The long multi-year project to make 8th St. in Downtown Boise a north-south bicycle corridor could continue.
The Capital City Development Corp. is considering a project that would revamp the current 8th St. from State St. to Franklin St. The Ada County Highway District would then make similar improvements on 8th from Franklin to Union.
If the project is built, it would provide a bike lane from Broad St. all the way to Union, a stretch of more than a mile through downtown Boise. (A section of the route goes through the Grove Plaza, which does not have a dedicated bicycle lane, but is a pedestrian plaza area that cyclists use regularly.)
Several additional blocks, from the Boise River Greenbelt to Broad St. do not have dedicated bike lanes, but do have so-called “sharrow” features where cyclists and cars are instructed to share the roadway.
“From BSU to the library to the Grove to the restaurant row and the Capitol Mall and through to residences and the foothills we need to make sure 8th St. serves all users,” CCDC project manager Zach Piepmeyer said at a Monday CCDC board meeting.
CCDC would use tax dollars collected through its tax increment financing model to change the current configuration of 8th for the two-block stretch from State to Franklin. Right now, the road features two vehicle lanes and parallel parking on each side, with no dedicated bike lanes.
The urban renewal agency is looking at three options to revamp the road, each with a dedicated bike lane along one side and a single lane for cars. The options differ on the configuration of parking – with variations that would keep parallel parking on both sides, limit parallel parking to a single side, or add back-in angle parking. Trade-offs for the different options include possible removal of some landscaping, cost or loss of parking spots.
“We did a utilization study, and generally speaking, parking is at or below 80%,” Piepmeyer said. “On Sundays mid-morning usage is higher.”
Piepmeyer said the agency did the study during the COVID-19 pandemic and noted it possibly impacted Sunday usage with some church services not back at full strength.
Concept A, which removes parking on one side and builds raised bike lanes on both sides of the street is estimated at $1 million for the first two-block stretch. Concept B, which has a raised bike lane on the northbound side and an “at grade” bike lane going south, along with parking on both sides, is estimated at $750,000. Concept C, which has back-in angled parking and a raised bike lane on the northbound side with an “at grade” bike lane going south, would cost $1.2 million.
Concept A would remove 16 of 30 parking spaces. Concept B would require no change, and Concept C would remove “one or two stalls.”
CCDC targets the construction of the State to Franklin two-block stretch in 2023. Piepmeyer said the ACHD blocks from Franklin to Union would mimic the CCDC design and construction for that portion of the street is likely to happen in 2024.