Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Greenbelt bridge in Boise is a winner!

My GPS tracks from riding the loops yesterday. (Click on map to enlarge)

Boise Mayor David Bieter and Garden City Mayor John Evans cut the ribbon

Hi all,

I've been watching the construction of the new Greenbelt bridge near Veterans Memorial Park all winter long, so it was cool to attend the bridge dedication yesterday and finally get a chance to use the bridge!

I shot some video of the mayor's speech and helmet cam video of a new 3-mile Figure 8 loop that one can do thanks to the new bridge (see above).

The new $750,000 bridge -- built with federal stimulus money -- spans the Boise River between Pleasanton Avenue on the Boise side of the river and 36th Street on the Garden City side. It will be a key aspect of the Ray Neef Whitewater Park when that becomes reality in the near future.

I live near Veterans Park (one of Boise's largest parks), so I often go jogging on the Greenbelt between Veterans Memorial Parkway Bridge and the Main Street Bridge near the Double Tree-Riverside Hotel. The loop is 3 miles long from bridge to bridge, but if you start in Veterans Park, it adds about a half-mile to the run. You can lengthen the workout by doing a second loop around Veterans Pond, which is 1.2 miles long.

With the new bridge in place, now walkers, bikers and runners can do a 3-mile Figure 8 loop from the Vets Parkway bridge and Main Street bridges, crossing the river half way to add diversity to the views and the workout.

If you want to add mileage to the workout, you can simply do another lap on one part of the Figure 8 or another. The loop from the new Greenbelt bridge to the Main Street is 1.2 miles long. It's 1.8 miles to go from the Greenbelt Bridge to Vets Parkway bridge and back. Pick your pain or pick your pleasure.

As Boise Mayor David Bieter pointed out yesterday, the new Greenbelt bridge also opens up new commuting possibilities for Garden City and Boise residents. From the Garden City side, it'll be much nicer to take the bridge across the river and ride quiet side streets into downtown or wherever their destination may be vs. taking the Main Street bridge or Vets Park bridge.

The Greenbelt bridge also creates safer routes to schools for Anser Charter School kids and Whittier Elementary School kids. That's big.

For river people, the bridge creates a direct route to Idaho River Sports on Pleasanton for Garden City residents. I saw IRS owners Jo Cassin and Stan Kolby at the dedication yesterday. And it also provides an easier way for Boise residents to reach Maravia and Cascade Outfitters on the Garden City side near 45th Street and the Boise River.

Quinn's Pond, directly adjacent to the bridge, is one of our favorite swimming holes in the summer. The bridge will probably make the pond even MORE popular than before. Oh well.

Anyway, check out the maps and the video, and try out the new loops! Make a note of the location of things, and you'll end up using the bridge for bike commuting around town as well.

If you think back to the construction of our many Greenbelt pedestrian bridges over the last 20+ years, you realize how every single one of them is a treasure. They all add more access and opportunities to our stellar Greenbelt pathway system and become a community asset.

Thanks to the City of Boise and the City of Garden City and President Obama for making this happen!

Have fun!
-- SS