Pedestrian Safety on American Boulevard

Word on the Street Issue 23, July 2022

By Erin Sheridan

The intersection of Americana Boulevard and Front Street is where the majority of Boise’s homeless service organizations are located and is frequented by people on foot, vehicles exiting the city’s downtown core, and drivers speeding through the area. This stretch of road has been the site of a number of deaths and injuries when pedestrians are struck by passing cars. 

According to data from the Boise Police Department, officers have responded to 10 of these incidents since 2016. The latest accident occurred on the morning of April 18 when a passing driver hit a man well-known to service providers, leaving him with broken limbs. On December 8, 2020, a pedestrian was seriously injured when a driver reportedly under the influence of alcohol struck them in the middle of the road. Another incident on November 3, 2021 left a 72-year-old man hospitalized.

These traffic accidents are not the result of people experiencing homelessness in the area. BPD wrote in an email that the department has directed patrols in the area due to a number of drivers failing to yield to pedestrians, failing to stop at stop signs, texting while driving, and speeding. The department published a video on the issue last year warning drivers to be careful and follow the rules of the road:

To stay safe, pedestrians should also keep their eyes up, phones down, and be alert to vehicles and surroundings, the department said. BPD recommends crossing at crosswalks and being careful not to dart out into the road, especially near parked cars, which can obscure someone from a driver’s field of vision. “Don’t assume drivers see you. Make eye contact and make sure drivers are stopping,” the department wrote.