Key downtown crosswalk could get scrambled

Pedestrians in the 8th & Main crossing in Boise. Don Day/BoiseDev.com

Pedestrians in the 8th & Main crossing in Boise. Don Day/BoiseDev.com

Crosswalks are perhaps a little like eggs.  When in doubt - give them a scramble.

The intersection of Main and 8th Street could soon get a new treatment - known as a pedestrian scramble, if upgrades from the Capital City Development Corp are implemented. 

In 2014, CCDC, which controls 8th Street, reversed traffic on the street from Main to Bannock - cars used to flow south toward Main St., now they are directed north toward the Capitol.

USDOT

USDOT

This changed the dynamic of the key Main and 8th intersection - near The Grove Plaza and Costa Vida restaurant.  Since cars can only make two maneuvers - straight down Main St., or a northbound turn from Main to 8th - it opens up options for pedestrians to walk in any direction they chose if the stoplight is properly set up -- including crossing 8th, walking diagonally across Main St.  and the like.

The concept is also known as a Barnes Dance - and Boise actually had one at the other end of CCDC's owned stretch of 8th Street where it met Bannock. Two one-way streets shuffled off in opposite directions, giving the same opportunity (you might remember the diagonal signals and crosswalk markings).  This pedestrian scramble went away when CCDC reversed the street.

CCDC has earmarked $580,000 in repairs and improvements along 8th Street this year, as it begins the process of sunsetting its central district, handing over the street to the City of Boise and returning the tax increment dollars it takes in each year to agencies like Boise Schools, Boise Fire and the like.  CSHQA has been drafted to draw up plans for how to spend the money and prioritize it.  Other ideas include adding hanging flower pots, adding string lights over 8th Street, putting down a thermoplastic treatment on the green bike lane marking and more.