The last year has seen a flurry of Letters to the Editor in the Daily Camera from cyclists and pedestrians alike, frustrated at each others behavior on the Boulder Creek Path, and other well used parts of our path network. The debate has recently been re-ignited by the city’s proposal to allow electric bikes on the multi-use paths for the next year as a trial.
Plenty of well meaning suggestions have been made to alleviate the conflicts — better signage, more enforcement of the existing 15 mph speed limit, education and outreach campaigns — along with the predictable complaints from each side about the bad behavior of the other: careless roadies zipping by at 20 miles an hours without any warning, careening around blind curves and underpasses on the wrong side of the path. Deaf iPod zombies walking dogs on 12 foot long leashes while they meander unpredictably. Etc.
Yesterday the Boulder Greenways Advisory Committee killed the Fourmile Creek Path because of objections from the NIMBYs living near the right-of-way. Separated off-street infrastructure that’s available year round is vital to getting kids on bikes, and seeing them as a real mode of transportation. Political will is essential to build for the future even when the nearby and present interests are opposed. Without some backbone here, we’re never going to get a transportation system that isn’t wholly dependent on fossil fuels, or streets that are built for human beings.
I spent some time this afternoon sitting alongside the Boulder Creek Path out east of where it joins up with the Goose Creek Path, heading toward the ocean of office parks that employ a significant chunk of Boulder, a 7 minute ride from my house at 21st and Walnut. As the sun headed for the continental divide, I took a picture of (almost) every bike that went by. Over 48 minutes, I saw 75 bikes.
Looking at the photos after the fact, I did some counting and found some things out about cyclists in Boulder.