Greenbelt and greenbacks: The sorry saga in Garden City

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a friend who was aghast at the potential price to make a contested stretch of Garden City Greenbelt bicycle-friendly. “Seems like taking down the ‘no bikes’ signs costs a shade under $1.1 million.”

I’d kind of assume the contractor would throw in the sign removal as part of the deal. But when it comes to the Garden City Greenbelt, there a risk in assuming much of anything.

Voters in Garden City will finally get a say on Nov. 6 about the fate of a 1 1/2-mile unpaved “nature path” on the north side of the Boise River in the Riverside Village subdivision. The unpaved path is off-limits to bicycles — unless voters decide to allow cycling.

City officials decided to put this long-simmering issue on the ballot, and then asked The Land Group, an Eagle-based engineering firm, to run the numbers. Paving and widening the path would cost an estimated $1.143 million.

Critics, who have been battling the Garden City bike ban in court, were quick to question the cost estimate — and the need for paving, when nearby sections of Greenbelt are unpaved.

I’m no engineer — just a law-abiding guy who has never biked the wheels-free section but has run it numerous times. It’s narrow. Thanks to numerous tree roots, it’s also bumpy. To my untrained eye, paving looks like a big job.

But Garden City doesn’t exactly have a lot of credibility on this issue. It’s easy for the critics to suggest that the city is using this study — and this eye-popping cost figure — to stir up community opposition to the plan.

That’s what happens when a city spends more than three decades skirting a 1980 agreement to install a north side bike path on state land.

This sorry record does not call the third-party data into question, but it does call the city's motives into question, weeks before an election designed to “settle” this issue. It’s a credibility problem of Garden City’s doing.

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100% agree with you!

Smells fishy!

Me too

The City is using the language of the initiative (safe for all nonmotorized traffic) to justify an ADA compliant full-blown bike commuter route. I did not realize that they wrote the language themselves. They are now sending others to HOA meetings telling people that to comply with the initiative would raise property taxes. I have walked the path too, and most of it is no worse than the unpaved sections that go from the west end to Eagle. And they work just fine. It's the same tactic that government often uses.. pick the most painful alternative to punish the voters if they don't go along. I think there is plenty of arrogance on both sides of the issue.. but I will vote yes. I don't understand why the huge fight all these years.

punish em

Agree. Like the Meridian schools saying, no busing for half of the kindergarten trip. Make the voters suffer instead of cutting true waste.


Riverside HOA should be paying for a significant portion of the cost.
THEY promoted the deterioration of the path.

That used to be paved along their backyards.

There is NO REQUIREMENT to pave it.

Simply let bikers use it in the current condition- cycling. Anyone biking that area knows a mtn bike or similar bike is needed. It's not a road bike path and that's okay.

As for width, again, it doesn't have to be wider. Not a whole lot of people are going to be biking it. In fact about the same number of people now walking their bike (bike and person is wider than just a biker) will be using it-- they will just be riding instead of dismounting.

THEN it can be hashed out who is paying for improvements. Once a South side route and bridge are in place, the hoopla may die down to nothing anyway and only an occasional biker will be on the North Riverside path.

Mountain bikes needed

And you don't think the next group to demand the path be improved will be those who cannot use their road bike on the path? Why is it ok to exclude road bikes? I think if you open it to bikes, you have to open it to all bikes. I would like to think it is as simple as taking down the sign, but I have my doubts.


yes, that would be nice. Take down the signs.

No exclusion.
If a roadbiker wants to go there fine.
Just like now, if you want to ride a road on the rest of the greenbelt you can. But there are certainly LOTS of areas that are so bumpy and not well suited for roadbikes (using some speed) that it's not practical.

poor riders and whiners

I sometimes ride my road bike on the Boise front trails. Not the easiest place to ride but still enjoyable and no one I have heard has asked for these to be paved. The gravel Greenbelt is magnitudes easier than foothills singletrack. As was envisioned by the State and civic leaders when I was just a wee boy, the Greenbt, bumps and all, needs to be open to all nonmotorized users. This is also what the Riverside Village developer (Mayor Evan's family's const co) agreed to back in 1980 when the State gave them land for bulding. Garden City was suppose to uphold this agreement when the Greenbelt land was subsequently transferred to them. Instead, the developer, now GC Mayor, gets to share this area as a private nature walk for he and his priveleged neighbos (chronies). It's not fair and just and I hope the GC voters will tell them so.

Bike it

KR, please go ride your bike on that route, or the intended bypass route. See what the issue is about. You and Zimo can go for an afternoon tour- with Zimo's camera too.

Good luck to ya if ya try. Remember to take your cell phone with a map app.

The Mayor's scare tactics

Garden City wants you to believe it is too narrow. It needs to be maintained ( scraping off bumps, clearing brush) - a responsibility of the city. It is not narrow - it is a 15 foot wide corridor of public land. This link shows what this path looked like in 2008 before GC stopped maintaining it.

Yes there are sections that need repair - at a very low cost.

Let's assume the City had to construct a new gravel path - which they don't. But for sake of comparison it costs $64,000 to lay down one mile of gravel pathway along the new 3.2 mile section south of the river and west of Garden City. All the City has to do is get a brush cutter and machine to scrape off the bumps and roots. And by the way, take a look at parts of the Boise River Greenbelt in GC that are paved - lots of roots now coming up in the Lakeland Village area that are more dangerous that what is on the gravel section.

Finally - the Garden City Council didn't put the Initiatives on the ballot. Garden City citizens gave the Council petitions that required them to put it on the ballot or otherwise adopt the new ordinances. It is all about the GC Council and Mayor running scared; afraid they will lose there ability to make decisions about the public's greenbelt.

It's a scam! Vote to open the path!

ACHD is going to pave 1.8 miles on the south side for $46,000! Perhaps the Statesman needs to run a story comparing both sides of the path and see how absurd the study by The Land Group really is!

The path was shared use for 31 years with no issues, now all of a sudden a small minority is allowed to bully their way into closing the path... ridiculous!

Avoid Garden City

I have no problem avoiding Garden city on the path which Boise paves. This is a bunch of crap started by the mayor to hang on to land he developed in the 80's


Why don't the walkers of Ada County have equal rights? Where does it say that all available river front property must be open to biking? Walkers want a place to walk without being threatened by bicycles. The Engineering Report, performed by Professional Engineers, complies with AASTO recommendations and ADA are part of those. All other bike paths in Boise and Garden City either ARE or WILL be covered with asphalt. It's the safe alternative. The trail through Eagle will be asphalted too. It is only a matter of time and money to complete what they have started. VOTE NO on Garden City initiatives A and B.

You are not very good at

You are not very good at this 'share' concept are you? I have tried to ride my bike towing my children around that neighborhood to get to different areas and there aren't a lot of people walking out there as it is.

Garden City Nature Path

Yeah the path that only goes through one nice part of Garden City.

It's really Riverside Village Nature Path.

The proponents call it a "nature preserve". What a bunch of krap.
They go on with more:

"the path is not safe for bicycles"
"It is not feasible to open the path for multi-use access by simply removing the signs"


Robiker- All bike paths covered with asphalt? You are aware of the foothills bike trails right? See if you can come up with a real reason or even a legal reason to support the dirt path.

VOTE YES- and then ride a bike from Boise to Eagle. Or from Eagle to Boise.

Right On

thank you.
This whole thing is ridiculous. Come on people, vote out the knuckleheads and vote for opening the path.


The fear of tax increases is soooo overused. Don't be so quick to buy into it. Are you really taxed that heavily? NO

Oh come on

Don't let the fear of a threatened tax increase drive you to vote no on everything. Wake up.