Quality of Life in Boulder, Colorado

By Dom Nozzi

June 16, 2015

On June 15, a friend sent me the following comments:

When you break it down to what the things that people are unhappy about [in Boulder], they are-

  1. Boulder is growing too fast and too much and it is permanently altering the character of the place,
  2. Incommuters are creating rush hour traffic jams on our arteries and they produce a large GHG footprint, and
  3. Boulder housing prices are increasing dramatically due to:
  • growth of CU
  • job growth
  • retirement mecca
  • tourism and VRBOs
  • supply and demand- population pressure exceeding the rate of housing development.

I responded to him by pointing out that another way of looking at this is to think about what gives Boulder its high quality of life. In my humble opinion, the elements include boulder-smart-grid(but are not limited to) the following. This list is NOT ranked by level of importance:

  1. Pearl Street Mall (ironically, if citizens were given the ability to vote on this when it was first proposed, I believe a large majority would have voted against pedestrianizing Pearl Street).
  2. Proximity to the Flatirons, the foothills/Rockies, skiing, and Rocky Mtn National Park.
  3. Desirable climate and air quality.
  4. Transportation choices.
  5. Interesting, healthy, and safe place for seniors and children.
  6. The Boulder Greenbelt.
  7. High quality culture and restaurants.
  8. Small town ambiance.
  9. Highly-educated and creative population.
  10. Relative lack of noise pollution.
  11. Sense of community.
  12. Low crime rate and perception of low crime rate.

I think the very loud, emotional, widespread opposition we are hearing to the proposed right-sizing in Boulder (the 2015 proposal to narrow Folsom Street) informs us that TRAFFIC CONGESTION is seen by many in Boulder as, by far, the most important degradation in quality of life. Tragically, nearly all “solutions” to reduce congestion are counterproductive to protecting/improving quality of life.

I therefore believe that equating the fight against congestion with a fight for quality of life is a ruinous, awful mistake.

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Filed under Politics, Road Diet, Transportation

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