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Eagle Road workshop could produce model corridor

Eagle Road stakeholders – including homeowners, business leaders and elected officials – met with nationally recognized transportation planners and local transportation officials in a three-day workshop last week to create a vision for the future of the highway corridor.

Eagle Road (Idaho 55) has become Idaho’s busiest non-interstate highway, carrying as many as 51,000 vehicles every day from Interstate 84 to the cities of Boise, Meridian, Eagle, and on to McCall.

The arterial’s open spaces have given way to well-manicured subdivisions in park-like settings and extensive retail/commercial developments, including large shopping and dining outlets at Eagle Road and Fairview and a river-view Hilton hotel near Eagle.

Commuters and residents share a concern for safe access to and from Eagle Road. Workshop participants used arterial study data, high-tech traffic management models and input from previous public meetings in their review process.

ITD Director Dave Ekern told the group that the Eagle Road workshop process could become a model for use in communities with high-priority corridors and growing traffic concerns.

Ekern said a shared effort among local agencies could create a “technology parkway” providing safer and more efficient traffic flow as well as an aesthetically pleasing roadway. He explained that traffic planners use the term “context sensitive design” to describe the effort that integrates the system with its environment.

“A context sensitive design is one that is in harmony with the community and the environment,” says Ekern. That means the fit, feel, function and look of the completed project has a positive impact on the people and community it was built to serve.

The workshop was part of a collaborative effort that included the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS), the Ada County Highway District (ACHD), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Idaho Transportation Department to create a vision and action plan for improving Eagle Road.

Continued input on the plan will be a cornerstone of future public meetings. Stakeholders will be notified of times and places through direct mailings and newspaper advertising.