Community Cycles - 3 Questions

October 8, 2019

 

Do you support adopting a 20 mph speed limit on all Boulder residential streets in early 2020 as suggested by the current council?

Yes. I support 20 mph on our residential streets, but we need to bring the greater community along. This is why I used my position on the Transportation Advisory Board to consistently and persistently advocated for 20 mph on the entire 13th street Bartlett Green Street. This is a perfect place and project to introduce the community to the benefits of a 20mph speed limit. Our first Green Street needs to be different than our other streets. The car should be the slow moving guest and the mode dominated by bikes and pedestrians.

My advocacy for 20 on 13th continues to be met with resistance by staff. They say that without engineering treatments slower speeds will not result. While I support engineering treatments that result in lower speeds we need to act now to improve cycling and pedestrian safety and slower speeds limits are a good start, especially when combined with enforcement and education. I also point out that we have 20 mph speed  limits on Walnut and Pine on both sides of the Mall and in all school zones. Our inconsistencies in implementation are obvious.  

In addressing a wholesale change to all residential streets, I want to see us follow our documented and agreed upon community engagement process as developed by the Public Participation Working Group and adopted by Council.  By following this process we will not immediately shift to 20 mph but we will also not be subject to the criticism resulting from a fast adoption without public engagement, and we know what that looks like. The backlash from Folsom has set the department back years and I would rather have implementation that will last vs. quick implementation that fails.

Do you support Council advancing a new transportation funding mechanism in 2020 and what would be your top three transportation spending priorities? 

Yes, as long as the funding mechanism is progressive or at a worst case has a progressive refund mechanism.  

I was the TAB representative to the Transportation Funding Working Group. The findings of our group were presented to Council as a report from the group and staff. I sent Council my own “minority report”  in support of a Vehicle Valuation Tax or VVT. Please read the note for my full reasoning. In short, we need to tie our transportation funding to the largest and most expensive vehicles  on the road. A VVT is also one of the few progressive tools allowed by state law. 

In regard to funding priorities I would support the following three:

  1. Improved cycling/pedestrian infrastructure. While we would all like a set of fully separated and protected bike lanes to appear, we will need to work within our budget constraints. This means doing all that we can—now, with current funding. A great example will be North Broadway after the reconstruction project is complete in 2020/2021. TAB made clear that we were not willing to accept a major rebuild that resulted in poor cycling safety and inadequate pedestrian facilities. Staff reworked the project to incorporate major improvements for cyclists and pedestrians.

  2. Parking reform. Our entire parking system needs to come back into the Transportation department. In study after study it is shown that too much parking that is free or underpriced creates induced demand for more auto traffic. We must end parking subsidies (i.e. free parking in business districts) in the public right-of-way that costs taxpayers money and is in fact not good for business vitality. While the project of reform may involve some expenditures by the city, it should ultimately pay for itself and result in a net positive revenue for the city. In addition,a correctly administered parking program will help us reach our climate goals.

  3. Fixing our transit subsidy system. We currently subsidize ecopasses for neighborhoods. While on the surface this seems like a great thing it has become apparent to me that our subsidy system is both inequitable and ineffective at reaching the people that need transit the most. With an ecopass we are paying full fare for each ride in spite of buying rides from RTD in bulk and having neighborhood volunteers doing much of RTD’s administrative work for free.That’s wrong.

The increase recently in bicycle and pedestrian crashes and injuries shows that paint and flexible bollards do not provide real protection from traffic violence. As a council person, what measures would you champion to protect vulnerable users on our city streets?

See my answer above regarding the North Broadway reconstruction. I would continue to champion real engineered solutions that help our citizens, ages 8 to 80 feel and be safe on their bikes.

In addition, and counter to the premise of your question, I think plastic bollards are better than no bollards, buffered lanes are better than unbuffered lanes, and high visibility paint markings are better than none. All of these tools can help make for a better and safer system now. 

 

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