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Growing Pains: Meridian Mayor On First Year Leading The Fastest Growing City In Idaho

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Darin Oswald
/
Idaho Statesman

 

As part of our "Growing Pains" series on Idaho Matters, today we’re looking west to Idaho’s fastest growing city: Meridian. What used to be a quiet bedroom community with homes spread out between family farms has become the second largest city in the state. Meridian has outpaced estimates and tripled in size in the last 20 years. 

Mayor Robert Simison was elected in 2019, after working as the previous mayor's chief of staff. Idaho Matters checks in with Simison about everything from funding buses with Valley Regional Transit, working with Ada County Highway District on road and sidewalk improvements, his vision for making the suburb a place where folks both live and work, challenges with COVID-19 and his vision for infill as the community continues to grow.  

 

"We do need to be smart about where we encourage density, and try to find ways to encourage infill so that we can connect areas."

When it comes to public transportation, the mayor acknowledges public buses help connect folks to business centers. But “they're likely not the long term vision, though, to get out into the more residential parts of our community,” Simison says. His vision instead?

 

“To be honest with you, I'm really hopeful that autonomous vehicles can help provide some of that long term connectivity solutions."

This interview is part of our new series called "Growing Pains." Over the next week or so, we'll explore stories and issues surrounding the Treasure Valley's rapid growth and increasing unafforability. Subscribe to our podcast to hear every interview, and download the Boise State Public Radio app to send us a voice message using our Talk To Us feature.

Support for "Growing Pains" comes from Broadcast Society members Jennifer Dickey and Andy Huang.  Member support is what makes these interviews possible. Support this coverage here.

 

 

Frankie Barnhill is the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast. She's always interested in hearing surprising and enlightening stories about life in the West. Have an idea for Idaho Matters? Drop her a line!