In late October, CU and developer Limelight are slated to break ground on a new conference center with a 250 room hotel and parking structure on the northeast corner of Broadway and University. The current design calls for the primary vehicle access to cross the Broadway path at Grandview, partway down the hill.
Today, Grandview at Broadway sees about 70 cars a day. The new development is projected to increase traffic to 1150 cars a day, a sixteen fold increase, with 150 to 175 cars an hour at peak times. That’s one car every twenty seconds turning across one of Boulder’s flagship multi-use paths with limited sight lines and no traffic signal for safety. Many of the drivers will be visitors unfamiliar with the intersection.
Quite simply, someone will die if this design goes forward. There is no crossing of a multi-use path in Boulder that comes anywhere close to this configuration: steep hill with many fast-moving bikers and skaters, heavy volume of turning traffic, unsignalized.
On June 14th, Community Cycles staff and volunteers along with representatives from the city’s Planning and Transportation Advisory Boards, Council members Matt Benjamin and Bob Yates, city Transportation and Planning staff and CU and Limelight representatives toured the site. At that time, and during the ensuing months, Community Cycles has continued to make suggestions on how to make accessing the new CU Conference Center safer.
The most infuriating part is there is a clear alternative: It’s completely feasible to meet all the motor vehicle access needs to the new facilities off of University, using 13th and 15th Streets. That would mean traffic from Broadway – constituting most of the trips by conference center visitors – would cross the Broadway multi-use path at the signal-controlled intersection with University, a far safer situation. Grandview could then be closed in part or completely, except for emergency access, at Broadway, resulting in a net safety gain for people walking, biking, and driving.
But so far CU and Limelight have rejected this solution. This project has a long list of negotiations and long-standing memoranda of understanding between CU and the city that limit Transportation and Planning staff’s ability to make any substantive changes at the site. Additionally, CU projects aren’t like regular development projects – they don’t need to go before the Planning Board or Council. There is no process for public input, and yet decisions are being made about public streets that affect public safety.
It seems pretty clear that the only answer to this is political.
Community Cycles is calling on Council to step in, assert the City’s control over its own streets, and force CU and Limelight to relocate the main conference center entrance to University. With construction slated to begin this fall, we need Council to speak up now.
How can you help? A petition has been started. Please sign it and share with your friends and neighbors.
To stay updated on this issue you can check out this website. To hear about new developments and when you should send an email in support to City Council, sign up for Advocacy Alerts by going to the bottom of the CC web page and checking the “Advocacy” box , or go to the bottom of this email, click on “Update you preferences” and add “Advocacy”.