Increasing Community Connectivity in Bonners Ferry’s South Hill Neighborhood
Location: Bonners Ferry, Idaho
Completed Date: Winter 2014
Lead Consultant: Alta Planning + Design and Charlier Associates, Inc.
Client: Boundary Economic Development Council
Bonners Ferry approached New Mobility West (NMW) for assistance in the South Hill neighborhood to improve pedestrian safety and access, relieve congestion, and maintain the small town character of their city. Under a short timeframe for decision-making on an already earmarked Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) project, to rebuild the portion of US Highway 95 that runs through this district, Bonners Ferry intended to get the community involved to help determine the final direction. Bonners Ferry requested assistance to guide a public process to identify solutions that will serve the interests of both ITD and the community.
A two-and-a-half day site visit in October 2014 was held by representatives of the NMW project team in conjunction with the Boundary Economic Development Council and the City of Bonners Ferry. Activities included a walk audit of the site, a community kick-off workshop, a site tour, three working sessions, a working session debrief and a closing open house and team presentation. Through this process, a preferred cross-section for the South Hill portion of US 95 was developed that included sidewalks on both sides of the street and planter strips to increase the comfort and safety of pedestrians.
An action plan laying out next steps was completed at the conclusion of the site visit. The three key elements to come out of the NMW assistance are working with the Idaho Transportation Department
(ITD) on the proposed 3-lane cross section of US 95 in the South Hill area, to continue working on a long- term bypass concept and addressing local connectivity in South Hill. The participants identified short term action items with timeframes to complete within 1 to 3 months, including the acquisition of right-of-way, identifying a preferred cross-section and providing community-supported comments to Idaho Transportation Department on the project charter regarding the proposed US 95 corridor project. Medium (3 to 6 months) and longer-term (6 to 12 months) action items were also identified to realistically implement all of the community’s goals for the South Hill neighborhood.
Some key recommendations from the report include:
- Offering a strategic approach to working with the Idaho Department of Transportation that discusses land widths and bypass options.
- Increase local circulation at strategic cross-points along the Highway.
- Enhance highway crossings to make pedestrians more visible and safe.
- Develop a wayfinding signage networks to enhance navigation.
- Read the full report for all recommendations.