It's great that someone is heading the charge for better design and development. It's no suprise that most are unhappy with recent development downtown but until someone in a position to be heard did something about it not much was going to change.
In the artice Sarah Schafer, Boise's design review and historic preservation manager, said,
In drafting the guidelines, the city's objectives will include having buildings address the street by creating more pedestrian interaction, having an open second level, and integration of new designs with the historic character of downtown.
Does anyone know exactly what she meant by "open second level"? She could be referring to an open entry with 20+ foot ceilings but I am thinking that she might have meant buildings similar in design to where the Piper Pub is on Eighth and Main and The Balcony which is on the other side. I have long thought that more buildings of this nature would be great and foster an even greater restaurant and bar scene that could offer a view and provide some protection from the street. I thouroughly enjoy the restaurants that are street level on Eighth but having a homeless guy peer over your shoulder, shaking his ratty pompadour as he walks feet from your table is less than appealing when at a nice restaurant. The Emo's along there aren't much better. Looking down on the street life from the comfort of a balcony is a much more desireable location to me. A mix of both would be best, creating very unique three dimensional vibrancy.
Contrary to Boisecynic I believe that the streetcar should come before lowering Front because doing Front first might scare off developers for several years while the work is done and not necessarily offer any marketable advantages. If the streetcar was developed first it would give developers something to work off of and market to while Front Street was under construction another few years after the streetcars completion. In other words, getting the streetcar stimulus item underway first is a better option in my opinion, helping to avoid or lessen the lapse in development that this monumental construction project would probably create. Just a thought...