The design is based on long-standing Dutch standards, and actually embodies the prioritization of modes that Boulder’s TMP lays out (but which our physical infrastructure often fails to implement). These are intersections that just about anyone can walk or ride or drive through safely and with minimal stress. They’re not standard in the US. Yet. Let’s change that!
A great series of 5 posts from Charles Mahron at Strong Towns on how the suburban growth pattern we’ve seen in the US for the last 60 years is indistinguishable from a growth Ponzi scheme. We use federal (or sometimes state) money to make capital investments, but leave the maintenance and operational costs to local governments, which usually have no revenue source sufficient to fulfill that obligation — because this type of development does not come anywhere close to being economically productive enough to pay its own way in terms of tax revenues. For a while you can continue this by making ever larger capital transfers for more growth… but like all Ponzi schemes, it eventually collapses in ruin.
On street bike parking (bike corrals) have become very popular with local street-level businesses in Portland, Oregon. I think it’s time for Boulder to regularize our bike corral program. We need to get some decent non-diagonal racks in there with higher capacity, like the Portland racks, and also create a process through which businesses can request the racks, and get them. Portland has nearly 100, by population, Boulder ought to have something like 16.
Rural counties across middle America are turning paved roads back into gravel. The WSJ article is from 2010, and I wonder to what extent this trend has continued. I can’t say that it seems like much of a loss. I suspect that much of the rural pavement was laid down without a good understanding of how much O&M it was committing the local governments to paying for. As state and federal budgets shrink, and counties are left to pay for their own infrastructure, they realize that maybe cheaper gravel and lower speeds are actually a better value proposition.
The Dutch know how to build bike infrastructure like nobody else. Their network of bikeways is made up of 3 main street typologies. One is quiet, low-speed (<20mph) residential streets that offer through access to bikes and pedestrians, but not to cars (known as bike boulevards or neighborhood greenways in the US). The second is physically separated bike lanes that parallel higher speed motorized thoroughfares, and have priority at intersections. The third is fully separated bike paths, which are not shared with pedestrians or strollers or pogostick riders, and which are wide enough for two riders side-by-side in each direction. Getting this stuff built in the US is a political issue, not a technical one.
The Goss-Grove neighborhood is a quiet residential enclave in the center of Boulder, bounded by Canyon to the north, Arapahoe to the south, 17th St. to the west, and Folsom to the east. It’s quiet largely because it’s nearly cut off from the rest of the street network. The only through access to the area for cars is 22nd Street, which connects Canyon and Arapahoe north-south. At the same time though, the area is relatively permeable to bikes and pedestrians, with little pocket parks and community gardens making some of the north-south connections at 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd Streets, which all connect Arapahoe and Canyon. Running east-west, Grove Street becomes Grove Circle, connecting 15th all the way to Folsom St. for pedestrians.
If you’re willing to walk through the parking lot by James Travel and Mondo Robot, you can get all the way from the Farmer’s Market to McGuckins on very quiet streets.
As a bicyclist, you can get through too, but it’s not designed to make it easy. With some relatively minor changes to the Grove corridor, we’d be well on the way toward creating a Neighborhood Greenway like the ones Portland, Oregon has been putting in. Streetfilms looked at them in this video:
In the post-war era (the 1950s and 1960s) the Netherlands started down the car-dependent re-development path. Much of the country needed to be re-built, and the nation became wealthy quickly, and then oil and gas were discovered off shore. Then they realized that designing for the automobile came at far too high a price in both blood and treasure and mass protests nationwide reversed the country’s transportation investment policies, returning to the human powered cities we’ve build for millennia. Change is possible.