8th Street

The intersection of Eighth and Bannock streets in downtown Boise.

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BOISE — A popular downtown Boise street will soon be closed to most vehicle traffic to allow for more socially distanced restaurant seating.

Boise City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution to close a section of Eighth Street most of the day to allow restaurants to expand patio seating to the curb. Pedestrians and cyclists will use the street to move around, instead of the sidewalk.

Mayor Lauren McLean and city council members were highly supportive of the move; the vote was unanimous.

“This is one step we can take by allowing more room by utilizing some of the public right away in some of these places to allow businesses to have more customers and still follow the guidance on social distancing,” City Council President Elaine Clegg said. “It’s really hard to reopen when you can only serve half or a third of the customers you normally do.”

This is a pilot program to support local businesses as they seek to reopen safely, and the timeline for the street closure depends on approval from the Boise Fire Department and Idaho State Police’s Alcohol Beverage Control department.

Eighth Street would be closed to vehicle traffic for two blocks, from Main Street to Bannock Street. The street would be open during delivery hours — 6 to 10 a.m. — and in the evening after restaurants had closed. A 20-foot lane would remain to provide access to the fire department, bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

City spokeswoman Karen Boe said the city is working with businesses on Broad and Eighth streets and is encouraging requests from other business areas of Boise.

Boise only has regulatory control over this small section of Eighth Street in downtown Boise. The rest are managed by the Ada County Highway District.

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