for discussion.


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