Two ways of thinking on proposed Eighth Street conversion

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Two blocks of Eighth Street could soon be open to traffic in both directions. The Capital City Development Corporation will likely decide Monday afternoon whether to move ahead with a proposal.

The busy stretch of Eighth Street is at the heart of downtown Boise. It's a popular spot for walking around and riding your bike.

"The one-lane grid works pretty well," said Stacey Hammar of Boise, "and I think the minute you start making it two lanes, you're going to add to the backups and the congestion."

In the proposed conversion, CCDC says the dedicated bike lane would be replaced with one lane in each direction that drivers and bikers would share. The changes would take place between Main and Bannock streets.

"We actually get a lot of just walk-bys for business," said Samantha Kirkendall, a clerk at Title Nine, a women's clothing store, "so most of it is we're more concerned about parking, people being able to get out of their cars to come and say 'hi' to us."

Parking spots would still be available on one side of Eighth Street.

"I don't think changing things to two way, I really don't think it's going to help anything that much, and it may cause some problems of its own," said Mike Steiner of Boise.

CCDC says a two-way street means people can drive in both directions and emergency crews can do the same. Other downtown streets are making the switch, but the corporation notes Eighth Street may get busier.

The recommended action for Monday's meeting is to green-light the proposal. The plan is for at least one block to be converted by the end of June.