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Construction of Broadway, Bench pathways to begin in coming years

The City of Boise is planning two new pathways for cyclists and pedestrians in the next few years with the help of grant funds. 

Last week, the Boise City Council gave the green light to use funds from the city’s Open Space and Clean Water levy fund to start design and construction of two pathways, one on the Boise Bench near Cassia Park and another connecting Broadway with the Fred Meyer shopping center on Federal Way. 

This is part of the city’s push to build out a network of pathways around the city to give residents more options of transportation around their neighborhoods other than driving. Mayor Lauren McLean’s Transportation Advisor Bre Brush said this is integral to the city’s climate goals and aim to reduce the city’s average single-car trips residents take. 

“We’re not going to be able to meet the climate goals without getting folks to switch their mode (of transportation),” Brush said. “If we can make it safer for people to walk or bike on pathways like this, people will feel more comfortable getting out of their cars to make their trips.”

Design for the Cassia Park pathway will start in 2023 and construction to follow in fiscal year 2024. The Federal Way project will be designed in fiscal year 2026 and constructed in fiscal year 2027.

Work on long-planned Cassia Park connection to begin

One of the projects is the culmination of decades of talks. 

The proposal would put a pathway on the 10th-of-a-mile stretch between the intersection of Garden and Albion streets into Cassia Park from the north. The canal is operated by Nampa Meridian Irrigation District, which has put the stipulation that if the pathway is constructed the canal would need to be piped instead of being an open waterway due to the need for the pathway to be open for maintenance.

If constructed, it would create a direct connection between the neighborhoods north of Cassia Park into the park, instead of forcing pedestrians and cyclists to go around onto the much busier Orchard Street to visit the park. Brush said just over 1,000 households live within a ten-minute walk of the pathway. 

The total cost for the project is $1.8 million, with $170,000 coming from Boise’s Open Space and Clean Water Levy fund. The rest will come from grants from regional planning organization COMPASS. 

The project has been controversial for years due to nearby neighbors opposing the removal of trees near the canal and impacts to their privacy due to people traveling on the path behind their backyards. A July 2020 community meeting about the project had a mixed reception, with some attendees cheering for the project and others shouting out criticism from the audience, according to coverage of the meeting from the Idaho Press. 

Federal Way to Broadway 

The second pathway being considered would connect the south end of Broadway Avenue up to the Fred Meyer shopping center on Federal Way. 

It would start at the intersection of Broadway Avenue and Linden Street and head south and up the hill to Federal Way. Brush said it hasn’t been decided yet if the pathway would be on the east or west side of Broadway, but it would be a ten-foot wide path for pedestrians and cyclists with a concrete barrier separating them from car traffic. 

Courtesy of the City of Boise

“Right now the infrastructure is it’s a huge barrier for residents trying to access the commercial above on Federal Way or below on Broadway,” she said. 

The project cost is $1.4 million, with $120,000 coming from the City of Boise’s Open Space and Clean Water levy fund. The rest, like the Cassia Park pathway, would be funded by a grant through COMPASS. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story improperly stated the year of construction for the pathway on Federal Way due to incorrect information provided by the City of Boise. It has been changed to reflect design starting in fiscal year 2026 and construction in 2027.

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Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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