Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Crazytown Redux

A while back I wrote about how crazy things were at ACHD. Since then, there have been times when it seems like ACHD is kind of a normal government agency. Other times, it's back to being Crazytown. Today was one of those days.

The issue at hand was whether ACHD was going to allow a developer, at their expense, to build a roundabout on Warm Springs Ave near Harris Ranch. The roundabout would be a one lane roundabout since for at least 20 years that's the size that would be needed. If the road needed to be expanded around 2030, there is enough right of way to convert it to a 5 lane regular intersection with a signal. (Remember the date 2030, remember the number of years - 20, it will come in handy later.)

The ACHD Commission already had said, "No, we don't want a one lane roundabout" in December but then agreed to let the City of Boise and the developer and ACHD staff work it out. Consequently, we saw the issue again on February 17, 2010.

The City of Boise, the Boise School District and the Ada County Paramedics (for emergency access comments) all said they wanted a one lane roundabout. The Idaho Parks and Rec Department, whose land abuts the roundabout said they wanted a one lane roundabout but would not accept a two lane roundabout. The developer has already platted and built on the adjoining land so there is no more land available there and in any event they made it pretty clear that building a $220,000 roundabout with their own funds was all they were going to spend and they would NOT build a two lane roundabout. Oh, and the public weighed in in a number of meetings and said that they wanted a one lane roundabout.

We talk on the Commission a lot about roundabouts and how good they can be at moving traffic continuously. So here was an opportunity to put the developer's money where our mouth is.

And the upshot? There will be no roundabout because as Commissioner McKee so eloquently put it (and agreed to by President Huber), (and I'm paraphrasing but you can watch it on our website here) "our citizenry is going to get used to the roundabout and in 20 years when we have to expand the intersection we'll have to change from a roundabout to a regular intersection and it will be a PR nightmare because they'll be upset." Yep, we are worried that drivers 20 years from now might complain about a decision 20 years from now that may or may not have to be made but, woe is us, someone might be mad at us for a perfectly defensible decision. Oh, and to convert from a roundabout to a regular intersection (in 2030 or so - maybe) would cost taxpayers a whopping $10,000 to $20,000. Meanwhile we couldn't possibly let people enjoy the roundabout for 20 years.

Commissioner Arnold really didn't care about the issue so she voted no roundabout. Commissioner Franden agreed with me that we should go ahead and let the developer build the roundabout.

All in all, another day in Crazytown.


At February 18, 2010 at 4:23 PM , Anonymous SGS said...

The power of 3 over hundreds, nice... NOT! Those hundreds want the roundabout, so these 3 should just go ahead and let them!

At February 20, 2010 at 8:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that some on ACHD commission don't want roundabouts? What's their ulterior motive? The change is slow, but if they keep defying what the public wants, they will be replaced.

At February 24, 2010 at 11:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the ACHD commissioners wanted the roundabout, but they need to be planning ahead for the next 20 years and beyond. Future tax payers should not bear the cost of a new intersection in 20 years because we could not get it right today. Have the developer decicate enought right of way for a two lane roundabout and then build the single lane roundabout.

At February 24, 2010 at 1:02 PM , Blogger Sara said...

Dear Anonymous 2, I think you give too much credit to foresight and too little credit to a rigid world view of everyone against ACHD and we need to have good PR whatever the time frame and whatever the issue.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home