Access to the CU Conference Center access via Grandview would be Dangerous

BikeNonProfitAdvocacy, News

Dear Members of the Transportation Advisory and Planning Boards and City and CU Staff:

As you know, CU has long been planning a conference center/hotel at the northeast corner of Broadway and University. The Community Cycles Advocacy Committee would like to draw your attention to a major safety issue with the design as it currently stands. As shown in the attached figure, drawn from the “Limelight Hotel and Conference Center: Concept Narrative to City of Boulder” dated December 3, 2021, the developers plan a major route for vehicular access to and from the site at Grandview, to be entered from both southbound and northbound Broadway.

Planning unsignalized access to a 500-stall parking garage across a busy multi-use path (MUP) should be a non-starter. The obvious danger found at any high-frequency vehicular crossing of a busy path is especially enhanced by four issues:

1) the MUP along Broadway has a very steep gradient at this location, descending from the Hill toward Boulder Creek. Cyclists will easily reach (and, frankly, exceed) the 15 mph speed limit for the path, increasing the risk of serious injury in the event of collision;

2) most drivers will be from out of town, and are probably not used to looking for bicyclists and pedestrians;

3) the sight-lines at this location are poor because of berms and associated landscaping and because the crossing is at an angle that exceeds 90 degrees, meaning drivers will have to look even harder to their left when exiting the site; and

4) drivers turning left onto the site from southbound Broadway will be looking primarily at the heavy car/bus traffic coming down Broadway and not looking at bicycle/pedestrian traffic on the MUP.

We very strongly urge the City to work with CU to avoid this unacceptable hazard. Our preferred solution is to close Grandview at Broadway, except for emergency access. The site can be adequately reached via University, which provides a signalized crossing at Broadway while inducing a very minimal change in efficiency for the conference center/hotel visitors and staff. The access point at Grandview should be one lane wide, and clearly marked and used for emergency access only. The path should be raised where it crosses Grandview.

We have been concerned about this exact circumstance since the conference center/hotel was first proposed. “Vision Zero” means mitigating potentially dangerous conditions before they cause injury or death. We ask that you promptly and firmly address this unsafe design with the developers of this site.

The Community Cycles Advocacy Committee