New ACHD Commissioners Could Make Boise More Bike Friendly

Nov 6, 2014

The five-member board of the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) will soon have two new voices on the commission. Kent Goldthorpe gained incumbent Mitch Jaurena's seat in District Four, and Paul Woods beat out five other candidates to win the open seat in District Three.

Bike advocates have clashed with ACHD in the past, but the new makeup of the commission could mean more designated bike lanes in Boise.
Credit Toni Tabora-Roberts / Flickr Creative Commons

One of the things that played a role in the election was the question of protected bike lanes. Earlier this year, ACHD installed and then removed bike lanes as part of pilot program on three of Boise's downtown streets. Some cyclists complained the commission did not take their input seriously, even after public meetings. The commission also openly fought with the Boise City Council over the issue.

Woods says there’s a lot to learn from the previous commission’s pilot program.

“What we learned and what was apparent from the pilot project is that it just wasn’t very well thought out," Woods says. "It was constrained by time and it seemed to be constrained by lack of input. Those are issues that people are still very interested in.”

Goldthorpe and Woods both positioned themselves as candidates eager to appease Boise’s biking community.

Woods says he wants to make sure anyone with an interest in Boise’s infrastructure feels like their voice is being heard in the process.

“The discussion of buffered bike lanes will be a part of that, what roadways can accommodate bike lanes -- all that will be part of the planning process,” he says.

Woods says he wants to see the commission make safe roads a priority, not just for biking but for driving and walking too.

It’s not yet clear if the election of two new people will sway the five-person commission's appetite for protected bike lanes in downtown Boise. Woods and Kent Goldthorpe will both begin their terms with ACHD in January.

Follow reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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