2019 Boulder City Council Candidate Questionaire
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2019 Boulder City Council Candidate Questionaire
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Do you support adopting a 20 mph speed limit on all Boulder residential streets in early 2020 as suggested by the current council?
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Aaron Brockett
Absolutely. I support lowering residential speeds to 20mph in 2020 after having a public process to allow for community discussion about the details.
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Andy CelaniDid not respsond
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Paul CureYes, I am in support of decreased speeds on our streets and hope that our awareness of alternative modes of transportation ie: walking, biking, blading etc. are given safe passage through our neighborhoods.
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Brian DolanYes, I fully support lowering the speed limit from 25 to 20 mph on residential streets. I also want to look at further reducing the proposed speed limit on 19th, which is currently at 30 mph. The city has proposed only lowering the speed limit to 25 mph from Norwood to Sumac, but I believe we should look at doing so for the entirety of 19th Street since it is heavily populated with families, parks, and schools.
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Benita DuranYes. Absolutely. I am supportive of slowing down our vehicular speeds in residential streets. I am particularly convinced of this after hearing public comment at recent Council meeting relating to the difference that a slow down of 5 MPH can mean to a life safety situation. I would also seek support of a broad public education campaign about this speed limit change, in partnership with BVSD, neighborhood organizations, and our local business/commerce centers.
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Rachel FriendYES. 20 is plenty.
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Junie JosephI believe in Vision Zero and we have to do everything we can as policymakers to protect children, the elderly, people with disabilities, cyclists, and pedestrians who are using our streets. Safety is the most important policy. I will support any safety policy that put people first. I believe that a 20 miles per hour speed limit will protect car riders, pedestrians and bikers (i.e., everyone who share our roads). I believe in creating transit- oriented housing. Consequently, my vision of Boulder streets is one that is safer for everyone involved, the biker/cyclist, and the walker. According to the US Department of Transportation, results indicated that higher vehicle speeds are strongly associated with both a greater likelihood of pedestrian crash occurrence and more serious resulting pedestrian injury. It was estimated that only 5 percent of pedestrians would die when struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour or less. This compares with fatality rates of 40, 80, and nearly 100 percent for striking speeds of 30, 40, and 50 miles per hour or more respectively. We have to ensure that our transportation policy protects those who do not have cars and use their feet and other forms of transportation such as bicycles.
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Corina JulcaI fully support a 20 mph speed limit on all Boulder residential streets, the sooner the better. Cyclists, pedestrians, children, pets and wildlife will all benefit from drivers slowing down and being able to come to a quick stop in neighborhoods. I understand the data on accident frequency at this reduced speed limit are inconclusive, but there is a direct correlation between vehicle speed and degree of injury, so this is a good idea.
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Nikki McCordOne pillar of my campaign is to support sustainable infrastructure - prioritizing roads and affordable housing. As a homeowner on a residential street with a lot of fast traffic, I understand the concern of residents who want to reduce vehicle speed limits. I support an ordinance to reduce the speed limit on residential streets as there is research that indicates its effectiveness. Additionally, I support closing the gap in funding to the transportation department to maintain infrastructure and perform core services to meet community expectations. Because we have not responded to this gap in funding, our city has significant unfunded transportation maintenance that must be addressed. As a city councilperson I will support a county-wide transportation tax that is tied to affordable housing - thereby advocating for sustainable infrastructure through adequate funding.
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Mark McIntyreYes. 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.
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Gala OrbaDid not respond.
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Susan Peterson
Yes, without reservation.
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Adam SwetlikYes.
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Mark WallachYes.
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Bob YatesAbsolutely. I have demanded a lowering of residential (and arterial) speed limits since I joined council in 2015. I have been consistently foiled by city staff. So, when the Transportation Master Plan was being finalized last summer, I insisted that it include a commitment by city staff to engage the community in preparation for lowering our residential speed limits to 20 MPH. And, when I voted to approve the Transportation Master Plan on September 17, I publicly reiterated my insistence that we immediately start the process for lowering residential speed limits. My council colleagues all agreed, and city staff has now been clearly instructed. We will hold them accountable. Twenty is plenty in 2020!
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Do you support Council advancing a new transportation funding mechanism in 2020 and what would be your top three transportation spending priorities?
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Aaron Brockett
I do support adding additional transportation funding in 2020. This could be done by the city alone, or in conjunction with the county or a larger area. My top three priorities for transportation funding are improved cycling facilities such as the protected bike lanes called for in the 30th and Colorado corridor studies; better regional transit including bus rapid transit along SH 119 to Longmont and along Arapahoe Ave to east Boulder County; and funding to support our Vision Zero goals, including engineering improvements and better street and bike path maintenance and repair.
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Andy CelaniDid not respond.
