Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, May 28, 2017 ACHD's Road Wizard

Storm drains are working but overwhelmed on flooded Barber Valley Way in East Boise; bicyclist nearly hit on Emerald Street near Cole Road by drivers entering bike lane to sneak a peak at congestion ahead; reader reports fear of flashing yellow left-turn arrows

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: Since the Marianne Williams Park is flooding into Barber Valley Way, has anyone checked to see if the street drain is working properly? Water is backing up. If it's functioning properly, how about pumping water to the other side of the street as well?


Road Wizard:

The park is as close to the Boise River as it gets, and flood water makes standup paddle boarding an option on one lane of lightly-driven Barber Valley Way. The storm drains are working, but they are overwhelmed by high river flows.

ACHD has mobile water pumps, including the largest unit in the region, for removing excess water. But pumping river water from one place to another isn't practical in these conditions. Whatever water is collected by machine will be quickly replaced by more river water. It's better to throw in the towel, which is soaked through anyway, and wait for water levels to drop.

Barber Valley Way is one of nearly 20 locations in Ada County where "Water Over Road" signs are posted. The spots can be found on ACHD's road work map.

Dear Road Wizard: I commute to work by bike daily on Emerald Street from Five Mile Road to Americana Boulevard. I have been nearly hit in the bike lane traveling west by inattentive drivers on my commute home. The traffic backs up from Cole Road to the Interstate 84 overpass, and drivers get impatient and want to see what is going on by moving into the bike lane. I will be contacting Boise Police to ask for increased traffic patrol and visibility. Can ACHD also contact police? I would also suggest re striping the bike lane markings on Emerald.


Road Wizard:

I bet those motorists are pretty jealous when they see a bicyclist whizzing by, unencumbered by the congestion. Backups are longer and patience is shorter right now because drivers are trying to avoid the Cole Road and Fairview Avenue intersection construction.

ACHD will forward the request for additional patrols -- they work alongside police in many situations. ACHD will prioritize improving bike lane visibility on Emerald by painting fresh bike and traffic lane markings in June.

But even with this type of assistance, it will always be difficult for bicyclists to predict when drivers will make that unlawful sneak-peak maneuver. It's best to assume it could happen at any moment. Sadly, that may take some of the fun out of pedaling past the lineup.

Dear Road Wizard: I, as well as many other people, am so scared of that flashing yellow light. The elderly seem to think that if it's yellow and the car is a good distance away, they can go about 5 mph to make the turn. I have seen some near misses. I'm hoping that those horrible lights are being revisited.


Road Wizard:

Most people think the flashing yellow left-turn arrows are the best thing since vehicle detection, and the signals are here to stay. However, they do remain under evaluation. If accidents or other problems associated with the signals occur, they can be turned off during the more troublesome times of day.

The yellow arrows are considered a safer version of the "green ball" signals which have been used for many years at yield-to-oncoming-traffic left turns. Drivers of all ages have always been responsible for turning only when there is time to do so safely.

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