Supporting documents

St. Luke’s Master Plan and street closure: What the experts and our planning documents say

Without meaningful good faith compromise, this plan seems contrary to what Boise says it stands for. But don’t take our word for it; read these comments from the experts and judge for yourself.

Boise Planning and Zoning Commissioners recommended denial of St. Luke’s application “for the reason that it does not comply with substantial elements of the comprehensive plan.” The final vote was six to deny and one to defer. (2/9/15 P&Z Transcript). Each Commissioner outlined some specific reasons for denial, and here are a few excerpts from their comments.
  • "I would suggest that you're squandering the tremendous goodwill of the community..."—Commissioner Miller to St. Luke's 
  • "I do think the case has been made by the public that an undue burden is placed on transportation—primarily bicycling—by the closure of Jefferson."—Commissioner Demarest 
  • “St. Luke's is an important part of our community but it is a part of the community. We’ve heard tonight from many people, we have legitimate concerns about closing Jefferson, and I have those same concerns. It’s a close call for me, but I think connectivity has to trump design issues in this case…”—Commissioner Just 
  • "I think it’s important that everybody understands that the vision of Blueprint Boise is connectivity and making sure that residents are served by the process..."—Commissioner Gibson 
  • "We’re now trying to combat chronic diseases, obesity, diabetes, all of the things that you all are experts in. I believe that this exacerbates that problem."—Commissioner Danley (his review of trends suggested that closing Jefferson may in fact move cyclists back into their cars.) 
  • "...what is the real cost of closing Jefferson? That analysis has not been presented yet...Against that, I set the clear, public loss of an important street. So for that reason alone, I can’t support the plan." —Commissioner Gillespie 
The planning documents below illustrate (in part) the basis of the Planning and Zoning Commission's decision to deny recommendation of St. Luke's master plan for approval by the Boise City Council. Their sentiments, along with the overwhelming public testimony at both the ACHD and P&Z meetings, can be summed up as follows:

"On paper, St. Luke's master plan goes against what Boise says it stands for."

Boise, Idaho Downtown Walkability Analysis

Boise's Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC) worked with walkability expert Jeff Speck to create a walkability study and report for Boise's amazing downtown. Here's a direct quote from the study:
"Downtown Boise benefits from a quite small block size—about 300 feet square—and almost none of these blocks have been consolidated into superblocks, which tend to decrease walkability by focusing traffic on fewer streets, causing them to become too wide. The logic of small blocks suggests that no further block consolidations should be allowed, such as the one currently considered at St. Luke’s, which will significantly undermine the effectiveness of the street grid in that location."
See the whole study here. Update 5.18.18: the document has again been removed from CCDC's web page and a search for it comes up empty. View or download an archived version here courtesy of KBC.

Blueprint Boise / Boise's Comprehensive Plan

What Blueprint Boise says about Superblocks (and how they're defined)
DT-CCN 1.4: URBAN BUILDING FORMS (a) Establish design criteria that require developments built in the CBD to use urban building forms where typically buildings are placed at the sidewalk and create a street wall, street level space is activated with people-oriented uses, and building entrances and openings are oriented to public sidewalks rather than to parking lots. (b) Work with developers to use building massing in Downtown that responds to the traditional pattern of lots within blocks, and creates a collage of buildings in each block rather than full-block megabuildings or “superblocks”.

Goal DT-C 2: Continue to develop a framework of streets, paths and open spaces that builds upon existing networks and strengthen connections to the Boise River and Downtown subdistricts.

DT-C 2.1: BLOCK PATTERN (a) Retain a high level of connectivity in Downtown by maintaining the traditional street grid and block pattern (260 feet by 300 feet). (b) Where superblocks exist, work with property owners and developers when redevelopment is proposed to re-establish the street grid and create blocks that approximate the traditional block size. If it is not feasible to re-establish streets, obtain public pedestrian ways protected by easements in place of the street grid so development areas approximate the traditional block size. (c) Avoid development of megastructures on superblocks that create either real or perceived barriers to connectivity.

DT-C 2.2: COMPLETION OF STREET GRID Where gaps exist in the street grid, work with property owners and developers to establish missing street segments when property is proposed for development or redevelopment consistent with the Downtown Boise Mobility Study.

