Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blueprint Boise

The City of Boise is nearing the end of their work on rewriting their comprehensive plan, named Blueprint Boise. ACHD staff has reviewed the plan with an eye towards the subjects that have an impact on transportation or the delivery of the transportation element like roads vs transit or "complete streets".

The comments provided by ACHD will be advisory but the hope is that Boise will take them into account and perhaps tweak the plan element so that ACHD and Boise are on the same page, so to speak. ACHD's comments are not binding on Boise, but actually, the comp plan is not binding on ACHD. Yet, again, the hope is that ACHD and Boise will work together, just as the hope is that ACHD and any city in Ada County or Ada County itself can work together, and in the case of Boise, let's hope that hope actually does triumph over experience.

I really only had one comment on the comments and that was regarding connectivity. Boise's plan states "establish a connectivity index to promote a connected system of roadways to alleviate traffic congestion, reduce travel distances, and increase travel options." ACHD's comments basically stated that indices have been tried before, haven't worked that well but will consider connectivity requirements on a case-by-case basis and will take Boise's input into consideration.

My issue is that I get irked when there is a stub street in an existing area that theoretically was put there to connect with an adjoining area but that when the time comes to connect, the existing neighborhood objects to the potential of more traffic or "riff-raff", and the stub street (or perhaps it's a stub pedestrian pathway) doesn't get connected. Makes it hard to have connectivity when there is no connection.

One would have thought I blasphemed against all that's holy in the ACHD Protocols. Yikes. I was told in no uncertain terms by President Huber that what I said was just wrong and they almost always connect the stub streets. Maybe one or two have not been connected but those are the ones that are remembered but there really haven't been very many. Oops, turns out that's dead wrong. If the issue comes before the Commission, there is a 50-75% chance the stub street will NOT go through. Staff does NOT make the decisions on a case-by-case basis - they follow a policy. Only Commissioners can circumvent policy, and in the case of connectivity, it appears that's done on a regular basis.

Commissioner Carol McKee was adamantly in favor of going case by case. She said "this is the people's house (huh?)" and they should be able to come and be listened to. I absolutely agree with the latter part of her statement. Unfortunately, in my experience, both on and off the Commission, I haven't found her to be that welcoming to the public.

It's hard to be faced with angry citizens who want their neighborhood left the way it currently is and not what was planned, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and make a vote that doesn't make everyone happy. Sad to say, that rarely happens for connectivity when appealed to the Commission.


At June 22, 2010 at 7:30 AM , Anonymous LaurieChase said...

Bingo. It does make it hard to have connectivity when there are no connections. Shamrock is the perfect example.

At June 22, 2010 at 3:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lack of connectivity is the downfall of a transportation system. The lack of connections puts undue stress of those streets and intersections which do connect. The East Bench area is a poster child for this problem. Shamrock would have helped alleviate Cloverdale and 5 Mile Rd. The disjointed streets which do connect then make it nearly impossible to put a good working signal system in place with pedestrian connections...look at Horseshoe Bend...hardly any of the streets are in alignment with each other. This region is not ready to make tough decisions but instead will continue to placate and kick the can down the road. of luck on this issue.


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