Mid-Year News and Updates

Published by Sarah on

Streetcar tracks discovered during recent road maintenance in downtown Boise.

Here we are, halfway through 2019, stuck in the middle of Idaho’s road-construction season. The other day in Boise road crews dug up half of Idaho Street as part of a resurfacing project and discovered streetcar tracks from the distant past. Everyone complains about road maintenance, but many of us found it an especially cruel irony to be reminded that a century-and-a-quarter ago southwest Idaho had a perfectly functional public transportation mode choice that we haven’t seen in generations.  

Thanks to the advocacy of Idaho Smart Growth, and many partners, we actually have better bicycle and pedestrian opportunities than ever before. We have modern bus systems that continue to innovate and improve despite bottom-rung funding mechanisms. Ubers, Lyfts and e-scooters are exploding on the scene and are likely to disrupt public transit in exciting ways. We will continue to push for all Idahoans to have safe and effective choices for freedom of mobility.

Fortunately, our transportation-choices work enjoys fairly stable institutional support, but much of our other work is completely dependent on what we can scratch together from members and sponsors. Here are updates on a few programs that we simply can’t do without those donations. If you’re an ISG supporter, thank you very much! If you haven’t donated yet, or not in a while, please consider helping us. Our secure online donation page is here.

– Grow Smart Awards –

Congratulations to all the 2018 Grow Smart Awards recipients!

This is our 15th year of the Grow Smart Awards celebrating smart growth around the state. We’re coming off a wonderful event in June in Moscow where we celebrated past local GSA recipients, in collaboration with Preservation Idaho’s awards event. It gives us great momentum going into the main event this fall, on November 13 at the Linen Building in Boise.

Stay tuned for announcements about this year’s recipients and information about the next GSA walking tour. While the GSA costs have been underwritten in the past by event sponsors, we are now committed to making it free to attend, and we will need generous program sponsors to sustain that.

– Citizens Planning Academy –

Don Kostelec presenting at a Citizens Planning Academy session. View the video here.

The Citizens Planning Academy is a series of sessions designed to help people become more effective advocates for planning-related issues in front of local governments. This is a relatively new ISG program, with an important mission—and no dedicated funding.

Each monthly session features different expert presenters, and are free to attend, either in person at the University of Idaho in Boise or by streaming online. The program has a growing audience and desperately needs funding to make it stronger and more accessible.

Wildfire planning

Tyre Holfeltz presenting at the Bannock County Wildfire Workshop.

We’re in the middle of a year-long contract with the University of Idaho to help communities learn about wildfire planning. This is a new program area for ISG; we’ve been in partnership with UI, Boise State University, the Idaho Department of Lands and many others.

We’ve learned a lot so far, including the fact that communities all over Idaho are scrambling to find resources and strategies to help them be resilient to the growing threat of wildfire. When this grant contract ends, we will need funding to strengthen and continue the program.

Any support you can provide will help us help Idaho communities become stronger and healthier. Contact us, or go to our Donate page, to learn more.