BOISE, Idaho — This article was written by Margaret Carmel of BoiseDev.
Ada County Highway District is hoping to make walking and biking through Hyde Park safer next year.
Next summer, the highway district will begin construction on a roughly $700,000 project aimed at slowing drivers on 13th Street between Fort Street and Camel’s Back Park. The traffic calming project will have two phases, which include improvements to pedestrian infrastructure and measures to force lower speeds through the area.
- Permanent radar speed limit signs to warn speeding drivers
- Bulb outs at several intersections
- Pedestrian ramp upgrades along five sections of 13th Street
- A beacon to help pedestrians safely cross 13th at Resseguie Street
A second phase of the project, which does not have a definite timeline, will also include extending the sidewalk by Camel’s Back Park along Hill Road to 15th Street, according to ACHD spokeswoman Natalie Shaver.
Bulb outs are extensions of the curb at intersections to give pedestrians a shorter distance across the street to cross, which lowers the risk of being struck by a vehicle. They also narrow the roadway at intersections, causing drivers to instinctively slow down.
The crossing at Resseguie Street, called a “rectangular rapid flashing beacon,” will allow pedestrians to hit a button to trigger the traffic light to flash and then turn red for them to cross. It will then flash again, and turn green allowing cars to move ahead.
Shaver said the process for ACHD to look at implementing traffic calming measures involves residents submitting formal requests and gathering signatures. Neighbors have requested a range of pedestrian safety improvements in the area going back to 2014.
“We love when the community comes to us and lets us know what they’re seeing in their neighborhoods,” Shaver said. “We like working with people and hearing from them.”
Anne Hausrath, a former Boise City Council Member and current North End Neighborhood Association member, said the project has been a long time coming. She hopes the changes will help slow down drivers who have been commuting through the North End as traffic has increased elsewhere in the city.
“If you look at our streets, the streets in the North End were laid out 100 years ago and most people didn’t have cars then, so they were not designed for the kind of traffic that we have,” she said. “Also as the foothills have developed and there are more and more developments west of here, drivers will come in through Hill Road instead of State Street and filter down through several North End streets. Many more drivers are choosing to drive through the North End to get somewhere than before.”