Roundabout could be fix for five-way intersection that snares traffic

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - A roundabout is the proposed fix for a five-way intersection in the North End. The Ada County Highway District is planning an open house this week concerning the junction at 36th Street, Hill Road and Catalpa Drive.

"When you come to the stop light, you sit there a very long time and quite often, there isn't very much traffic," said Janell Pfoertner of Boise.

Drivers can go five different directions.

"When I'm driving down, 6:30 in the morning, I'll oftentimes get stopped with nobody at the intersection," said Garrett Dmochowsky of Boise, "and it's a five-way, so I'll sit here and wait multiple minutes with nobody on the road."

The city of Boise and ACHD agreed on a roundabout in 2005. The current proposal calls for a "dog bone" design with one lane that could be expanded to two in the future.

"I'm definitely a big proponent of a better solution than a five-way stop," said Ryan Hanson of Boise, "and I think it'd be safer all around."

Others aren't convinced a roundabout is the best option. Pfoertner said the plans could be good for drivers but bad for bicyclists and pedestrians.

"I would think that people that weren't in vehicles could easily get hit," she said.

ACHD says walkers would only have to cross one direction of traffic at a time, making it safer. The highway district says drivers won't notice much improvement with congestion at first until the roundabout is expanded, which it says would become necessary within the next decade.

Construction is slated for 2016, but before that happens, ACHD is asking for your comments. An open house is set for Thursday at 5:30 p.m.