Tag Archives: Boise

Movement for Everyone

Transportation in Boise, Idaho.By Casey Jones, CAPP

Last November, Lauren McLean succeeded four-term incumbent Dave Bieter to become Boise’s 56th mayor. To establish her agenda and set priorities for the new administration, the new mayor invited more than 70 citizens to participate in one of six transition committees tasked with forming recommendations to address social equity, economic opportunity, community engagement, housing, sustainability, and transportation.  I had the great fortune of joining 15 fellow citizens who, together, produced a report, “Movement for Everyone.”

Our group was diverse and included members of the business community, accessibility advocates, public transportation service providers, Boise State University, transportation consultants, and traffic engineers. The report and accompanying recommendations were equally diverse and were based on the following assumptions:

  • Congestion cannot be mitigated without substantial community behavioral changes and decreased vehicle miles traveled in the city.
  • Pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle injuries and fatalities are preventable.
  • Priority should be given to building on existing infrastructure, services, and programs.
  • Boise is a part of a larger, critical region that is growing together.
  • The City of Boise must be an effective and collaborative partner with both public and private entities.

Recommendations were divided into temporal categories– first 100 days, first year, first term–and included a mix of policy, funding, and tactical steps the city should take to improve transportation for its citizens and adjacent communities. Some of the most exciting and promising recommendations are:

  • Bolster the recently formed downtown Boise transportation management association (City Go) to maximize its visibility, increase its use, and decrease congestion in core areas of the city.
  • Ensure the City of Boise is the commute trip reduction model employer by maximizing incentives for alternative transportation for its employees.
  • Increase management efforts in Boise and explore additional innovations aimed at maximizing access for short-term parking users. Leverage digital advancement and invest in solutions to support transportation network corporations (i.e. Uber, Lyft), freight, and transit.
  • Partner with Boise State University to advance practical research aimed at quantifying, understanding, and developing potential solutions for the city’s transportation needs.

Participating on the committee made me more hopeful than ever about the future of our community’s transportation efforts, most especially when we work together to address the pressing issue we face. You can read the full report here.

Casey Jones, CAPP, is senior parking and mobility planner with DESMAN.

As Boise Goes, So Goes the West?

Boise, Idaho, flagBy Casey Jones, CAPP

I would not normally suggest that Idaho or its capital city, Boise, are bellwethers for the rest of the country for nearly anything. That’s not to say I’m not proud of my community but we Idahoans are humble people typically and keeping what’s great and avant-garde about our community to ourselves has, until recently, been an effective population control strategy.

If you pay any attention to national migration patterns, you are aware that the West has emerged as an attractive and popular destination for people looking for a high quality of life and access to the region’s abundant natural resources. The U.S. Census Bureau recently identified Idaho and Nevada as the fastest growing states in the U.S., and Boise and adjoining cities that comprise the Treasure Valley (population 220,000 and 710,000 respectively) have appeared on several recent fastest-growing lists. There is ample reason to believe the growth will continue in the foreseeable future.

To plan for such growth, our metropolitan planning organization recently initiated a survey and the results provide some interesting transportation findings that might be applicable to other western communities and second-tier cities across the country. Only 32 percent of respondents said they would be “likely” or “very likely” to use autonomous vehicles or personal rideable technology (e.g., e-scooters) in the future, while 52 percent said they would be “unlikely” or “very unlikely” to use them. More than 84 percent of respondents said it was “likely” or “very likely” that they would drive alone while 38 percent said they would be “very unlikely” or “unlikely” to use alternatives to driving even if they were convenient and available.

How applicable Boise’s attitudes and preferences are to other communities in the west is difficult to say but the inhabitants of cities like ours may be less inclined to embrace autonomous vehicles in the future and may continue to prefer personal vehicles to alternatives to driving. What’s clear is that our industry’s response will go a long way in effectively managing anticipated population growth and preserving the quality of life for which Boise and many mid-sized western cities are known.

Casey Jones, CAPP, is senior parking & mobility planner with DESMAN.