The Best Walk & Bike Month Gift – Safer Facilities on 30th St and Jay Road

Community Cycles has been lobbying the city of Boulder to make 30th Street safer for bicyclists for over 6 years. Almost since the very inception of the highly effective Community Cycles Advocacy Committee, a safer 30th Street was at the top of our priority list. Year after year, in “state of the system” reports, in letters and in meetings with the city, we asked for improvements to 30th that would make this vital bicycle corridor safe. We appealed to our members to support our work for a safer 30th Street.

And Community Cycles members responded. They wrote letters, answered surveys, showed up at community meetings and donated to Community Cycles all in support of making 30th street safe for bikes. Finally, admittedly at Community Cycles urging, the city began a process in 2017 to plan for 30th street reconstruction.

Now, thanks to the incredible support of our members, hard work by the Community Cycles Advocacy Committee, and a community planning process, the plan for 30th street contains separated, protected bike lanes. Council approved the staff plan and recommendation on May 22nd. And Council members went even further, asking for the protected bike lanes to run north to Iris, stressing that, for the bike safety improvements, “sooner is better.” Several council members also asked staff to consider speed reductions on 30th.

We agree. And while we bask ever so briefly in the glory of this important win, we remember that there is still much work to do before 30th Street is actually a safe corridor.

Next Steps for 30th

The city is considering various designs for protected intersections that still need to pass public hearings to be implemented. And we need to make sure that important safety improvements are constructed as soon as possible. Even with the excellent plan we have, it will be meaningless if it takes a generation to get on the ground. We needed safety improvements on 30th yesterday. We cannot suffer more serious injuries or fatalities while we wait for protected lanes to be built.

Finally, a shout out to city staff. We understand that all projects, even planning processes, need to identify funding and staffing to be undertaken and that can take a long time. Once city staff were able to move forward on the 30th Street planning process, they did a fabulous job – the public outreach was top notch, they put together an inclusive working group and they collected reams of data to help with decision making.

Now, together, let’s get a safer 30th Street built soon.

Jay Road

Jay Road is another safety issue Community Cycles has been working on for a long time. The need for safety improvements on Jay Road is clear – there have been two fatal bicycle crashes in  two years and over 90 major and minor crashes on Jay since 2000. Community Cycles volunteer, Jesse Green, was killed on his bicycle at Jay and 63rd in March. While we have been talking with the county for years about safety improvements on Jay, the county began work in earnest on this project in March, spurred on by Jesse’s tragic, high profile, crash.

Once they decided Jay was a priority, the county, to its credit, acted quickly. This summer the county plans to install buffered bike lanes and narrow the existing travel lanes by one foot to accommodate the painted buffers. At intersections, the County is using green paint in the bike lanes. At Jay Road and the Cottonwood trailhead- a heavily used  unsignalized crossing of the LOBO trail – the city will be installing a traffic signal and a cueing lane. The County also conducted a survey to look at other potential treatments. Almost 1500 people responded, indicating opinions about additional measures such as seasonal flexible delineators, in road LED lights and rumblestrips.

Community Cycles supports the buffered bike lane (given the existing road width), green paint at intersections, pedestrian islands, lane narrowing and flexible delineator posts with the goal of lowering speeds and calming traffic on Jay.

We also encourage the County to take a comprehensive look at the speed limits on Jay Road with the goal of lowering the speed limit in conjunction with the other engineering treatments.  Fatalities on Jay Rd have highlighted the incompatibility of 45 mph speed limits (which encourage speeds of 50+ mph) with safe bicycling.

Here’s the latest presentation given at the 5/31/18 Vision Zero Partnership meeting.

 

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