Editor’s note: This blog is authored by ICL Boise office summer intern Will Wicherski.  

There is still a long way to go before residents can safely cycle in every Ada County community. With hundreds of miles of bike facilities and fantastic weather much of the year, bicycling opportunities abound in Ada County. However, continued improvement in bike infrastructure will reduce reliance on motor vehicles, promote healthy communities and increase citizen safety in Ada County.

The county’s bike infrastructure didn’t happen  by accident: the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) issued the Roadways to Bikeways Master Plan in 2009, a document outlining ACHD’s strategy for improving bike infrastructure throughout Ada County. Since then, 122 miles of bike lanes, pathways and shared roadways have been established and Ada County was designated a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

Now,  ACHD is updating  the 2009 Roadways to Bikeways Master Plan to address changes in thinking on bike transportation and update infrastructure needs. ACHD wants  public input as staff  plan for  development efforts over the next 10 years.

Improving Bike Networks

The proposed master plan update  will focus on low-stress networks, which means identifying calmer roads parallel to major arterials that can be easily developed into comfortable, safe, low-traffic bikeways. An example of a low-stress route is Leadville Avenue in Boise, which will provide a safe biking alternative to busy Broadway Avenue through the Leadville bikeway project.

Your voice is important because future projects to improve connectivity and infrastructure throughout Ada County will be determined based on priorities from public input.

Information on the Roadways to Bikeways Master Plan  update is located on the ACHD website.

What You Can Do

If you are an  Ada County resident who cycles for commuting, recreation or pleasure, we encourage you to make your voice heard!  Strong input from bicyclists is the best way to improve bike facilities and move bicycle issues up ACHD’s priority list.

  • Come to the  next public information meeting at 6 pm on July 10 in the ACHD auditorium, 3775 Adams St, Garden City. At this meeting, you can learn more and provide your input  on priority projects for east-west and north-south roadways that could be converted into a viable low-stress network connecting all of Ada County. Other topics will include bikeway and wayfinding design features such as signage, road markings and traffic calming measures.
  • If you are unable to attend the meeting and  still wish to speak out, email  your comments to project manager Brooke Green.
  • In addition to the master plan, specific neighborhood bicycle plans are developed one by one with the respective neighborhood associations on a rolling basis. The East End Neighborhood Association is  seeking input on a new bike and pedestrian plan.

Staying involved in local forums leads to tangible improvements in your community!