Boulder City Council Says “No” to Streets for People (and “yes” to private automobiles)

Despite getting over 600 emails supporting the continued closure of west Pearl to private automobile traffic, on Sept 15h Boulder’s self-proclaimed “progressive” city Council voted in favor of re-introducing cars, killing the city’s only street closure.

Community Cycles submitted a letter supporting the street closure and Executive Director Sue Prant spoke at the Sept 15th Council meeting. Several CC members also spoke. 

A great deal of gratitude should be given to council persons Matt Benjamin and Rachel Friend who were strong supporters of the closure. They asked thoughtful questions, they clearly understood how transportation policy and innovation work and why simple things like closing two blocks are important. They challenged the very questionable data Community Vitality presented to support the return of private automobiles. It was apparent they read the 600 emails from their constituents and took them to heart. 

The letter from the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) to Council on west Pearl is also excellent and deserves a read. It clearly lays out how the data providing justification by Community Vitality is flawed and makes excellent suggestions on how to proceed. 

Council persons Nicole Speer, Bob Yates and Mark Wallach did not support the street closure and spoke in favor of returning private automobiles to the street immediately.  

Council persons Aaron Brocket, Tara Winer and Lauren Folkerts said they supported the idea of the closure in theory, but still supported reopening the street at this time. They opted in favor of a council subcommittee to study it. Councilperson Yates also supported the formation of the subcommittee. 

Despite the 600+ emails in support, the great work by Matt Benjamin, Rachel Friend and TAB, City Council came down in support of the Community Vitality Department’s recommendation to open the street to cars. 

What they did commit to is more process. 

Community Cycles (and many other community groups) have pointed out that Boulder is unable to do simple things without lengthy, expensive processes that yield over-programmed outcomes — if they result in anything at all. This has been evident in project after project. Both this and previous Councils have heard time and again that the community has lost trust in yet more process. 

So after 600+ emails in support, many from people who have never written Council before, what answer did they give us? “No, we can’t do that, but here is some more process.” 

This is not the end of this story or of our efforts to get Council to better understand the need for bicycle and pedestrian safety. Stay tuned for more information, how you can help and participate to make sure bicyclists voices are heard by those we elect. To stay updated sign up for our Advocacy Alerts at the bottom of our web page by providing your email and checking the box for “Advocacy” .

There is another issue just around the corner. CU is proposing channeling the traffic to their new conference center at Grandview over an unsignalized, dangerous intersection on the Broadway Mult-use path. This represents grave danger to cyclists and pedestrians. Community Cycles is working to fight this. We’ll need your help. 

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