Here is the Community Cycles letter to Boulder City Council for the April 19th study session on Outdoor Dining and the West End Closure.
Dear City Council:
Community Cycles is writing in support of the continued vibrancy of the Outdoor Dining Program and to ensure that all planning incorporates the future improvements envisioned in the Core Arterial Network (CAN). This includes bicycle access in the Outdoor Dining Pilot Program.
Earlier CC wrote in support of making the closure permanent, not a pilot. Given that the direction is to have a pilot, we suggest adding transportation elements to this process. Unfortunately, the current CAN project draft schedule shows planning of the downtown segments not starting until 2026. This pilot could speed that process up.
The city needs a coordinated effort to achieve CAN. The Outdoor Dining & West End Closure memo recognizes a future Downtown study, however the Curbside Management project (also currently under development) does not address bicycle access on West Pearl (or the stressful downtown loop). Once again, we are not anticipating our future needs in current planning processes. While the Curbside Management program does include bike parking, it needs to include use of the curb for things like protected bike facilities.
West Pearl, with motor vehicles present, is stressful for most cyclists due to drivers backing up out of parking spaces. Accessing downtown is already very difficult for bicyclists because of the Spruce, 11th, Walnut, 15th one-way loop. However, the Outdoor Dining & West End Closure memo shows a green safety and a green accessibility rating if Boulder goes back to pre-covid conditions. We strongly feel this does not accurately reflect the experience of riding a bicycle in this area. Our documents and plans should accurately reflect existing conditions.
The majority of citizens support the West Pearl closure to motor vehicles. It makes downtown safer and more accessible to more people. Adding additional safety features to better accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians will improve accessibility even more. There is more than enough parking currently available to meet demand in the downtown area. Returning a handful of parking spaces to store automobiles at the sacrifice of safety for people and a more welcoming, vibrant downtown is a step in the wrong direction.
Thank you for your consideration service!
Community Cycles Advocacy Committee