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Paul CureWith regards to funding transportation, I have offered that we implement a BOULDER BUCKS system wherein 1% of sales from participating businesses fund transportation initiatives such as dedicated bike lanes, bike path maintenance and additional bike, walk to work days thereby raising our awareness of the ease and joy of walking or biking to work as well as the challenges that need to be addressed to make those realities possible.
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Brian DolanBoulder’s transportation system is drastically underfunded, and we need to address it before we add more to our already backlogged deferred maintenance. We need additional funds to address increased operations , deferred maintenance, and system expansions. Many of the ideas already proposed will raise taxes for our community members. Since living in Boulder is already costly, and since many of our transportation issues stem from the over 60,000 in commuters driving into the city daily, I want to explore implementing a head tax on major employers above a certain cost, so they pay our fair share of our transportation management system. These fees could be avoided for employees who carpooler or if alternate modes of transportation are utilized. I believe this would fix two issues – costs would be paid by all users of our transportation system (not just city residents) and it would discourage the use of single-occupancy vehicles, which in turn helps the environment and alleviates some of our congestion issues.
My top three transportation spending priorities are:
1) Further addressing in-commuting traffic by utilizing shuttle vans for less congestion.
2) Increasing protective bike lanes, setbacks for pedestrians, and bus pull offs, so that people feel safer and are therefore more likely to use alternate forms of transportation.
3) Addressing the first-and-last mile challenges for public transport, to increase feasibility and ease of use for all of our residents.
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Benita DuranYes. For advancing the transportation funding mechanism, I would advocate for investing resources to create/model the regional funding structure that can be placed before voters as soon as possible. Top three transportation spending priorities -- 1) safety elements are top priority - street maintenance/pothole repair and let’s not forget that we will need to change signage and have communication plan for residential slow down to 20 MPH (which I fully support, but know that public education and monitoring is key to the success of a roll out); 2) continue Vision Zero-plan components; including corridor studies and monitor for data, corrections in light of recent crashes; 3) commence implementation plan of TMP as prioritized by TAB and adopted by Council. I would seek additional short term funding to support TMP efforts through cost efficiencies and some reductions in median maintenance and grass trimming.
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Rachel FriendYes.
Additional fully protected bike lanes.
Subsidizing and incentivizing e-bikes.
Free RTD passes along with additional routes.
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Junie JosephWe definitely need new funding mechanism for transportation, though we've had trouble finding one that raises a significant amount of money, that is consistent with state law, and that is equitable. I would consider an emission tax or tax on luxury vehicles. I understand that funding structures that are not tax-based are very difficult to put in place. Consequently, as a council member, I would seek advice from those working in the transportation industry on the best practice for funding our transportation system. I believe that our spending priorities should be operations, improvement, and maintenance. But I think this question is asking for spending priorities for the additional funds. Our priorities should be (1) Improved transit service; (2) Vision Zero-related projects; (3) pedestrian improvements. It is worth noting that we should also focus on tactical-urbanism-style projects that are quick and cheap, allowing us to move faster and be more experimental in our approach. But I also understand the limitation in government processes and funding.
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Corina JulcaPublic transportation is key to a vibrant city. RTD is failing Boulder and many other cities (the city government of Longmont is especially vocal about this). So far, cities in Boulder County and nearby have not been able to get RTD to come through with FasTracks, with EcoPasses for all--or at least for large segments of the population—and with sufficient coverage of necessary routes. On the contrary, in Boulder RTD has been cutting back on routes and raising fares and EcoPass pricing, thereby discouraging bus use. Funding for new transportation solutions should come from RTD, including the FasTracks tax proceeds. It should also come from large employers, as happens in Denver, possibly through a head tax. Higher transport-related impact fees on new development could also help close the gap. We should not burden the residents of Boulder with more taxes. My top three transportation priorities are a regional rail system, free bus fare for the most heavily used routes in Boulder (similar to the 16th Street Mall in Denver), and the introduction of smaller vehicles, “shuttles,” to add new routes and to replace full-size buses that currently run almost empty. If the free buses prove a success, the program should be expanded to additional routes and replace the EcoPass program. The fact that people with EcoPasses are six times more likely to ride than bus than others is a good indication that free buses will change habits. If we can reduce the number of cars on Boulder's roads and replace many of the large buses, the roads will also become safer and more pleasant for cyclists. These initiatives are also crucial to achieving Boulder’s greenhouse gas goals.
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Nikki McCordOne of my campaign pillars is sustainable infrastructure - with a focus on improving the city’s transportation infrastructure. I support closing the gap in funding to the transportation department to maintain infrastructure and perform core services to meet community expectations. As a city councilperson I will support a regional transportation tax that is tied to affordable housing - thereby advocating for sustainable infrastructure through adequate funding. My top three transportation spending priorities include maintenance and operation of the existing transportation system, capital improvements, and investment in the city’s multimodal corridors.
