As part of the US Department of Transportation’s Strategic Plan 2012-2016 former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood steered the nation towards a course of multimodal transportation that supports livable communities. Not only does multimodal transportation offer safer, more convenient travel it also will help the US move away from our reliance on foreign oil. Sounds like a good plan, right? Well, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
For decades transportation modes have acted independently of one another in the way they’ve been managed and funded. Main Street could have a state highway bisecting it with only a few safe places to cross for the entire stretch through town. A county’s road and bridge department rarely communicated with local public transportation entities and vice versa. Now, with funding getting tighter for everyone and funders requesting collaboration on projects we’re seeing unusual partnerships form with successful outcomes.
Hailey, Idaho is one such success. When the federal government released TIGER II funding Hailey partnered with Idaho Transportation Department, Mountain Rides Transportation Authority, Blaine County Recreation District, College of Southern Idaho and others to garner $3.5M in funds for the Woodside Boulevard Complete Streets Initiative. Prior to the project, Woodside Boulevard, the thoroughfare through the densest part of town, offered little in the way of pedestrian and bicycle amenities, exposing riders and walkers to fast-moving traffic on the narrow street. Drivers were challenged by the lack of traffic signals enabling access to the state highway.
Now sidewalks line both sides of the street, bike lanes allow riders to safely maneuver through the neighborhood, and cars and buses are able to make protected turns onto the state highway. This project and others across Idaho prove that Complete Streets projects are safer, promote economic vitality, are more convenient and offer transportation choices by not singling out one mode as more important than others.
Interested in learning more about how you can form collaborative relationships and pursue a Complete Streets project? Contact your local mobility manager. To learn more about other transportation options in Idaho visit I-way.org. I-way can help you find an accessible and efficient transportation option to get you to your destination.