Boise saw an explosion of people getting outside during the pandemic, using the greenbelt and sidewalks along busy streets to walk and bike. This new excitement for getting healthy and enjoying the outdoors was great for families and residents who took the shut down as a chance to enjoy what Boise is all about. Many newer residents of the area really hadn't experienced the outdoors of the city until then.
Since the slow but continuous return to regular work hours, many have decided to make their newly found healthy lifestyle permanent. They made plans to walk or bike to work during the week or take walks with the family in the evenings.
Seattle had noticed a similar lifestyle change in their residents. There quickly became a movement for what they call "Stay Healthy Streets." Stay Healthy Streets are closed to through traffic and open to pedestrians and bicyclists. They have started with 20 miles of residential streets, but there is a proposal for 130 miles of Stay Healthy Streets in the future. The goal of these streets is to cut down on vehicle traffic to make room for bikes and pedestrians and cut down on the pollution that the vehicles bring to these neighborhoods.
For the city of Boise, there are several neighborhoods downtown that could easily be turned into "Stay Healthy Streets." Those particular neighborhoods would be simplest to convert with little impact to current traffic flow. There are even commercial areas downtown, like 8th Street, that could be permanently shut down to traffic. Stay Healthy Streets may be a way for us to positively impact the health of the entire community. Even those who don't live on these streets will benefit from less pollution and traffic in these areas.