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Mark McIntyreYes, 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.
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Gala OrbaDid not respond.
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Susan Peterson
Yes, I support new transportation funding mechanisms, and I think we need to expand our thinking about those funding sources to encourage the behaviors we do want, and discourage those we don't. For instance, much of our automobile traffic congestion is caused by in-commuting, so:
We could discourage in-commuting in Single Occupancy Vehicles (SOV) by charging an in-commuting toll using technology like that used by ExpressToll. That technology could charge different rates for low-income commuters so as to not unfairly disadvantage that segment of our work force.
At the same time, we could work with our major employers to sponsor EcoPasses for all Boulder citizens and all in-commuters to further encourage the use of mass-transportation.
We could consider a head-tax on SOV in-commuters, or employers could charge for parking and put those parking fees toward transportation funding.
My Top 3 spending priorities would be:
Improving bike paths and streets. As the popularity of electric bikes surges making cycling available to an even broader range of our Community, an investment in safer cycling and walking makes even more sense.
Funding a "free fare zone" or an EcoPass for all to encourage more use of mass transportation. Provide more bike racks and rentals at all bus stops to solve the first and last mile problem.
All efforts to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) production caused by our Transportation methods -- the 2nd largest source of GHG (the way we produce electricity is the first).
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Adam SwetlikYes. My priorities would be:
Building more streets like the 13th St. GreenStreet, specifically designed to be safer for bikers and pedestrians but right next to main transit corridors.
Exploring alternatives to RTD as service levels have been dropping while costs have been increasing.
Improving bike lanes across the City, even with temporary solutions while better solutions long-term solutions are found, specifically in reference to City Council's budget discussion at the October 1st meeting.
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Mark WallachThere are a number of possibilities for taxes or fees (head taxes, taxes on luxury cars, or all cars, etc.) and I would look at all of them, in an effort to achieve as much of the following as possible: 1) Expansion of the eco pass program; 2) Identification of additional streets where it is possible to create more protected bike paths; 3) Move towards smaller and greener buses to avoid the situation where 40-person buses are traversing our streets carrying 2 passengers; also build more sheltered bus stops to incentivize mass transit use during inclement weather; and 4) (I know this is more than you asked for, but this is important) Work on a regional basis to improve transportation with our sister cities, particularly Longmont. If we want to get people out of their cars, we need to provide the services to make that possible.
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Bob YatesYes. As pointed out in the Transportation Master Plan—which I voted to adopt on September 17—we have $23 million in annual unmet transportation needs. To put this in perspective, we currently spend $32 million on transportation operations, meaning that we are funding less than 60% of our needs. Imagine running your household and only paying 60% of your obligations. This is not acceptable. Early in the new council, we will discuss with the community and decide how to adequately fund our transportation needs. Given the size of the shortfall, this will undoubtedly require a new source of revenue, which could take the form of a sales tax, a property tax, an employment head tax, or some sort of vehicle-based fee.
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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?
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Aaron Brockett
I have been a strong advocate of cycling and pedestrian safety in my last four years on council, and played a significant role in elevating our Vision Zero goal to the forefront of our transportation agenda (as well as in changing the name of the program from "Toward Vision Zero" to just "Vision Zero"!). Going forward, we need to make sure that our transportation projects include engineering changes to provide real safety for our most vulnerable users, including cyclists, pedestrians, young people and the elderly.
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Andy CelaniDid not respond.
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Paul CureThe priority of any municipal government is the health and safety of its citizens. As council we are given this responsibility to implement measures to ensure safe passage of all through our neighborhoods. The initiatives of BOULDER BUCKS to fund dedicated bike lanes, increased Bike to work days, slower speeds on our streets and increased education on the roadways will be the first steps which I feel are possible and practical measures to help each other enjoy our roads safely.
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Brian DolanAs I mentioned briefly in question 2, I would work to increase the overall number of protective bike lanes and pedestrian walkways. The multi-modal plan that Boulder is putting in place on 30th street is a great example of what we need to work towards throughout the city. Infrastructure such as setbacks and protected lanes for pedestrians, bikers and bus riders create a much-needed buffer from traffic.
We should also look to create more multi-use paths or off-street trails along major corridors, which would further reduce interactions with cars or motorized vehicles.
I would also consider bike safety education and training courses. As part of the acquisition and/or renewal of a motor vehicle license, I would also include training on how to be a safer cyclist. In other words we could simultaneously educate people as to the rules for cyclist and drivers.
The biggest impact, however, may very well come from the overall reduction of traffic congestion around the city, which can be addressed with the various methods I have proposed in the above questions.
