A new chapter in Bieter-ACHD feud? Naw, just a glitchy sign (w/video)

A sign intended to announce a bike lane demonstration project in Downtown Boise doesn’t effectively convey what’s going on and will be repaired or replaced, says the Ada County Highway District.

The words “bike lane,” “project” and “demo” were illegible to motorists as the project began on Capitol Boulevard Monday. The electronic sign for Downtown-bound traffic showed three screens over seven seconds. They read:

Bi ko Lono
Pro ioct

Capi til
Mai n St
Idaho St

April 28
May 31

“It’s missing some letters or some lights are not working properly,” said Eddie Kyle, a sign installer for ACHD, who said the sign is of an older design with fewer lights. (The video exaggerates the flickering.)

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who has clashed with ACHD for years, wrote ACHD Board President John Franden last week saying the April 28-May 31 project is too short, too expansive and that the public hasn’t been adequately informed.

“We strongly urge that it not go forward,” Bieter wrote April 21.

ACHD spokesman Craig Quintana said Monday said the sign will be repaired or replaced. For conspiracy theorists who might infer the glitch was the latest iteration of the Bieter-ACHD feud, both Quintana and Bieter spokesman Adam Park dismissed that notion.

“We’re going to spend an estimated $50,000 and a whole lot of staff time on this demonstration, so it’s silly for anyone to suggest that we’d try to tank the pilot,” Quintana said. “We want this thing to succeed or fail on its own so the Commission can make an informed decision.”

Park said Bieter supports the new bike lanes “but has concerns about the way they are being presented to the public via this brief and somewhat rushed pilot program.”

“But now that the pilot is proceeding, we encourage everyone to try out the new bike lanes and submit their comments to ACHD,” Park said. “As for the sign, we don’t think the malfunction was intentional.”

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Idaho Politics, Our Towns