Business prefer 11th Street for Boise transit center
Idaho Statesman, February 19, 2009
BY: Cynthia Sewell
An in-street transit center in Downtown Boise might be better than on off-street one, but it should be on the right street -
and 10th Street may be the wrong one, Downtown business owners told city and transit officials Wednesday.
Putting a transit center along 11th Street between Idaho and Bannock streets instead of 10th makes more sense,
opponents said, because 11th Street has no existing buildings or businesses except for drive-up banking facilities, while
10th Street is home to more than a dozen businesses. They also said 10th is constrained by tall historic buildings close to
the street, and the center's possible canopy over the sidewalks and street could create a tunnel and trap car exhaust, bus
fumes and cigarette smoke, causing poor air quality.
More than 60 people attended a meeting at the Owyhee Plaza held by Valley Regional Transit and Boise's urban renewal
agency to learn more about their proposal to build the bus, street-car and transit center.
The agencies want to build it along 10th instead of a half-block away on a parking lot on 11th Street selected by city and
transit leaders last year.
Phil Kushlan, director of the Capital City Development Corp., the urban renewal agency, said the 10th Street transit center
would need about 4,500 square feet of existing retail space between Idaho and Bannock to use for public restrooms, a
bus operator break facility, and other amenities.
Of the four property owners on the 10th street, one has already decided not to offer building space for the public facilities.
Witticataber Corp. representative Steve Rumpp said his company has no interest in locating transit center amenities in its
building because of logistical and safety concerns. The building houses a coffee shop, tailor, hair salon, cigar store and
He said 11th Street is a better choice because development can be built around the center and complement it, while on
10th Street the center would be wedged between buildings that already are close to the street.
"Businesses can come in on a voluntary basis, not be forced into it," Rumpp said.
Under the 10th Street plan, buses would use the two outside lanes and vehicles the two inside lanes.
Each side would have 18-foot-wide sidewalks - 6 feet for bus passengers and 12 feet for pedestrian and retail uses.
The site also needs platforms for a streetcar slated to travel along Idaho and Main streets between First and 15th streets.
Well-designed amenities would blend in with Downtown and complement it, Valley Regional Transit director Kelli Fairless
told business owners.
"We want to be a part of Downtown," Fairless said.