Thursday, September 27, 2012

Communities in Motion: Why Do You Care? Part IV

This is another installment in my series of blogs about why people care, or should care, about long-range transportation planning in general and Communities in Motion in particular.

We have been asking people – private individuals, members of COMPASS advisory committees, and YOU – this question. I have committed to sharing those reasons with you each quarter in my blog. This is my fourth installment.

Why people care about Communities in Motion 2040, as submitted by you:
  • Look at how far off “future-related” fiction has been (think of the book 1984 and the movie Back to the Future II, which takes place in 2015!). We don’t want to rely on fiction – we need to plan for the future of our valley as we want it to be.
  • It is like a “to-do” list for the Treasure Valley’s transportation projects.
  • Because things like the East Park Center Bridge in Boise, the Karcher Interchange in Nampa, and the Ten-Mile Interchange in Meridian wouldn’t exist without old long-range transportation plans.
  • Because we’ll have over a million people in 2040. If we don’t plan, it will be chaos!
To share why you think Communities in Motion 2040 is important ― why you care ― email and we’ll post your ideas here. The next installment will be posted the beginning of January. Help me out – I need to hear from you to have “reasons” to share here. Thanks!

Monday, September 10, 2012

No, it isn’t all about I-84…

As you read the news, and even my blog below, you may get the impression that all the transportation funding in the Treasure Valley is being used along Interstate 84 in Ada County.

I want to set the record straight: that is not the case.

While the potential of rebuilding three interchanges along I-84 is getting a lot of press, don’t let that fool you into thinking those interchanges are the only projects happening in the Treasure Valley or the only projects included in the regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). (The TIP is the budget that shows where federal transportation dollars will be spent over the next five years in the Treasure Valley; the draft TIP project list for FY2013-2017 is currently open for public comment.) 

At a quick glance, I counted over 250 projects that will occur in Canyon and Ada Counties within the life span of the draft FY2013-2017 TIP. Some are big; some are small. Some build or purchase new things; some are for maintenance or repair. Some are for roads; some are for transit, walking, or biking. While they may not be garnering as much attention as the interstate projects, they are no less important.

Let me briefly highlight just a few of these projects, along with when and where* they will occur…

  • Nampa. Widen Amity Road from Chestnut Street to Kings Corner from four to five lanes.
  • Eagle. Widen State Highway 44 from Linder Road to Ballantyne Road, including improving the intersection of Linder Road and State Highway 44.
  •  Boise Urbanized Area (northern Ada County). Improve transit stops by adding amenities such as shelters, benches, lighting, landing pads, waste disposal, and bicycle racks.

  • Canyon County. Replace the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge at the junction of US 20/26.
  • Meridian. Add raised pavement markings on Fairview Road from Mitchell Street to Meridian Road and on State Street from Glenwood Street to Collister Drive to improve safety.
  • Nampa. Provide bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure to connect neighborhoods in southeast and north Nampa to the downtown area and to transit transfer stations.
  •  Ada County. Purchase two seven-passenger minivans to expand the Commuteride vanpool program.

  • Caldwell. Replace the Plymouth Street Bridge with a new two-lane bridge (the existing bridge will remain in place and used for bicycles and pedestrians).
  •  Boise. Rebuild the Broadway Bridge over the Boise River.
  • Boise Urbanized Area (northern Ada County). Purchase replacement transit buses.

  • Caldwell. Widen 21st Avenue from Chicago Avenue to Cleveland Boulevard from two to five lanes; upgrade sidewalks, traffic signals, and railroad crossings at the same time.
  • Meridian. Widen Franklin Road from two lanes to five lanes from Black Cat Road to Ten Mile Road, including reconstructing the intersection of Franklin Road and Black Cat Road and adding curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and bicycle facilities along Franklin Road.
  • Boise State University. Purchase replacement shuttle buses

  • Middleton. Construct a new roadway segment to link State Highway 44 and Middleton Road by way of Sawtooth Lake Drive.

Want to see the rest?  Find the complete draft TIP project list for Canyon and Ada Counties for FY2013-2017 at Take a moment and submit your comments on the project list before public comment closes at 5:00 pm, Tuesday, September 25, 2012.

(*This list shows where the projects will occur. This is not an indication of what agency(s) is/are building, providing financial match, or receiving funding for the project.)

Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho

COMPASS is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization responsible for transportation planning in Ada and Canyon Counties. The COMPASS Board comprises 39 members representing the cities, counties, highway districts, educational institutions, state agencies, and other entities within the two counties. COMPASS plays an important role in making decisions about future long-range transportation needs in the Treasure Valley, taking into consideration environmental and economic factors that affect the quality of life.