By Dom Nozzi
April 30, 2019
Boulder is preparing to update its Transportation Master Plan, and part of that is to adopt new policies for improving Boulder’s bike network. Here is what I suggested…
The following are essential reforms for improving bicycling in Boulder:
- On roads that are more like highways than the slower-speed streets they should be in the Boulder town center (such as Canyon, Broadway, Arapahoe, and Folsom), lane-reducing road diets are very important. These high-speed roads should not be the car-only routes when they are in the town center, as healthy town centers need both slower speeds and rich transportation choice (cars, bikes, ped, transit).
- Lane reductions are needed for Boulder intersections that have double-left turn lanes (they need to become single-left turn lanes, or in the town center, zero-left turn lanes).
- Coupled with lane reductions, highways in the Boulder town center should also incorporate effective HORIZONTAL traffic calming (since the highways are also emergency response routes, calming that is compatible with emergency vehicles is necessary – including bulb-outs, circles/roundabouts, and on-street parking). Examples of “horizontal” calming includes intersection and mid-block bulb-outs, reduction in travel lane widths, and on-street parking. Examples of “vertical” calming includes speed bumps/humps, and speed tables. Vertical calming designs are almost never desirable or appropriate.
- One-way streets must be converted back to two-way operation.
Bicycling in Boulder will become much more common if the following non-bike network reforms are achieved:
- Parking is reformed (eliminate required [minimum] parking, establish more parking cash-out, unbundle the price of parking from the price of housing, price free parking spaces, and reduce the quantity of free parking spaces).
- Reduce travel distances for bicyclists by substantially incentivizing a much larger quantity of compact, mixed-use development in the city.
I would point out that each of the above tactics are effective ways for Boulder to achieve its climate change goals.
Shame on Boulder for being so far behind the times on the above six items – particularly given the crisis in recent years of the unacceptably high level of traffic injuries and deaths in Boulder, not to mention the affordable housing crisis.