Boulder Must Choose To Squelch Or To Embrace New Voices in Public Discourse

For background on this letter to Boulder’s city council and planning boards, please read from Erica Meltzer in the Daily Camera:

“Profane speech at Ignite Boulder lands city consultant in hot water”

The Housing Boulder Process Subcommittee will meet tomorrow to decide how to proceed with the controversy.
*** Update 5/26: Per Erica Meltzer, this topic will not be on the agenda for tomorrow.

If you can attend in person, the meeting information is here:

Wednesday, May 27, from 12 to 1 p.m.
Municipal Building, 1777 West Conference Room (first floor), 1777 Broadway

If you can e-mail on this subject:

HousingCommittee@BoulderColorado.gov

Or e-mail all of the city council and planning board members:

council@bouldercolorado.gov
boulderplanningboard@bouldercolorado.gov


Boulder Housing Process Subcommittee:

City Council Members: Lisa Morzel, Andrew Shoemaker, Mary Young
Planning Board Members: Crystal Gray, Leonard May

I ask for the city to reinstate Becky Boone and continue the Code For America contract.

Verbatim from the City of Boulder web site announcing the Code For America partnership:
https://bouldercolorado.gov/planning/code-for-america

“This new initiative will harness the entrepreneurial spirit of the Boulder community to develop new approaches and tools that support more inclusive, transparent, collaborative, and interactive community engagement.”

The seven-month project began in January 2015 and will create a variety of ways for community members, particularly underrepresented groups/individuals, to work cooperatively together to address important issues.”

Two important lines from the CFA partnership:

1. To develop new approaches and tools

Becky’s engagement at Ignite Boulder shows an innovative public way to engage existing groups in Boulder that are not traditionally involved in local policy. Her approach used in the talk spoke to young people in the language that would promote reaction and they would understand.

2. [Engage] particularly underrepresented groups/individuals

As the city’s data show, the current processes the city employs on housing particularly under-represent young people and renters. Becky’s target audience at the Ignite Boulder event worked to complement her other approaches like the housing subcommittees and City of Boulder meetings which over-represent homeowners and older demographics.

Councilwoman Mary Young believes that Becky’s work has not maintained a neutral appearance. I reject this notion. The nature of employing any non-traditional methods easily attracts criticism from establishment groups as unfair and biased — but Becky called for action to participate while not taking a viewpoint on the matters themselves.

What was the purpose of the city partnering with Code For America if your intent was to exactly maintain the status quo? Or are you satisfied with only the illusion that you attempted to engage young people and renters, even though the existing methods have not succeeded?

A removal of Becky Boone and end to the Code For America contract will not only declare failure to engage un-engaged people: it will declare that you never desired real change to happen at all.

A new movement in Boulder is growing as we speak. I ask you to listen to these voices who’ve been inspired by Becky’s work, many of whom are participating for the first time, and continue this conversation.

Eric Budd
3025 Broadway St. #38
Boulder, CO 80304
https://twitter.com/ericmbudd

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Boulder evaluates right-sizing streets to encourage biking and walking

The City of Boulder’s “Go Boulder” organization is seeking input on right-sizing car-centric corridors to improve biking, walking, and motorist safety. I ask the transportation advisory board and city council to support these changes.

Here are the “Complete Street” corridors the city will evaluate:

Map of Boulder potential right-sizing streets
Map of Boulder potential right-sizing streets

Iris Avenue Conditions

I want to analyze the current conditions of one of these roads I bike on ~500 times per year (approximately twice every workday), Iris Avenue in North Boulder. On Saturday, May 2nd, I spent an hour photographing the corridor.

Iris’ bike lanes are in disrepair where vehicles routinely drive over the bike lanes.

20150503_13360720150503_133432


The current bike lane design includes areas that dangerously squeeze cyclists, as demonstrated by how vehicles have removed the bike lane paint from the road.

Car drivers routinely drive in the bike lanes.


The width of the lanes vary, from as wide as 4.5 feet in some places, to just over three feet (39”) on the northwest side of the corner.

20150503_145135
This portion of the bike lane is only 39″ wide.

Right-Sizing Our Streets

Here’s a comparison image between the current street and a mock-up provided by Go Boulder:


Here is a street-view comparison of how the corridor might change. The bike lanes could increase from the current 3-4 feet to 5-6 feet with 2-3 feet of buffer zone.

iris-ave-current

iris-ave-right-size (3)


Iris is one of the few East/West bike corridors but it’s used significantly less by bikes than other thoroughfares in the city. A Strava heat map (based on recreational cyclists who use Strava) shows its use versus surrounding corridors:

strava heatmap iris


The Urgency of Improving Our Streets

Boulder has had a strong history of biking and walking, and now has the opportunity to make those amenities accessible to a much larger part of the population. Here are a few reasons to do so:

  • To give residents and their families safe, economical options to move around the city
  • To reduce the need or desire to drive when taking short trips through town or to downtown
  • To improve safety for motorists by reducing the speed in these corridors and adopt a safer lane configuration
  • To design streets that work better for more people at all times of day rather than focusing on only rush-hour or peak traffic periods
  • To align with the vision set forth in the Transportation Master Plan relating to mode share, energy, and vehicle use

The demand for bike infrastructure exists. We need to provide safe spaces that are equitable for all users of the road.

A woman rides with her child on the sidewalk because the bicycle lanes are not safe.

@ericmbudd