Public weighs in on transit plans for downtown Boise

Public weighs in on plans at city hall.

BOISE - City leaders are seeking input today after trying to bring more public transportation to Boise for more than a decade.

The idea is to have the downtown circulator -- something like a streetcar or bus -- that would connect major points downtown.

Today people have their chance to weigh in on the project at an open house at city hall.

There are some mixed opinions on it.

Part of that is because it’s all still a work in progress. The city has not said what type of public transportation they're looking at, whether it’s a bus or trolley.

Others have a more positive outlook, hoping whatever the city has planned solves a major headache downtown -- the parking.

"Parking can be a little brutal so I'm all about the public transit," said Shelley Coleman.

We've all been there, driving around looking for parking. That's why some people say having more public transit would fix a lot of the problems they see downtown.

"We're all coming to work downtown, a lot of us live downtown, why take up space in the parking garage that people who are coming from out of town could use," said Andrew Willden.

That's one of the reasons city leaders want the downtown circulator.

"In order to accommodate all of those people we've got to create other transportation options for people,” said City of Boise spokesman Mike Journee. “The idea we can come downtown and park once, and then most from St. Luke’s and move all the way out to the western end of downtown."

The city's recommendation is a fixed, T-shaped route. It would go through the downtown area and south to Boise State University. The circulator would run north and south along 9th Street and Capitol Boulevard, and then east and west along Idaho and Main streets. But not everyone thinks that's the best route.

Jeffery Trudick says he'd rather see something that would connect Meridian and Eagle to downtown Boise.

"It's so small in Boise, I mean the stops are so close together you can pretty much walk there before you can get on a bus and get off a bus," said Trudick.

Journee say the whole idea behind this circulator is more about creating a new feel downtown. He says city officials believe it would help boost the local economy.

"People are going to start thinking of taking that into account when they have a piece of property downtown, 'well how does this impact that?' How are people going to access this transportation option?"

"If we had some transit that actually went through this loop it would be a huge thing, not only for the businesses, I work right over there, a lot of us could get to work easily and could probably reinvigorate nightlife," said Willden.

Another concern people have is funding. This analysis was completed in October with a grant from the federal government.

Journee says this is still in the early stages so they still have to work out how the circulator would be funded, if it were built. But he says the plan is to look at tapping into more federal funding.

If you have an opinion you'd like to share with those working on this, the open house goes until 7 p.m. tonight at Boise City Hall.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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