Removing protected bike lanes on Folsom is a political move not in the best interest of Boulder

My comments to the city council and staff on the protected bike lane project on Folsom. Here’s a link to the article in the Daily Camera for context: “Boulder staff recommends scaling back much of Folsom ‘right-sizing’ project”

I’m incredibly disappointed with the staff proposal released Thursday evening recommending the removal of the southern portion of Folsom’s protected bike lanes.

The Folsom project, after eight weeks, is coming in-line toward the desired metrics—travel times have moved closely to the modeled projections, reducing speeds (but the 85th percentile speed is still 20% above the speed limit), and data so far showing reduced crashes. The staff recommendation discussed none of these improvements our community has gained through the street change.

Rather, the staff recommendation mentions no data at all. The opinion centers on fear, uncertainty, and doubt raised about the upcoming winter, which happens to be an el Niño year, even though the current NOAA forecast shows no precipitation anomaly projected for Colorado (link via Nathan Johnson, Boulder resident at @snowforecaster)

Both TAB and city council had a briefing on snow removal on the Folsom corridor, yet none of these concerns were raised as significant hurdles at the time.

Much of the criticism of the Folsom project has been on the city’s public process and evaluation of data. But the potential removal of the project will have no public process and ignores the data collected so far. I’m frankly surprised that the council will entertain this option, one that’s been discussed in a vacuum and sprung on council after the TAB meeting, only a few days before the council meeting.

I appreciate the leadership the council has shown on the Living Labs thus far. But in order to see out a vision, we can’t pull pilot projects after only two months. And we can’t end projects without using data, instead playing to fears and politics. With the latest modifications, the street is working with the intended effects. To remove half this project not only admits defeat on Folsom, but a defeat in making any change that might significantly increase bicycle mode share in Boulder.

The decision you make Tuesday will shape transportation policy for years or decades.

Eric Budd
3025 Broadway St. #38
Boulder, CO

4 thoughts on “Removing protected bike lanes on Folsom is a political move not in the best interest of Boulder

  1. This is a good article. However the bigger issue to me has nothing to do with Folsom. With this act the city just set back the bike movement in this town by, what, 5 to 10 years? Does anyone think another protected lane is in the cards anytime soon? The next time the city brings up a bike-friendly motion they’re going to get laughed out of the room. Why? Because of incompetence on the part of staff and our City Manager and, don’t kid yourself, City Council. THAT’S the real issue here and why this is such a tragedy.

  2. It’s notable that Boulder’s CAP tax, which intends to decrease local greenhouse emissions through a variety of programs including dramatically reducing vehicle miles traveled with Complete Streets initiatives, is up for renewal on November’s ballot. If renewed, we will undoubtedly continue making expensive plans for changing our behavior and consumption patterns. But can we actually walk the talk? Folsom Street is the lab where this question will be answered.

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