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Benita DuranThe measures I would always champion are aligned with a value of safety for users. Being informed of unsafe or vulnerable situations and reviewing related data will allow me to take action to address unsafe conditions. As there has been significant time and talent invested in the Transportation Master Plan, from departmental staff to a legion of community organization representatives and volunteers, I would seek and support the recommendations from the TAB and staff related to Transportation Master Plan implementation as it relates particularly to cyclists and pedestrians. The emphasis I’d like to see is communication and engagement with diverse communities and audiences throughout Boulder; and more engagement with folks where they work or where they reside. From observation of recent council discussions, it appears to me that there is still a need to determine the appropriate protection/barrier elements that are best suited for certain corridors. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to apply but safety first, is my focus.
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Rachel FriendThe recent spate of car → pedestrian and cyclist collisions and serious injuries is shocking. Our Vision Zero goals are impressive, but they are too piecemeal, and our bike lanes are not adequate. Biking down narrow bike lanes, with traffic inches away, on streets like Folsom and 30th and Table Mesa, is taking our lives into our hands. If we want to get people out of cars, then we must make it safe. At the same time, we need to calm traffic. Some measures I champion are:
Reduced speed limits and engineering for traffic calming.
Fully protected and separated bike lanes.
Housing some more people in Boulder, so that we get some cars off the roads.
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Junie JosephDrivers are not the only people on the road. The roadway is a shared place and we must take into account others when we drive. I have been researching solutions on how to best protect my neighbors and friends as a future councilperson. According to the US Department of transportation, reductions in vehicle travel speeds can be achieved through lowered speed limits, police enforcement of speed limits, and associated public information. More long-lasting speed reductions in neighborhoods where vehicles and pedestrians commonly share the roadway can be achieved through engineering approaches generally known as traffic calming. Countermeasures include road humps, roundabouts, other horizontal traffic deflections (e.g., chicanes), and increased use of stop signs. Comprehensive community-based speed reduction programs, combining public information and education, enforcement, and roadway engineering, are recommended. I as a councilperson I would advocate for the use of all these tools in order to ensure the protection of all members of the Boulder community.
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Corina JulcaThe issue of cyclist and pedestrian safety is crucial. I have read the chapter on safety in the new Transportation Master Plan. It focuses on the four E-s: Engineering, Enforcement, Education and Evaluation. Creating a safer environment is a major challenge that requires a combination of approaches. As a city council person, I will support the range of initiatives described, ranging from Safe Routes to School, through improved intersections, to educational outreach. I will also support the expansion of the multi-use path system and the incorporation of multimodal design, separating cyclists from vehicles, into corridor projects, where possible. I wish I had additional ideas beyond what is discussed in the TMP and will keep an eye out for new initiatives in other locations.
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Nikki McCordOne of my campaign pillars is a safe environment for all - ensuring that marginalized communities are at the forefront of policy decisions, and not left behind. This is accomplished when city policies do no further harm to these communities. As a city councilperson I will be an advocate for the safe use of city streets This will include walk audits with aging individuals and people with disabilities, advocating that issues raised by people with disabilities regarding street accessibility receive priority response from the city, and making sure that our roads and paths work for everyone.
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Mark McIntyreSee 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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Gala OrbaDid not respond.
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Susan Peterson
More Neighborhood Green Streets, like 13th.
20MPH speed limit, as above.
More protected bike lanes as per National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide As a cyclist myself, my preference is for raised bike lanes that are economical while alerting drivers to and preventing them from veering into a bike lane.
Reduce the incidence of accidents related to distracted driving by more agressively enforcing the ban on texting and driving, and on talking on the phone without hands free access.
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Adam SwetlikAs referenced in my previous answer, I think finding short-term solutions like concrete barriers should be a top priority along the most dangerous corridors. These will at least provide a higher level of protection until we redesign our streets with raised bike lanes and other safety enhancements.
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Mark Wallach As noted earlier, identify additional streets that can accommodate protected bike lanes. Also review areas where bikes are permitted on the sidewalks, to make sure there is appropriate signage clarifying the responsibilities of both pedestrians and bikers. I also want to review the creative solutions adopted in other municipalities to determine their potential applicability to Boulder and its traffic patterns. We are not the only city dealing with these issues, and the solutions of other cities might be appropriate here.
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Bob YatesMy wife, Katy, was one of the first people on the scene at the horrific bike-car crash at Folsom near Bluff on the early afternoon of September 20. With years of medical experience in emergency rooms, Katy administered aid to the stricken rider until the rescue squad arrived. She came home covered in blood, saying it was one of the most horrific scenes she had ever encountered, including among the trauma that she has seen in the ER. Serious injury to that cyclist could have been avoided by physically separating the bike lane from the car travel lanes with a meaningful and effective barrier. While the causes of that particular crash might have been unusual, it does not take great predictive power to look at that stretch of Folsom and determine that the curve might place people at risk. The September 20 crash should serve as a wake-up call for us. We should carefully examine each corridor and identify those with the greatest risks, placing at those locations barriers that truly protect our most vulnerable travelers.
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