COLLABORATION & COOPERATION FOR 8TH STREET UPGRADESFebruary 2, 2018
One of the city’s most popular streets, CCDC-owned 8th Street between Idaho and Bannock, is currently closed to vehicle traffic at the request of the City of Boise. This temporary inconvenience is related to a long overdue sewer project. The street is open for 24-hour deliveries for the businesses while the alleys are closed. It’s also being used for temporary staging by the city’s contractor to limit the impact to vehicular travel on 9th Street and Capitol Blvd. Of course 8th Street is still accessible by pedestrians and cyclists. There have been two hard closures of the travel lanes during the project to allow the contractor to access the sewer manhole in the middle of 8th St at the alleys. There will be a third closure on the evening of February 8. The anticipated completion date of the City’s work is February 13.
Concurrently, City of Boise Community Forestry is selecting new trees to plant along 8th Street. Some marks have been applied to trunks of some trees to identify those at the end of their life. This is common practice that Community Forestry uses all over the City. New healthy trees will be provided by CCDC during the upcoming 8th Street Project.
8th Street Furnishing Zone Refurbishment
The irrigation has been failing for a number of years. The existing irrigation points of connection are in private basements. Community forestry management plan identified replacement of the declining/dying Maple trees. The tree grates don’t meet current ADA standards. The light poles are older and less efficient than the new model standard. Many of the bike racks are temporarily affixed in place.
CCDC is installing a new irrigation system including a new point of connection in the public right of way to get the public infrastructure where it belongs. The Agency is assisting community forestry in accomplishing their urban canopy management goals by replacing the trees they determined require replacement. CCDC will be upgrading the tree grates to the ADA compliant standard which also provides a better walking surface. The old light poles will be salvaged and relocated to areas in town that are lacking light poles. New light poles will be installed that are equipped with efficient LED luminaires. The temporary bike racks will be replaced with permanent racks.
As planned, CCDC will improve the planter situation by replacing the oversized and space-taking unfinished concrete cauldron-shaped pots with upgraded flower/greenery pots more appropriate to the pedestrian heavy 8th Street sidewalks. After extensive research and design regarding options for urban flower planters in downtown Boise, flower planters are the appropriate choice instead of hanging planters.
Pedestrian Crossing Enhancements
CCDC has been leading the effort to improve “Walkability” since bringing subject expert Jeff Speck to Boise in June of 2013, and 8th Street can use some help. The sidewalk corners at the north side of 8th and Main, both sides of 8th and Idaho, and south side of Bannock do not meet current ADA accessibility standards. The corners are being constructed to the current standards which includes better facilities for the visually impaired. Adjusting the grade transition between the sidewalk and roadway also improves the pedestrian experience for anyone relying on wheeled conveyance such as strollers, carts, wheel chairs, or luggage.
The 8th Street Saturday market (Capital City Market) has a long-standing successful relationship with CCDC and is now an weekend fixture on the Agency’s 8th Street corridor and the Agency’s newly renovated The Grove Plaza. Each Saturday the street is closed to vehicular traffic to accommodate this pedestrian oriented event. Car shows, music performances, and other seasonal celebrations also use 8th Street in this manner. Retractable bollards are being installed at both ends of the two blocks of 8th Street from Bannock to Main. The retractable bollards will make it more convenient and safe to host pedestrian events on 8th Street. Additionally the bollards reduce the costs associated with temporary traffic control required of the event coordinators. In general, the bollards improve the flexibility of this public space as downtown continues to grow in popularity and pedestrians accommodations are increasing in demand.
Items that stay the same on 8th Street
After construction, and up until conveyance to the City of Boise, the street’s circulation will continue to function as it does today. The parking lane, northbound vehicle lane with bike sharrows, and the southbound bike lane are not modified by this project. The patios on 8th Street and the brick paving they occupy will not be disturbed during construction and will remain the same afterwards. The furnishing zone layout will remain the same after the infrastructure improvements are made.
CCDC is taking advantage of the mild winter and starting construction work much earlier than typical in an effort to minimize impacts on the public’s enjoyment of 8th Street’s patios and events this summer. Guho Corporation has been hired as Construction Manager/ General Contractor (CMGC) to deliver these improvements. Since November 2017 they, along with CCDC staff, have been working very closely with PDS, Public Works, Waste Management, DBA, property owners, business owners, and other interested parties in planning a coordinated construction effort. Our cooperative construction plan has scheduled the 8th Street improvements to start March 1 and complete by June 15. The logistics have been carefully considered and construction is happening in small operations to reduce impact to 8th Street daily life. A 5-foot wide pedestrian path will be in place on both sides of the street to maintain through access and business access throughout construction. Bicycle and delivery access will be maintained as well. Some detours of bicycles may have to be put into place when necessary to accomplish the construction. Currently the parking lane on 8th Street has been closed to parking and instead is serving as a 24 hour delivery zone. This arrangement came at the request of the business community and seems to be working well for their needs. Guho Corp has been hard at work coordinating in advance of construction with the impacted community members and will continue to do so through the construction effort to limit the inconveniences on daily life while these important improvements are completed.
Associated Project, Union and Freak Alley Improvements
Over the past two years the City of Boise has led a public process to reimagine Union and Freak Alley as a public space for people. CCDC has been involved as a partner from the beginning and is now leading the construction efforts of the improvements the public desires. During the same construction timeframe as 8th Street, Guho Corp will construct alley improvements that include: custom catenary overhead lighting, traffic-rated brick paving, drainage improvements, and inset monument signage. This project’s cooperative vision has led to private investment too. This includes improvements to the Fidelity Building and the Union Building that benefit the public space. Trash, recycle and grease barrels have been consolidated and relocated into the adjacent private garage. In Freak Alley the art gallery will enjoy the same public improvements which makes for a much friendly pedestrian experience, especially at dusk and at night. In both alleys property owners continue to look for opportunities to program the public space.