The Eagle, Idaho real estate scene is at the forefront of massive, life-changing growth.
Two governmental plans for growth in the foothills lying north of Eagle have been developed ~ one by Ada County; the other by the City of Eagle.
The plans project 12,000 to 20,000 more homes to be built in the area lying north of downtown Eagle, and between Highway 16 and Highway 55.
I have driven through that area and it is presently a bucolic foothills scene consisting of herds of sheep and the occasional horseback rider.
Such growth will alter the character of these lands to an extent that is nearly unimaginable.
Think of it this way ~ those rolling hills will have expensive homes on them and the roads serving those areas will have to include wide, sweeping parkways with landscaped medians, linked to 4-lane roads to get the new populace in and out of those now-undeveloped areas.
Hopefully, planners will be creative with their designs and think far enough ahead to incorporate zoning for office professional centers to house employers who will provide local jobs.
And, also include ample, carefully-considered local retail zoning to reduce car trips to existsing shopping facilities.
A preliminary analysis has already anticipated the following road improvements in the area:
- Widening Linder Road to 5 lanes.
- Widening Highway 55 south of Beacon Light Road to 6 lanes.
- Widening Hiwghway 44 (State Street) east of Ballantyne Road to 4 or 5 lanes.
- Widening Hwy 16 to 4 lanes.
- Widening Beacon Light Road, east of Linder Road, to 4 or 5 lanes.
I live in Brookwood, near the intersection of Eagle Road and Floating Feather, and already have difficulty navigating Eagle Road between Floating Feather Road and downtown Eagle at certain times of the day. I sometimes sit through several light changes just to travel one mile on that outdated two-lane stretch of road.
I wonder what could happen to that stretch of Eagle Road ~ would it get widened? If so, what would happen to the homes on that road, the existing elementary school, downtown Eagle, etc.?
It is interesting to remember that our land here was farm land not too long ago, and it was originally laid out in sections. A section of land is one mile square, containing 640 acres. Thus, our major arterial roads were built on those section lines, meaning that our major roads are usually on one-mile grids.
That makes for a logical, easily-understood North-South and East-West road system, but our local highway agency (Ada County Highway District) hasn’t been able to keep up with our recent spurt of growth and lacks the funding to make badly-needed improvements.
At present, we don’t even have turn lanes to facilitate right turns onto most of our major arterials.
One thing is certain ~ Eagle has been discovered as a terrific place to live.
When I arrived here in 2000, Eagle’s population was around 9,000; today, it is over 20,000.
If another 20,000 homes are built here in the next decade or two, we could quadruple our population to 80,000 people.
A recent study by COMPASS (Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho) projected the following impacts on road traffic:
- Highway 55 north of Floating Feather ~ 11,174 car trips/day now vs. 74,200 projected for 2030.
- Highway 16 at Highway 44 ~ 9,100 car trips/day now vs. 55,900 projected for 2030.
- Eagle Road at the Boise River Bridge ~ 39,155 car trips/day now vs. 50,000 projected for 2030.
By now, you are probably wondering if you just found your first “no growth” Realtor®, aren’t you?
Well, if there’s one thing I have learned from my 35 years of real estate experience, it is that it’s pointless to try and stop people from moving to a desirable area.
They’re gonna come, regardless of the obstacles the no-growthers create.
Eagle is going to grow and it up to all of us who are already here to make sure that we manage our impending growth and PLAN for it!