Cyclists 4 Community issued a survey that is still available and will remain open for the foreseeable future. It can be accessed here.
The survey asks about C4C’s draft 2024 program service goals. So far, there are only three responses to the survey. Here are comments from C4C’s staff person, Matt Muir, to those survey responses from the public.
Should C4C pursue funding a feasibility study for a separated bikeway between Boulder and Golden on the Highway 93 right-of-way?
All three responses are in favor of this idea.
C4C is currently exploring this. Since the project lies partly outside of Boulder County, it’s a complex topic that is taking time to even get started.
Should C4C pursue funding on the scale of $1M – $5M in order to partner with Boulder County on the design and construction of the North Foothills Path section from the City of Boulder to Lefthand Canyon Drive?
All three responses are in favor of the goal. Keep in mind, this project is still in the feasibility study phase. That phase is due to be complete in spring 2024. It’s important to wait and learn what the study shows.
Alternatively, one of C4C’s most effective roles is to incentivize projects like this. By “putting money on the table,” C4C has been able to piece together larger funding solutions. Making, say, $1.5 million or more available from C4C to the county and CDOT would be a serious gesture, one that could possibly attract enough money to build from the city to Lefthand Canyon. That section is the most used and the most dangerous.
Note, C4C and Boulder County government typically partner on projects like this based on the crash data. The Highway 119 Boulder – Longmont project is currently foremost for the County and that’s for a reason, the data indicates the need. Next in the order of need based on safety is US 36 North Foothills Highway Boulder – Lyons.
These two projects would significantly improve safety outcomes and multimodal access in Boulder County. They also serve as the incremental start to building a network of multimodal infrastucture for a comprehensive solution.
As of a couple years ago, the budget gap between realizing Boulder County’s Transportation Master Plan and what’s available was around $200 million without rail or over $2 billion including rail. On this scale, C4C is only capable of working to support the construction of the multimodal elements of the TMP in small bits.
Responses to open ended comments, below (thank you for your thoughts)
Maintenance, like sweeping, of existing shoulders should be improved
Matt has brought this up now and then with the county but if Matt listens, what he really hears are the challenges the county faces. The cost of living is so high in Boulder County that many county employees cannot afford to live in the county. For example, the plow truck driver who clears the snow must first get to work from somewhere far away. And from there, it’s easy to imagine the challenges of staffing and funding.
Pair that with a budget that is a constant challenge and details like sweeping don’t happen as often as some would like. Matt would add trimming and pruning to this item, just a comment.
For comparison, the City of Boulder could spend its entire transportation budget on maintenance alone if it were to adhere to best maintenance practices. That says a lot about the state of funding and operations on roads.
Another example are the county crews that manage the variable message board paid for by C4C and typically located on US 36 north of the City of Boulder. The crews are stretched thin and have a lot on their plate. After exploring the idea of moving the sign around to different locations, C4C and the county are in agreement, let’s keep it simple and in one, high value location where it is currently.
By the way, thanks to the county’s crews, they’ve been good to work with.
Shoulders on Flagstaff are particularly bad in terms of debris.
Yes, the county knows this. It’s planning a project to re-do Flagstaff Road in order to improve its drainage. The current, poor drainage creates a lot of problems including debris flows that pile up on the road.
Flagstaff is a good example of what’s called “constricted right-of-way.” Old mountain roads in Boulder County’s mountainous topography are a major challenge. In some cases, even with an imaginary, unlimited budget, some roads just cannot be perfect.
For this reason, C4C focuses on policy like improved awareness and legislation. The taxpayer cannot afford infinite taxation. The topography does not permit “perfect” infrastructure. The individual cannot afford serious injury or death. Consequently, we need to improve the way we share the roads. All our peer nations do it better than we do. We can also do better.
The City of Boulder should sweep its roads better too
C4C gladly defers to its peer nonprofit, Community Cycles, regarding topics inside the City of Boulder. Community Cycles does great work and C4C is pleased to follow their lead inside the City.
This is one of the leading causes of crashes, serious injury, and fatality on our roads. If one takes a leading standard typical of Scandinavian nations, the permissible blood alcohol limit for driving there is 0.00. The first offense results in penalties as severe as loss of one’s license for life. Their killed and serious injury data reflects their serious policies, it’s vastly lower than ours in the U.S.
C4C was founded on a principle of focusing on what is possible and what can be done. For good or for bad, that’s why C4C’s work sets the topic of intoxicated driving partially aside in order to focus on areas where there is agreement. These areas are support for Boulder County’s multimodal transportation plan, support for incremental legislation (Bicycle Colorado usually leads and C4C supports), and outreach to rural communities for improved relations.
C4C is obligated to thank the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. An elected position, Sheriff Johnson has evidenced that he and his office understand Boulder County, cycling, and the challenges. Not surprisingly, one of their obstacles is funding, like the rest of the county government. For instance, after a brief existence, a unit dedicated to traffic enforcement was paused due to budgeting challenges.
C4C is exploring the possibility of ways to support the BCSO with better funding. It’s a secondary project for now.
The need for significantly increased enforcement of traffic law
With perhaps the nation’s leading population of enthusiast level cycling in a rural, unincorporated, county-wide setting; C4C is grateful to have a sheriff’s department that understands the problem compared to many places where cycling is frowned upon–at best.
But, the question is how to help the BCSO while remembering that money does not grow on trees.
The above may be a long answer but when you support C4C, you deserve to know where your money and support go, how they are used, and what C4C’s positions are.