Friday, June 17, 2016

Jefferson matters to everyone; not just cyclists

One misconception about closing Jefferson is that it's only about bikes. St. Luke's and their surrogates have promoted this idea, suggesting that a 'cycle track' can mitigate the lost connection.

But that's not the case.

Currently, Jefferson is the only direct, low-speed connection between everything to the east of Avenue B and Boise's downtown and West End.

The only one.

Jefferson is currently used by commuters who drive, bike, or walk to and from work or downtown businesses. That direct connectivity touches every commuter: the parent driving a child to school, the pedestrian or wheelchair user attempting to negotiate the busy intersections, etc.

Cars can't use a cycle track, and neither can pedestrians—or wheelchair users. That's why they call them 'cycle' tracks.

A classic example of the Jefferson user is a gentleman who went out of his way to talk with us during our 'person-on-the-street interviews' on Jefferson. The 38-second clip speaks to the many daily users whose voices haven't been heard over the din of P.R.

Pretending you can replace that last direct connection (for all modes of travel) with a 'cycle track' is like saying we can 'mitigate' for killing the last white rhino by substituting a whitewashed pig.

Use the quick and easy survey to tell ACHD Commissioners that keeping Jefferson public serves the public good and maintains safety for all commuters.
Connectivity in and of itself also represents a tangible and sought-after asset for urban planners and community developers, and it determines whether a place feels safe, accommodating and unified or unwelcoming and isolating. Building a megastructure over Jefferson would create a fortress that isolates neighborhoods and commerce.

Many feel the problem all along is that St. Luke’s has not truly explored options that do NOT assume closure of Jefferson. As Professor Allison pointed out early on in his testimony to the Mayor and Council, their master plan seems designed to support a foregone conclusion. (min. 2:03)

As Mayor Bieter* pointed out, St Luke's has a poor track record of respectfully engaging and compromising with citizens who think differently or challenge their views. Some think their arrogance and unwillingness to truly cooperate will only strengthen once they get the go ahead on Jefferson.
*"...St. Luke’s seemed to me to be somewhat dismissive of the legitimate concerns of your quote one such supporter, dismissing those concerns as “insignificant noise.” I am an East Ender, too, and that’s a troubling statement." —Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, 6/30/2015
Coincidentally, below is a comment received via our online survey from an Ada County resident (not a KBC member):
"Before Jefferson can be vacated, there must be a revised overall transportation plan for the entire near East End — the area from Fort & Washington to 6th & Myrtle to the W Park Center bridge—a pinch-point for all travel east of downtown on the north side of the river. Current plans do not account for a major medical campus in the center of this transportation nexus."
This is a key point: ACHD also plans to convert Jefferson to a two-way route in the near term, a change that should be evaluated before committing to street closure along the route

Here's a thoughtful letter sent to ACHD recently from a local physician:
Dear Commissioners:
I am writing to oppose St. Luke's request to close Jefferson St.

St. Luke's has the wherewithal to find alternatives to its current plan which will further impede traffic through the East End and degrade the surrounding neighborhoods. Tunnels, skybridges and a shift in expansion to the south incorporating the existing parking garage are all possibilities.

More importantly, as a regional medical center, St. Luke's needs to align its expansion with the needs of the greater Treasure Valley and southwest Idaho. Clearly the population center of the Treasure Valley has progressively shifted westward, a trend that will undoubtedly continue. St. Luke's Meridian campus is ideally situated to accommodate future growth; its ER is already the busiest on the state. It's time that St. Luke's acknowledge that its flagship hospital will ultimately need to be in Meridian rather than hemmed in between a residential neighborhood and downtown Boise.

St. Luke's Boise provides an invaluable service to the community, however their growth has over the years had a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. The time has come to draw the line at Jefferson St. and redirect St. Luke's future growth to the Meridian campus.

Thank you for your consideration.


Peter Angleton, M.D. 

Use the quick and easy survey to tell ACHD Commissioners that keeping Jefferson public serves the public good and maintains safety for all commuters.

1 comment:

  1. I am speaking out against St Lukes downtown expansion. This area is so limited for commuters, being riders or drivers, that any less than expanding routes is going in the wrong direction. More hospital means more traffic. As anyone knows who uses Jefferson, Fort, Ave B, Broadway, Idaho and Warm Springs/Main St this area cannot handle anymore expansion. It is already being affected by the Harris Ranch area development. With more traffic there will be more difficulty getting to the hospital! St. Lukes expansion should take place in a central valley location just as Dr Angleton suggests.
    Tony Moody
    East End home owner for 24 years.