Big Win on 20 is Plenty- Boulder becomes the 1st in CO to pass 20 mph speed limit citywide on residential streets

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Boulder took a major step forward to becoming the first city in Colorado – one just a handful nationwide – to pass “20 is Plenty” speed limit on residential streets.

At their April 21st meeting, a vast majority of Boulder City Council members directed city staff to finalize the 20 is Plenty ordinance change for immediate adoption and implementation. A public hearing and final council vote will probably occur on May 19.

Community Cycles began work on the 20 is Plenty campaign back in the summer of 2019 when we lobbied Council, the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) and a reluctant city transportation staff to put the 20 mph speed limit into the 2019 Transportation Master Plan (TMP). Council and TAB adopted the TMP with the 20 mph provision, but it still needed an ordinance change and we knew we were facing an uphill battle, given city staff’s strong reluctance.

Council agreed to put a consideration of 20 is Plenty on the Council agenda for April 2020, with the thought that this would begin the process of examining a possible ordinance change. Then the COVID-19 crisis happened, the city furloughed hundreds of workers, was suffering millions of dollars in budget shortfalls and a robust public outreach campaign would be impossible in the time of social distancing. Staff meanwhile promoted a lengthy, expensive study that made it all but certain 20 is Plenty would fall victim to the COVID crisis.

But Community Cycles and our over 2500 members were not going to let this fail. We went to work. Our members first sent letters to TAB asking them to recommend the ordinance change to Council and then they sent even more letters to Council members. We asked our friends at Bicycle Colorado, Boulder Mountain Bike Association, People for Bikes and Cyclists for Community to send letters to Council and get their folks to write letters. Our Executive Director, Sue Prant, had a guest opinion printed in the Daily Camera and lobbied TAB and Council members individually. We had 20 is Plenty yard signs (pictured below) printed up and the hard working volunteers of our Advocacy Committee and our Advocacy Coordinator Alexey Davies got signs in 200 yards in three days. TAB voted 5 – 0 in favor of implementing 20 is plenty now, individual TAB members wrote letters to Council and the TAB chair made a forceful collective statement in support at the Council meeting.

And it worked. While a strong organized opposition could put a stick in our spokes, we should be on the road to to adoption of the ordinance change in May. We’ll need your help one more time. Write Council Thank them for supporting 20 is Plenty and safer neighborhood streets. Tell a short story about what it means to you. Thank them for their leadership and tell them how excited you are that 20 mph will soon be the law on Boulder’s residential streets. Just this one more thing to get this past the finish line!

Special thanks to Boulder’s amazing and impressive Transportation Advisory Board, our City Council members, our nonprofit partner organizations and all the Community Cycles volunteers and members who helped make this happen. We will have safer streets in Boulder because of all your efforts.