Boise Looks to Streetcars for Urban Renewal

Boise considers resurrecting their streetcar system after an 80 year absence.

"To its passengers, the trolley will be a more pleasant means of getting from St. Luke's Regional Medical Center near First Street to Rite Aid at 15th, which is now a significant walk, an easy bike ride or a lame drive.

But to city planners, streetcar developers in Portland, Ore., and maybe to downtown property owners, steel track means thousands of eyeballs rolling by their buildings throughout the day. Those eyeballs could become incentive to build "mixed-use development." Like some west-side multi-story lofts with a smoke shop and deli at street level and a little sign shop on the alley.

The proposal for a downtown streetcar, announced by Mayor Dave Bieter in his State of the City address earlier this summer and part of various urban plans for nearly a decade, has at least two, if not more, rationales behind it: Are city officials interested in moving people around downtown or encouraging sensible urban development? Or both?"

Thanks to Jon Cecil, AICP

Full Story: The Boise Weekly

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