Boise's transportation going through changes

BOISE -- Idaho's largest city is going through some big changes, and the common theme is transportation.

Just this past week, officials broke ground on City Center Plaza. Gardner Company is developing two large state-of-the art buildings, and a multimodal transit center there.

It's a transit center for which Valley Regional Transit and other government entities have been trying to find a home for years.

The transit center was going to go right on the corner of 8th and Jefferson, at one time, said Gov. C.L. Butch Otter. The Land Board was against it, the legislature wasn't in favor of it. But, as usual, the Gardner Company came up with the answer.

Transportation of all kinds is a theme in the development of downtown Boise. The Owyhee, a now-refurbished historic building, will open this coming week.

Developer and co-owner Mike Brown did a comprehensive visioning process with local leaders before beginning work on the building.

We got them together and we said, 'What is Boise now? What is it becoming? And, what does it really want to be?' he said. We wanted the building to speak to that.

What local leaders seemed to tell him is that Boise is being built up, not out, and developers need to think of not just cars, but bikes, buses, and walkers.

One of our goals was to re-orient the building such that it was still friendly to cars, but not exclusive of pedestrians, because we want the Owyhee to be part of downtown becoming a walkable urban center, Brown said.

But, how important is transportation and traffic to Boise's vitality?

Max Clark with Capitol City Development Corporation just announced that one-way traffic on 8th Street will change direction. It's only for two blocks, but Clark says, it will make a big difference, since transportation and traffic have a big impact.

Business owners view traffic as critical for the health of their business, he said.

That change on 8th Street will happen in about two months. The public grand opening of the Owyhee is coming up on Wednesday.


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