North/East End Neighborhoods
The following are key elements from the Blueprint Boise / Comprehensive Plan for North/East End Neighborhoods. This document was created through an extensive public collaboration among neighborhoods, stakeholder groups and city staff and leadership. It is meant to guide Boise’s development and land-use to preserve recreation, connectivity, community values and neighborhood character.

NE-CCN 2.8: ARMORY Encourage adaptive re-use of the historic Armory building. Integrate the Armory into a mixed-use development of neighborhood commercial/office/residential uses including workforce housing and public open space. Work with the neighborhood association and other interested organizations to locate resources to preserve the Armory building.

NE-CCN 2.9: FORT BOISE AREA Create an area plan, including the Armory site and other public property on the west and north side of Fort Boise Community Center, from Reserve Street to 4th Street on the north side of Fort Street which will identify opportunities for mixed-use development of neighborhood commercial, office and residential uses, workforce housing and public open space.

Goal NE-C1: Monitor the effects of development in adjacent planning areas on the North/East End.

NE-C 1.1: STREET CLASSIFICATIONS Avoid upgrading local streets and collectors in North/East End to higher classifications to accommodate development in the Foothills.

Goal NE-C2: Ensure future roadway improvements enhance rather than detract from the North/East End’s character.

NE-C 2.1: STREET DESIGN Ensure street improvements and the construction of new roadways occurs in compliance with citywide street policies contained in Chapter 2 of this Comprehensive Plan.

Goal NE-PS1: Maintain existing services for North/East End residents.

NE-PS 1.1: SCHOOL RETENTION Support the maintenance and retention of neighborhood schools in the North/East End. In the event of a school closure, work with the school district to support adaptive reuse of neighborhood schools.

Goal NE-NC1: Continue to preserve and enhance the character and livability of North/East End’s neighborhoods.

NE-NC 1.1: TRAIL CORRIDORS Expand trail connections from the North/East End to adjoining areas and the Foothills trail network.

NE-NC 1.2: NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS Maintain and enhance the North/East End’s neighborhood parks. Expand the range of activities allowed in parks with polices for urban agriculture contained in Chapter 2 of this Comprehensive Plan.

East End Neighborhood Policy Guide (1999)

The East End Neighborhood’s development closely parallels the beginnings of Boise City. In the northwest corner of the neighborhood lies Fort Boise and Military Reserve Park which was established in 1863 to protect miners and Eastern emigrants from attacks by local tribes. In 1890, C.W. Moore and a group of other prominent Boise businessmen joined in a venture to drill for and develop hot water adjacent to the Penitentiary. The group promptly struck 92 degree Fahrenheit water at a depth of eighty feet and by 1891; the group had sunk two wells to a depth of four hundred feet and were drawing water suitable for space heating and other uses. C.W. Moore promptly built the mansion located at the corner of Warm Springs Avenue and Walnut Street and gained the distinction of having the first house in the United States heated with geothermal water. The East End was also home to the Natatorium, which, at its time was the largest indoor swimming pool in the country. The East End is also home to historic public buildings, mansions, some limited commercial uses and office uses.

The goals of the plan are to:
1) Maintain the character of the East End by recognizing its unique amenities and natural features, encouraging appropriate infill development and allowing development in adjacent areas that does not negatively impact the existing neighborhood

2) Protect and enhance the existing single-family residential character of the neighborhood

3) Route traffic around the neighborhood’s interior and concentrate it on designated arterial/collector streets and

4) Maintain and improve the East End’s quality of life and level of public/quasi-public services.


  • East End Historic District

    East End

    EastEndThe East End Historic District is a thirty nine block residential neighborhood of predominantly single family dwellings. With access provided by Jefferson Boulevard and Warm Springs Avenue to the south, the area developed through a series of subdivisions beginning in 1890. 
    The neighborhood was connected to downtown by Jefferson Boulevard, running east to west, ultimately renamed McKinley. The presidential streets including Franklin run northwest to southeast and the tree streets intersecting northeast and southwest. The most rapid growth in the district occurred in the first ten years of the twentieth century, extending to 1940.
    The predominant architectural style in the district is the Craftsman bungalow, represented by 127 homes or 29 percent. There are a mix of other styles present including Queen Anne cottages, American foursquare, and a handful of Mission Revival/Spanish eclectic. There are no large clusters of contributing structures, rather they are scattered throughout the district.

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