Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What can $2 per day buy you? A look at priority #2 – State Highway 44/State Street

This is the second in my series of blogs highlighting our unfunded priorities. Based on the combination of expected growth and unfunded needs, COMPASS has ranked State Highway 44/State Street as the #2 unfunded priority corridor in Ada and Canyon Counties – second only to I-84 in Canyon County (read my I-84 blog here).

Do you listen to the traffic reports on the radio in the morning or evening? If so, you hear the same phrase I do every day: “Traffic is backed up in the usual places along State Street…” 

The State Highway 44/State Street corridor connects Canyon County and western Ada County with the City of Boise. In fact, it is the only east/west commuter route north of the Boise River that connects Ada and Canyon Counties. In addition to the average of 7,000 (western end) to 35,000 (eastern end) vehicles per day that travel this roadway, it also boasts the region’s most-used bus route.

Needless to say, State Highway 44/State Street is busy and congested, and it is only going to get worse.   
  • Growth in the Cities of Middleton, Star, and Eagle is expected to bring dramatic increases in traffic and congestion, which will impact all modes of travel in the corridor. The overall population along the corridor is forecasted to double from approximately 30,000 today to over 60,000 by 2040. 
  • Traffic is expected to increase four-fold on the western end of the corridor near Middleton and to double on the eastern end of the corridor in downtown Boise by 2040.
  • The average driving time between Middleton Road and downtown Boise is projected to more than double by 2040 – from 35 minutes in 2013 to 75 minutes in 2040. 
Based on the combination of expected growth and unfunded needs, COMPASS has ranked State Highway 44/State Street as the #2 unfunded priority corridor in Ada and Canyon Counties – second only to I-84 in Canyon County.

Multiple improvements needed to address this growth have been identified. Some of the smaller improvements are funded; other, larger, improvements are not.

What’s Funded and When:
  • State Street, State Highway 16 to downtown Boise – Develop a land use plan for transit oriented development
    • When? 2017
  • State Street and Collister Drive Intersection - Intersection Improvements
    • When? 2018 
  • State Highway 44, State Highway 16 to Linder Road (2.3 miles) –  Widen from 2 to 4 lanes
    • When? Design will begin in 2017; construction anticipated sometime between 2019 and 2025 
  • State Street, Glenwood Street to 27th Street (4 miles) –  Widen from 5 to 7 lanes
    • When? Construction anticipated sometime between 2019 and 2025
    • This four-mile span is divided into four individual projects, each with its own budget and schedule

What’s Not Funded:
  • State Highway 44, Exit 25 to State Highway 16 - Widen to 4 lanes and construct new roadway from Canyon Lane to Duff Lane in the City of Middleton (12 miles) 
  • State Street, Glenwood Street to downtown Boise – Public transportation improvements
    • Includes capital improvements, increased service frequency, pedestrian and bike facility improvements, additional public transportation amenities, and other related improvements

Without additional transportation funding, improvements that would serve the transportation needs of current and future Treasure Valley residents will remain unfunded. COMPASS will continue to advocate for increased transportation funding to meet these needs, so that we Don’t Let the Treasure Valley Fall through the Cracks.

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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.