Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Eagle Greenbelt bypass for bikers

(Click on map to magnify)

Hi all,

I'm sure a few of you cyclists and mountain bikers out there have been a bit frustrated with the closure along Riverside Village to bikes, making it difficult, if not seemingly impossible to travel from Eagle Road to Glenwood Bridge on the north side of the river. The goal of extending the Greenbelt from Lucky Peak to Eagle Island Park has been the goal for 25+ years, and the Riverside Village closure impedes reaching that goal.

I've been keeping track of Greenbelt additions and improvements for a long time -- over 20 years -- so I was pretty psyched to learn last year that Eagle had built a significant amount of pathway to join the paths between Eagle's jurisdiction and Garden City. The bike closure in Riverside Village is a problem, and it should be fixed in the long-term one way or another.

But in the meantime, we need to know how to get through without riding on State Street.
I went out there on Sunday and found a way through.

It's best to start from Eagle Road, behind Bardenay or the Hilton Inn. The path does extend to the west from that point for 1.7 miles, and a new underpass is under construction underneath Eagle Road. That's a cool thing. But right now, the west trail is a trail to no where unless you live out in that direction.

So, starting from behind Bardenay, you ride east toward Boise on the north side of the river. The trail starts out as a paved trail and gives way to dirt in less than a mile. No matter, it's easily rideable on a mountain bike or cross bike. Continue east for three miles. Inside a new subdivision, the trail turns into a paved surface again, and then you come to a Y-junction.

Go straight and you'll pop out onto Sultana Drive. (If you go right, you'll end up at the bike dismount zone in Riverside Village.) Follow Sultana a block, turn left on Ulmer, and follow that to a paved pathway behind Stoneham. You'll follow the path for a short bit, it ends, and then you dump out on Stoneham. Go east on Stoneham to Arney Lane. Turn right, and now you're on a main paved road (with a good shoulder) that connects to Riverside Drive. Turn left at Riverside, and follow that to the fishing pond next to Glenwood.

Here, you can either follow the dirt path around the pond to Glenwood Blvd., ride up to Glenwood (don't take the underpass; this is another trail to no where), turn right, cross the river bridge, and then turn left to pick up the main Greenbelt near Les Boise Park. Now you're home-free on the multiuse pathway all the way to Lucky Peak.

I applaud the bicyclists that banded together to protest Garden City's new ordinance that bans bikes in Riverside Village. This should be changed someday, but we'll have to wait for a new group of elected officials who would support making the change. The other alternative is to have Riverside Village and Garden City apply for a federal grant to build a pedestrian bridge across the Boise River at the beginning of Riverside Village property (approaching from the west), and connect to the paved trail on the south side of the river.

But in the meantime, there is a way for cyclists to get through without going on State Street. That's a start. - SS