BOISE — After several years of planning, construction is underway on the redesigned Bannock Street corridor that runs through the heart of St. Luke's Boise Medical Center. The work is changing what’s become known as the Bannock corridor into a unique shared space.
Construction on a one-block stretch from Avenue A to 1st Street started in April, and is expected to last through the end of summer, officials said.
Developed through community workshops and the guidance of national experts from the Toole Design Group in Seattle, the resulting design is a shared Bannock corridor that will be able to accommodate multiple modes of travel -- including pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles. “Shared streets are used around the world to provide inviting, comfortable outdoor spaces for people to walk and congregate while, at the same time, allowing low-speed local bicycle and motor vehicle access,” explained St. Luke’s spokesperson Anita Kissee.
“While the new design accommodates all modes of transportation, it will also continue to reflect the needs of the St. Luke's community and provide safe, inviting spaces for employees, patients and families who use this area as respite,” she added. “The travel way will be aligned further north, which creates more open space and landscaped areas on the south side. Patients and families can seek privacy and solitude in more protected spaces, and the community is welcome to enjoy the area from one of the many benches.”
During construction, the one block stretch of Bannock and plaza spaces will be closed to use. The construction crews are working to keep an east/west path open at all times for easy pedestrian passage between the St. Luke's parking lot and garage, the main hospital, the South Tower and Anderson Center, and 1st Street.
During the week of June 3, crews expect to begin work on the west side of the Bannock corridor, in the Bannock and 1st Street intersection. People in the area should be aware of detours near this intersection.
After construction of the redesigned Bannock corridor is complete, St. Luke's and the City of Boise will work together with Toole Design Group and the community to test and evaluate the performance of the corridor later this year.
“A test period is particularly important as city planners evaluate safety, usage, bicycle speeds, potential conflict zones and nearby traffic patterns with the new roundabout, cycle track and improved intersections around the hospital. Following the test period and evaluation, Boise City Council will make the final decision on what modes of transportation are appropriate for the corridor,” Kissee explained.
Also, the design team has taken steps to inventory and document each donor brick, bench, plaque, light post, fountain and other special feature around Bannock Street. “The items will be safely preserved and stored until the new space is ready for the items to be reintegrated into the Bannock corridor. At that time, all efforts will be made to ensure people know the new locations of donated items,” Kissee said.
Community members are invited to attend an upcoming open house to learn more about the current construction on Bannock Street. Attendees can ask questions about the construction and future use and plans for the area with the experts from the Toole Design Group who designed the new shared space.
The meetings will be held:
•Thursday, May 30, 6-7:30 p.m. (a brief presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m.)
•Friday, May 31, 2:30-4:30 p.m. (a brief presentation will begin at 3 p.m.)
Location: St. Luke's Boise Medical Center, Anderson Center Lobby,190 E. Bannock St., 5th Floor (Entrance: facing Bannock Street and the hospital).
(photo courtesy: Anita Kissee/St. Lukes)