Meridian Transportation Q&A
Q: Since ACHD is the "road building" agency in Ada County, what is the the City's role in planning for and constructing transportation improvements?
A: Although it is true that the City does not build or maintain roadways, we are very involved in the planning and programming processes. The City of Meridian has made it a top priority to help transportation agencies like ACHD and ITD help us. Among some of the steps we're taking to help find and support solutions to Meridian's transportation needs are the following:
Staff in our Planning and Public Works Departments coordinate the construction of land use, utility and transportation projects. We partner with the transportation agencies to install City sewer and water services concurrently with roadway projects.
- We seek and help secure funds from the Federal Government for vital road projects. For instance, we worked with our Congressional delegation and ITD to receive $19.6 million earmark for construction of the Ten Mile Interchange
- We facilitate public-private partnerships resulting in road improvements years ahead of when they would otherwise be constructed. Examples include McMillan & Meridian, Eagle & Overland, and Eagle & Ustick
- We collect road impact fees from new developments and pass them on to the Ada County Highway District (ACHD). These funds are then used to build additional capacity (e.g. - additional travel lanes) on the transportation network
- We work closely with ACHD and ITD to get Meridian's road projects prioritized, funded and constructed. Each year the City sends a priority list to the transportation agencies outlining our requested projects. Right now some of the key projects we are working toward construction are: the Ustick Road and Locust Grove Road Intersection; Ustick Road, Locust Grove to Leslie Way, and a rebuild of the Meridian Road Interchange.
- We collaborate with COMPASS, our metropolitan planning organization, on studies and projects that best serve our region today and into the future.
- We allow for the future widening on key traffic corridors by requiring specific building setbacks and land dedication by development.
Q: Who maintains streets and sidewalks within Meridian?
A: The Ada County Highway District (ACHD) is responsible for all street and sidewalk maintenance, including removal of snow and vegitation within the public right-of-way. However, abutting property owners are responsible for keeping their shrubs and trees pruned as to not create a safety issue for the public.
Q: How is it decided which roads are widened?
A: ACHD funds and constructs road and intersection projects via a program called the Five Year Work Plan. The Five Year Work Plan (FYWP) is a short to mid term improvement program that sets forth the design, right-of-way acquisition, construction timelines and costs for capital improvement projects. This document is updated and adopted annually by the ACHD Commissioners.
Roads and intersections with congestion and/or safety issues are scored and ranked based on several technical factors and improvements are then prioritized within the FYWP. Each year the City of Meridian sends a list of our top requests for ACHD to include in their Five Year Work Plan. ACHD holds public meetings to discuss planned roadway improvements and the timing of their construction.
Q: Who do I notify when a street light is out?
A: The City of Meridian maintains nearly 4,000 street lights for public safety. To learn which lights are maintained by the City, which are maintained by individual Home Owners Associations (HOAs), and to report an outage click HERE.
Q: Who can I contact about getting sidewalks in my neighborhood?
A: The ACHD has a Community Programs section that works with neighborhoods and agencies on sidewalk projects. For more information on ACHD's Community Programs click HERE.
Q: When is "my"roadway going to get widened (or signalized)?
A: Depending on several factors including: congestion, safety and the availability of funding resources, it may be some time before some of the roadways you drive get widened (or signalized). ACHD and ITD, the two road building agencies in Ada County, budget for projects on an annual basis. As is implied with budgeting, they only plan to construct the projects they can afford with the anticipated revenue sources. The ACHD with its Five Year Work Plan (FYWP) and ITD with its State Transportation Improvment Plan (STIP) also have mid-term (3-5 years typically) plans for designing and constructing projects. In addition, there is a longer-term Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) at ACHD and a long range transportation plan at ITD called Horizons. These documents can be accessed at the ACHD and ITD websites. These documents do include construction years for projects, but are for planning purposes only and are subject to change.
Q: How can I get involved?
A: Citizen involvement is an essential ingredient for strong local government. The City of Meridian promotes citizen involvement by inviting residents to serve on a variety of boards, commissions, committees, and councils designed to assist the City in its information gathering and deliberative processes. The City has various transportation centered groups that meet. If you interested in serving, please contact the Mayor's Office at 489-0529.
Q: When is a public transportation system (bus) going to run in Meridian?
A: Today the only public transportation (bus) service in Meridian are inter-county routes that primarily serve commuters going between Nampa, Meridian and Boise. The Meridian Transportation Safety Commission in coordination with Valley Regional Transit (VRT) and City of Meridian staff are currently working on the beginnings of a fixed-line service route for Meridian residents. This process will take some time (and funding); surveys studies and data is currently being gathered to put together a plan.
Q: How can I get the speed limit in my neighborhood changed?
A: Contact ACHD's Traffic Division at 387-6140 for questions and concerns regarding speed limits.
Q: How can I help reduce traffic congestion?
A: The following activites can be a great help in reducing Meridian's traffic congestion.
Do as many of these as you can, and encourage your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to do the same. Together we can make a difference!
- Drive Less - What's within walking or bicycling distance of your home or office? Could you walk or bike to the store or to school. Could you walk between destinations that you drive to. If you have two errands too far from your home to walk, but close to each other, drive to one then walk to the other.
- Consider Having Car-Free Days - For instance, only take the car to work three days a week rather than five.
- Carpool/Rideshare - If you have a regular commute schedule, carpooling may be a great option for you. The trick is finding people that live near you who have similar commute schedules.
- Walk to your Destination If it's a reasonable distance, you'll save energy and improve your health. Doctors say that regular walking is the best form of exercise, helping to control weight and build a healthy heart. Walking also helps to reduce tension and stress. Get some good walking shoes, dress for the weather, and hoof it!
- Ride Your Bike - If you need to travel a greater distance, take your bike. Again, it's good exercise, it feels great and it's fun. During the dead of winter, bicycling may be difficult, but for the rest of the year a bike is fine.
- Live Near Your Place of Work or School - If it takes more than 30 Minutes to walk to your workplace or school, perhaps you could move closer.
- Choose the Closest Destination - When deciding where to dine, shop, or do business, try to choose the destination closest to your home or office.
- Recreate Close to Home - Plan your outings close to home and get to know all the highlights of your local parks, museums, libraries, art galleries, theaters and other attractions. We have many wonderful sights and destinations here in Meridian.
- Form a Car-Share Club - If there are no Car-Share Clubs in your neighborhood, start an informal one with one or more friends. If you only need a car occasionally, you may be able to do without it altogether by saving up your car trips, then borrowing a freind's car for a day and doing all your car trips together. Alternatively, if you already own a car, offer to share it with someone else as a means of justifying continued ownership.
- Form a "Walking School Bus" - If you have school age children, walk them to school and offer to walk other children. Alternatively, find someone who already walks and ask if they mind walking your kids. if you live too far away to let your kids walk, park your car and walk the last few blocks. This reduces traffic congestion near the school and makes it safer for the other kids walking.
- Demand Better Transportation Planning - Right now, most government transportation managers are focused on building more roads and highways. They are not promoting wiser, healthier, more efficient transportation methods to move people, goods and services. Each of us needs to demand that leaders, including elected officials support alternative, better transportation methods, as well as land use zoning that reduces urban sprawl.