A Two Part Solution

A two-part problem calls for a two-part solution, one focusing on those who commute to/from Boulder and another, solution for those traveling within Boulder.

Commuting into Boulder

Many of those who work in Boulder cannot afford to live here. These workers need a time-efficient and affordable means of transit into and out of the city. The main ingredients of such a solution are:

  • Light Rail - We need RTD to complete its FasTracks program, which will build a commuter railroad from Denver, through Broomfield and Louisville, to Boulder and Longmont. This long-delayed project seems to be getting a boost from new funding by Congress and the Colorado Legislature.
  • Bus Rapid Transit – Effective bus transit requires frequent service (no more than 15-minute headways) on routes that have a dedicated bus right-of-way and signal priority. Buses should have level boarding into multiple doors, which makes for fast loading and accommodates less abled people. Without these key elements, BRT is not competitive with the automobile. Colorado has lagged behind other states when it comes to investment in transit but there are plans in the works for improvements to State Highway 119, Arapahoe, 28th street, and broader plans to better fund transit on an ongoing basis. We also need a fair and equitable local, supplemental funding source.
  • Regional passenger rail - It is taking a long time, but we are slowly getting there. In the 1990’s RTD, the Denver-area Regional Transit District, built light-rail lines around downtown Denver, and southeast to Englewood and Littleton, and southwest to the Tech Center and Centennial. In 2004 voters approved the 0.4% sales tax for RTD’s FasTracks program. With that money, RTD built major rail lines from Denver to the airport, to Commerce City, to Golden, and to Lone Tree, as well as a north-south line through Aurora.
    But RTD failed to build its Northwest line to Broomfield, Boulder, and Longmont because its costs dramatically increased and revenues decreased. Colorado leaders are trying to solve this problem and new hope arose in 2024. President Biden’s 2021 infrastructure law provided more money for passenger rail than ever before, and there is a good chance some of that money will come our way. The Colorado Legislature established the Front Range Passenger Rail District and is presently developing a funding source for at least the Northwest Line and trains to Ft. Collins.
    We hope to soon see commuter and intercity trains entering Boulder from both the south and north.
  • Good Last-Mile Options – When commuters reach the transit stop nearest their destination, they need good and plentiful last-mile transportation options such as rental e-bikes and/or electric scooters (or other micromobility devices) and safe walkways and bikeways to their final destination. Ideally, these services would have an integrated fare system and multiple payment modalities to facilitate swift and convenient movement through the system. Expansion of bike share is a key feature of the new approach.

Local Trips

Cars, of course, have value for some trips, but they are causing the problems we note above. To reduce our dependence on cars, we need additional options for getting around town.

  • Walking – Most of our destinations are too far from home to walk. Can we change that? Yes, by mixing residential land use with appropriate, controlled  commercial uses. We need “Walkable Neighborhoods” with local nearby schools, offices, and retail such as grocery stores and cafes and restaurants within walking distance of homes. To achieve this, we will need to reduce or eliminate residential-only zoning laws in some places and promote some commercial uses in more areas.
  • Bikes and e-bikes (and other micromobility devices)– Boulder is sized such that bikes (and especially e-bikes) are an effective means of transport for most trips within the City, provided that there is a complete network of safe and comfortable pathways. E-bikes and e-cargo bikes enable a car-free or car-light lifestyle, permitting riders to cope with wind, cover hilly terrain, and/or carry children, groceries, or goods and still arrive at their destination without needing to shower. While e-bikes are expensive in comparison to most non-motorized bicycles, they are much less expensive than owning and operating a primary or secondary automobile. The same goes for electric scooters, electric skateboards, and a whole host of other electric micromobility devices. Many of these devices are now so small and light that they can be easily taken aboard the bus or train and stored inside at the home or office, making them a great last-mile solution for commuters. 
    Electric power is helpful, but not sufficient to achieve our goals. We must have safe routes for cycling throughout the city, which means better street crossings and physically protected bike lanes along major arterials and collector streets.  We also need adequate bike parking.  Shifting a substantial number of trips to bike will require that stores and other destinations furnish more and better bike racks than is typical now. These racks should be placed in locations that are convenient and well-trafficked (so as to reduce the risk of theft).
  • Better Buses – Boulder has a few bus routes, such as the Skip and the Hop, which offer high frequencies (also known as “headway”). That needs to be the norm for all bus routes. We also need buses to more locations so that the entire city is within a short walk of a bus that comes frequently. Buses need to operate in the early morning and well into the night. They need to be extremely reliable in their schedules so you can count on them to get you in the time frame of your plan. More bus stops need shelters from the weather and every stop needs at least a bench. We also need more lanes dedicated to buses for faster travel both by local buses and Bus Rapid Transit.
  • Automobiles, preferably small - or modestly-sized and electric or hybrid – There will continue to be many cases in which an automobile is needed, either personally-owned or, better, shared. 



Report a Maintenance Problem, City of Boulder

City of Boulder: To report a street maintenance related problem (potholes on the bike path, paths blocked by snow), complete the form and provide your contact information.


Report County Road Service Issue

Boulder County: To report a street maintenance related problem (potholes on the bike path, paths blocked by snow), complete the form and provide your contact information.


Report an Aggressive Driver

If you find yourself in a situation with an aggressive driver, remember you can dial *CSP (*277), free of charge. Report “real time” aggressive driving behavior to the Colorado State Patrol.


Report a Close Call – Inquire Boulder

Have you had a close call with a bicycle, pedestrian or motorist? This data is important and used in analysis of the safety of our streets.


Bike Theft Prevention & Registration

Learn tips and tricks for preventing your bicycle from being stolen, like registering your bike on Bike Index and knowing which lock to use how to properly use it.

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Join the Advocacy Committee

We aspire to help Boulder become a dynamic and sustainable city that maximizes the safety, comfort, and convenience of its residents and prioritizes long-term environmental stewardship.

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