CCDC, ITD to collaborate for changes to Front, Myrtle

As part of the process to revamp Front St. and Myrtle. St. in Downtown Boise, the Capital City Development Corporation and Idaho Transportation Department have agreed to a series of small changes to improve pedestrian access on the state highways which slice through downtown.

As first reported last year, a process is underway to improve “north-south connectivity” across the busy five-lane freeway extensions that take the form of Front & Myrtle.  While the full project is still in progress, the two agencies have agreed to make a series of small steps.

The most noticeable change will be increasing the sidewalk area at a number of pedestrian crossings. This will be accomplished by tweaking the curb radii to be slightly sharper.

 Pushing out the corner radius at Front & 9th
Pushing out the corner radius at Front & 9th

“You get more sidewalk there, and reduced crossing distances,” CCDC project manager Matt Edmond said. “An example is Boise Centre corner – (this project) will reduce the crossing distance by about six feet, and add about 100 square feet of sidewalk.” 

The changes will make it ever-so-slightly easier to get across Front, Myrtle and many of the cross streets – by reducing the distance a pedestrian has to cross in a short amount of time.

The curbs will be adjusted in twenty locations shown on the map, and the sidewalk configuration near the Pioneer Pathway where it connects to the future Pioneer Crossing development will be reworked. 

 Improvements at Pioneer Crossing
Improvements at Pioneer Crossing

In addition, CCDC will pay to install a conduit for wiring of potential future traffic signals at Front and 10th, Front and 12th and Myrtle and 5th.  The 10th and 12th locations may need traffic lights in the future due to the growth in the area – including Simplot HQ, JUMP and Pioneer Crossing.  A signal at 5th and Myrtle near Inn at 500 Capitol could connect to a new pedestrian pathway into Julia Davis Park. 

“Nothing in this that would obligate ITD to install a traffic signal or pay for it,” Edmond said. “It would mean they wouldn’t have to bore a trench across the street to add a signal.”

Lastly, CCDC will work with ITD to close up four curb cuts in sidewalks along the two arterials that aren’t in use – subject to agreements with nearby landowners.

CCDC’s board approved $80,000 in tax dollars collected through the agency’s tax increment financing model in a special meeting Friday.

“I’m just really excited to be working with ITD – it’s a great step forward,” CCDC commissioner Dana Zuckerman said. 

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