D-3 increases outreach to small towns
To provide support for smaller towns in southwest Idaho that need planning and traffic assistance, ITD has increased its outreach efforts.
Those services not only will ease the workload on staffs in the small communities, they will save money by eliminating the need for consultants. At the same time, ITD will work with community leaders to streamline and coordinate transportation planning.
“We have contacted the local jurisdictions to offer ITD assistance on planning, funding and operational issues,” said Dave Szplett, development services manager for District 3.
“Most of the smaller cities have limited planning staff and often rely on consultant services,” he added. “None of the small towns have traffic-related staff. We are trying to help out and protect our roadway corridors in the process.”
The next step is implementing a bicycle plan and updating local facilities to become compliant with ADA requirements. McCall has a city planner but no traffic staff. Wasdahl is helping plan a program and provide funding for the ADA compliance upgrades.
Wasdahl is working with the city as part of its Safe Routes to School grant. Using grant funds, the city will construct a sidewalk along Carrie Rex Avenue from 4th Street to 6th Street - the primary route for students traveling to and from Melba Elementary and the middle school/high school campus.
Szplett is discussed the possibility of a future alternate route for U.S. 95 similar to the Council and Middleton bypasses. Half the vehicles downtown are through traffic, and 10 percent of all traffic is in the form of heavy trucks. City leaders elected not to proceed a project at this point.
ITD also is helping New Meadows with an access-management plan to prepare for a planned U.S. 95 highway overlay that involves a full rebuild. Szplett explained said city has “no access control, limited staff experience and an increasing need to maintain capacity and safety.”
Wasdahl is working with the city, as part of its Safe Routes to School grant, to fund a sidewalk on Avenue A from 2nd Street to 2nd Street East. Students use the route when traveling to and from Wilder Elementary School and the middle school/high school campus.
Garden City and ACHD are developing a "livable streets" program. ITD joined the team “to protect our highways and provide technical support,” Szplett explained.
Photo: Citizens in Mountain Home review a planning map for a future construction project