Monday, January 3, 2011

Garden City Greenbelt Intrigue, part 2011A

(I apologize for those who aren't interested in our local political infighting, and uninterested in the Greenbelt bike path. But it's of interest to me and some local cyclists... so here goes.)

An article on the Idaho Statesman website declares, "Garden City plans to build new Greenbelt bridge."

The bridge is proposed to span the Boise River, between Glenwood Road and Eagle Road. This isn't news; GC has proposed that bridge for a number of years. Of course, they bring it up now as though it will be an acceptable "alternative" to opening up the bike path on the north side of the river, that is closed to cyclists behind the exclusive Riverside Village.

Ironically, they intend to ask the State of Idaho - which gave them the land behind Riverside Village contingent upon their maintaining a public bike path - for $900,000 to build the bridge. (The timing is bad; there's another article today, bemoaning Parks & Rec's ongoing budget woes. If they can't afford toilet paper for the state parks, how can they buy a bridge for Garden City?)

They are also hoping for private donations, to help with the financing.

I sent the following email to Nancy Merrill. Ms. Merrill is on the State Parks & Recreation Board; she is also an icon of Eagle politics, having served as mayor.

Dear Nancy Merrill:

For a number of years, Garden City has occasionally talked about building a pedestrian bridge on the Greenbelt, between Glenwood and Eagle Roads. According to an article on the Idaho Statesman website today, they intend to petition the State Parks and Recreation Department for funds. Because you are affiliated with that state agency, and because you are a long-time Eagle resident, you should be very interested. And that's why I'm writing to you.

I'm a lifelong Boise resident, and for the last 25 years I've been a dedicated transportation cyclist. I've very much enjoyed and appreciated the expansion of the Greenbelt over those years; it is truly a "crown jewel" of our metro area.

But alas, one section of the Greenbelt that should be open to cyclists is not. It's the part right behind Garden City's Riverside Village. Coincidentally, that stretch is on land that was deeded to Garden City by the State of Idaho, conditional upon their maintaining it as a bike path. (The "bike path" wording is part of the agreement.) Garden City has reneged on that agreement, as I'm sure you are aware. Not only is the pathway closed to cyclists, but Garden City has gone so far as to make it a misdemeanor for a cyclist to ride that stretch of path, and have issued citations for riders who had the nerve to ride their bicycles on the bike path.

As a 4th-generation citizen of the State of Idaho, I would favor state financial support for the proposed river crossing bridge... but only if that support is contingent upon Garden City's living up to the agreement they made to the citizens of the State of Idaho 30-odd years ago - by opening up the "Riverside Village" stretch of the Greenbelt to all non-motorized transportation. (Your fellow Eagle citizens would particularly appreciate not having to take a long and potentially-dangerous detour.)

Thanks for your attention.

It would be delicious if Garden City had to agree to finally open that stretch of bike path, in order to get funds to build the bridge that they myopically view as an "alternative" to opening the bike path! I'd call that "Catch-23"!!


- I got a nice response from Ms. Merrill. All she had to say about the Riverside Village Forbidden Path was, "I also enjoy riding on this jewel of the Treasure Valley. I am aware of the struggles through the years regarding Riverside Village pathway." Sounds pretty non-committal.

- Jacki corrected a misconception. It's an infraction if you violate the no-bikes law, not a misdemeanor. Heck, you might not even get tased over it, bro'!


Clancy said...

Great idea and well written letter.

Gary said...

I second that Clancy.

RPM said...

That link to the Idaho Statesman online article give me an error message . . .

RPM said...

That link to the Idaho Statesman online article give me an error message . . .

Bikeboy said...

Sorry about those Statesman links going stale... but this was a year ago.