More than 100 Idaho Falls residents rode their bikes along South Boulevard on Monday evening, trying to get the city’s attention. Last year, the city added bike lanes and a center turn lane on the street. Now, neighbors are hoping to get them to see how dangerous it is.
“You can’t just stripe a gutter and call it a bike lane. It’s not safe,” said Sarah Mueller, one of the organizers of what the residents are calling a “bike-in.” “What we’re seeing consistently is that the bike lanes are too narrow to be ridden safely and that the center turn lane is not used effectively. So what we really want to see are wider bike lanes and to go back to one, single center line.”
The city is proposing some more changes to South Boulevard including adding a lane from 18th Street to 21st Street, which would require the road to be widened. Residents are concerned about what that would do to the historic street.
“South Boulevard isn’t like any other street in Idaho Falls,” said Rebecca Longpyper, a bike-in organizer. “And so we’re committed to doing everything we can to preserve that historic integrity. That’s why we’ve gotten involved and said we don’t want them to widen the street, for instance. We just want them to maintain the walkability and have everybody feel safe to come here and just enjoy the ambiance that is our neighborhood.”
Residents of all ages came out Monday night to show support. They’re hoping the city will consider their views at a meeting for the project in two weeks.
“What we’re asking is that they really do their research and take these data points and listen to what everyone on this street and what everyone, so far, in Idaho Falls is asking and just be smart,” Mueller said.
A public meeting will be held Aug. 15 and public comments on the project will be welcome. A public petition against they project is here.