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Boundary County's proposal for child pedestrian safety around Naples School not selected for state funding
March 12, 2018

Boundary County’s proposed project to improve the safety of children around the area of Naples Elementary School fell just short in a statewide competition for funding.  The statewide results were announced March 9 by the Idaho Transportation Department.


First, we need these three paragraphs of background information:

On the final day of its session last year, the Idaho Legislature made changes to what is called the Strategic Initiatives Program.  This program allows that some of Idaho’s end-of-year surplus funds can be provided to pay for transportation projects that meet certain criteria.


The new legislation arranged things so that 40% of this funding would be made available to local government units (the remaining 60% going to state projects).  Local government entities could now submit proposals for projects in their local areas that “shall compete for strategic initiative program selection and funding on a statewide basis,” according to the language of the bill. 


Previously the Strategic Initiatives Program specified that local government project proposals must fall into the categories of traffic safety, improvements in traffic flow, projects that would improve economic opportunity, the repair and maintenance of bridges, and the purchase of public-rights-of way.  The new law kept those same categories, but added a new category for which projects could be submitted for state funding.  That new category:  Pedestrian safety for children.


Boundary County decides to submit a project proposal for child pedestrian safety

In an effort to secure some of these newly-authorized state funds for a local child pedestrian safety project, Boundary County Road and Bridge Department Superintendent Clint Kimball put together plans for a project conceived to improve safety around Naples Elementary School.  His plan included crosswalks, flashers, lighted signs, a bus loading zone, and illumination between the school and the South Boundary fire station.  All the required forms and packets were filled out.   Boundary County’s proposal, “Naples Elementary School Pedestrian Safety Improvements,” was requesting $250,000.


In December, Mr. Kimball presented the project and the applications to the County Commissioners, who authorized Chairman Dan Dinning to sign the application and submit it in hopes of winning state funding.


Seventy other Idaho cities, counties, and local government entities also submitted proposals for children pedestrian safety projects.  A total of over $12 million in funding was requested by these 71 proposals.


All 71 submitted projects were then evaluated for state funding.  The submitted projects were to be scored based on six criteria:


○ the degree of impact on child pedestrian safety
○ the type and quality of data submitted to substantiate the project’s claims to improve child pedestrian safety
○ how effective the project is at connecting pedestrian systems, destinations, or otherwise enhancing ○ ○ pedestrian mobility
○ availability of right-of-ways or easements
○ amount of community support in the form of letters or statements
○ commitments of partners involved in the project


And the winners are . . .

On March 9, the Idaho Department of Transportation announced that of the 71 proposals submitted from around the state, 12 projects benefiting child pedestrian safety had been selected.


Boundary County’s proposed Naples Elementary School safety improvements project was not selected.  The twelve selected projects that will be receiving state funding are:


Location        Amount

Ashton            $250,000

Title: Main Street sidewalk improvements

Description: This project will provide new sidewalk and lighting improvements along Main St. (ID-47) to connect with the existing pedestrian system at the high school.


Blackfoot         $171,000

Title: Ridge Crest Elementary Safety Improvements Project

Description: This project will provide a 575-foot section of sidewalk along Airport Road to extend the sidewalk from Ridgecrest Elementary to the park. Additional safety improvements include a pedestrian crossing at East Airport Road.


Burley             $191,000

Title: Highland Avenue and East 19th Street Sidewalk Connection

Description: This project will provide nearly a half-mile of new sidewalk and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant ramps that connect two schools along Highland Avenue. The schools are White Pine Intermediate and Dworshack Elementary.


Caldwell          $109,446

Title: Sacajawea Elementary School Project

Description: This project will provide new sidewalk, updated ADA curb ramps, bike lanes, and streetlights, and a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon along Illinois Avenue to provide a safe route to school for children travelling to Sacajawea Elementary.


Carey               $154,640

Title: Crosswalk Signage and Pedestrian Improvement Project

Description: This project will provide new curb, gutter, and sidewalk along ID-26 and a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon to provide a safe crossing for pedestrians walking across the state highway.


Driggs               $125,000

Title: South 5th Street Pathway

Description: This project will provide approximately 1,600 feet of 10-foot-wide multiuse path and ADA ramps along South 5th Street, connecting four schools to residential areas. This project extends an existing safe route to school.


Firth                  $250,000

Title: Children Pedestrian Improvements

Description: This project will provide new curb, gutter, and sidewalk along Center Street from Main St. (ID-91) to the elementary school. Additional safety improvements include a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon signal on Main St.


Idaho Falls         $240,000

Title: Iona Street, Riverside Drive and Bush Elementary Connections

Description: This project will provide new sidewalk along Iona Street and a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon for safe crossings at Riverside Drive (a busy street near an interchange). A second location includes sidewalk connections to Bush Elementary.


Marsing              $35,326

Title: ID-55 Sidewalk Project

Description: This project will provide new sidewalk along ID-55, connecting the public library and downtown with the elementary, middle, and high schools.


Moscow             $250,000

Title: Third Street Corridor Improvements

Description: This project will provide about 970 feet of new sidewalk along 3rd Street, connecting two elementary schools and the high school along a safe route to school. Additional safety improvements include adding center medians, curb extensions, vertical tube delineator (high-visibility markings), and school-zone lighting.


Shelley                $135,000

Title: Locust and US-91 Improvements

Description: This project will install a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon at the intersection of ID-91 and Locust Street to provide a safe pedestrian crossing for students going to the school or library.


Teton                  $28,000

Title: Child Pedestrian Safety Project

Description: This project will install Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons at two intersections along ID-33 south of Teton Elementary to provide safe crossing for students going to and from school.



When questioned about Boundary County’s submitted proposal, Idaho Transportation Department representative Reed Hollinshead said “They [Boundary County] scored just below the twelve projects that were selected. It was a very competitive process. We could only fund a dozen of the 71 applications.”


Along with Boundary County, other local government entities in our area saw their proposed projects fall short in the competitive process for funding.  St. Maries submitted a proposal to improve sidewalks.  Priest River proposed improving safety on routes children take to school.  Sandpoint’s proposal was designed to improve child pedestrian safety, and Bonner County submitted a proposal regarding bike paths in the Sagle area.


Local government entities can again submit proposals by the end of this year under the same program, to compete for state funding to be awarded early next year.  Should Boundary County, or some other local government entity decide to put together a proposal to compete for state funding under this program, our wish for them is—good luck.

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