Boise Police Department
News Release

Michael F. Masterson
Chief of Police


Contact: Lynn Hightower
Communications Director
570-6180

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, October 20, 2006

Downtown Pilot Project

Downtown Pilot Project

Boise, Oct. 16, 2006 – Public safety and business concerns in Boise’s changing, busy downtown

have prompted a city Task Force to propose a six month pilot project that, if approved, could bring the first

of many changes to downtown sidewalks, traffic lanes.

The Pilot Project Proposal:

• Goes into effect Nov. 17th, 2006 (pending approval by the City Council, 3rd reading tentatively set

for Nov. 14th)

• Friday and Saturday nights only

• Between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

• Would last six months, at which time it will be re-evaluated.

Issue #1: Traffic congestion on Main near 6th Street, Main Street being a major

thoroughfare through downtown Boise, 6th Street being a major access route to I-184.

• Congestion is most severe late nights, mainly Friday and Saturdays.

• Congestion due in large part to what has become common for taxis, to cruise slowly in the traffic

lanes looking for customers, cabs slow and block traffic, double park and encourage customers to

walk into traffic to catch a cab.

• Taxis picking up fares in traffic lanes block other vehicles from making a right hand turn onto 6th

Street.

Pilot Project would Designate a Taxi Cab pick up zone on Main between 9th & Capitol (in

front of the US Bank building).

• Taxis would be able to sit and wait for fares (similar to the airport) in a safe, predictable location.

• Taxis would be prohibited from picking up fares on Main between Capitol & 5th during the times

stated above.

• The city will create signage to direct customers to the taxi pick up zone. Bar, restaurant employees

and police officers on patrol will help direct customers to the designated taxi pick up area.

Issue #2: Severe congestion on sidewalks in the 6th & Main area, blocking pedestrian

traffic. Sidewalk is not wide enough for the variety of uses currently crowded into the area, including

lines of customers waiting to get into bars and restaurants, lines of patrons waiting for food vendors, the

vendors themselves, newspaper and magazine vending boxes, trash bins.

• Severe sidewalk congestion is believed responsible, at least in part, for a marked increase in crime

in the area between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. (See attached statistics).

• Safety issues caused by the congestion range from an increase in assault and disorderly conduct, to

jaywalking, to property damage.

Pilot Project: Locate food cart vendors away from the south side of Main between

Capitol & 5th Friday and Saturday nights between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

• Vendors are welcome to locate on the same block as the taxi pick up zone, or on the north side of

Main between Capitol and 5th (City Hall side).

Background: The cities desire is to make all the uses downtown complimentary, not conflicting,

and to maintain and improve the livability of the downtown neighborhood.

Concern has been increasing over the congestion and surrounding public safety issues, particularly

in the 6th & Main area of downtown.

The mayor formed a task force to study to many various concerns in the downtown area and

propose recommendations. The Task Force includes representatives of downtown business and property

owners, as well as interested city agencies like police, the city attorney and the city clerk. The above pilot

project proposal comes from a subcommittee of the larger task force.

Other attempts to resolve the above issues, like temporarily blocking streets and restricting public

parking, have turned out to be ineffective and logistically unworkable.

The task force subcommittee looking into the above issues is proposing the pilot project after

researching what other cities with similar concerns have found to be workable and successful.