February 26, 2012

Boise Isn't That Pedestrian Friendly

Boise is generally considered a bike friendly city.  We have lots of bike lanes on our roads, the greenbelt, and tons of bike shops.  we even have the Boise Bicycle Project whose stated mission is:

Boise Bicycle Project (501c3) is a community-oriented effort to promote the personal, social, and environmental benefits of bicycling. It functions as a bicycle recycling center as well as an educational workspace in a diverse and non-threatening atmosphere. Through education and access to inexpensive bicycles we strive to build a stronger bicycling community.

What I have come to notice however, is that Boise isn't very pedestrian friendly.  Most of the residential neighborhoods, at least around my home, have sidewalks, but the roads between neighborhoods, or those along the major thoroughfares....not so much.  There might be a sidewalk on one side of the road for a block, or even just along a single business, then nothing for blocks just to have the next sidewalk on the opposite side of the street.

I remember that I used to walk...a lot.  As a kid I did a ton of charity walkathons and when I lived in Germany I was active in Volksmarching.  There were (maybe still are) a couple of walking trails in Boise (I'm talking about Volksmarching).  I did one once.  We do also have the Greenbelt and a lot of trails in the foothills, but as far as walking around Boise itself?  It is real hit or miss unless you are in a neighborhood, a recreational area, or downtown.

I'm fortunate that I live less than a block away from a bus stop and Boise has decent public transportation, but if I wanted to actually walk anywhere I need to stay inside my neighborhood.  Carolyn and I once took our dog Tessa for an extended walk around the outskirts of our neighborhood and most of the route we had to walk on the gravel side of the road.  I was worried that Tessa would step on broken glass or that we'd have some cars veer too close.

I don't think it is too much to expect to be able to walk around your own city safely.

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