The Folsom right-sizing experiment in Boulder is being voted on (for the 3rd time) at Boulder City Council tonight. Here’s my latest letter to them, in support of the bike lanes.
Hello again, City Council!
I’m writing, again, to express my support for the protected bike lanes on Folsom.
There are logistical reasons to keep them around: if they are meant to be an experiment, we owe it to ourselves to actually execute that experiment. We haven’t yet: while we have enough data to see some trends (speeding is down, bike usage is up), we haven’t had time to collect statistically significant data about safety, specifically rates of accidents.
But the above reasons are available to everyone and I’m sure you’ve seen them time and time again.
What I can do is relate anecdotes (and the plural of anecdotes aren’t data, I know, but please bear with me).
I live on 26th and Pine with my wife and our 9 year old daughter.
We ride bikes a fair bit, and trips to the McGuckins shopping area are far easier and more convenient now. We can ride as a family on Folsom without fear. When we go downtown, we can cross at Spruce or Walnut with far greater confidence that cars will stop – with 4 lanes of traffic, it always felt like a game of chance that a car we couldn’t see (and that couldn’t see us!) would blow through the crosswalk.
We can walk our dogs along Folsom in greater peace and quiet, because the car traffic is further away from us.
Finally, as a driver, I feel much better on Folsom now. There aren’t people speeding and zig-zagging between lanes to get 3 cars ahead at the next stoplight. I can make a left onto Pine or into the gas station near Walnut without worrying that I’ll get rear-ended by through traffic. The number of people speeding is decreased, and having a buffer between bikes and my car makes me feel much better.
One last point: while I do see traffic back-ups on Folsom during rush hour now, I don’t think that’s a reason to blame a proper street configuration. The fact is, Boulder is much busier now than it has ever been. There are simply more cars. Belief that you won’t be delayed in traffic in Boulder is antiquated, and any thoroughfares that don’t have backups with the amount of cars on the road now are living on borrowed time.
We should realize that, own it, and continue making Boulder an amazing place to live where you don’t need to get in a car to feel safe and have convenient access to the places you need to be. We can reduce the number of cars on the road – and thereby reduce carbon emissions, and increase safety – by making it joyful and easy to get where you need to go without one.
Thank you for listening!