The Bus Line Gets a Facelift
You know the HOP. At this point, the white bus with the garden paint job is as recognizable to locals as the Flatirons (although decidedly less photogenic at sunset). The HOP exists in Boulder’s collective subconscious; so ubiquitous that it no longer registers a reaction.
But where exactly does the HOP go? The HOP’s sister lines are almost as easily identified by their route as by their paint. The SKIP covers Broadway, the BOLT goes Boulder to Longmont, the JUMP runs along Arapahoe, etc. The HOP is more complex. It runs up around campus, and swings downtown, and definitely passes down 29th Street, and doesn’t it go up to Chautauqua for concerts in the summer?
Originally, the HOP was conceived as a loop connecting CU to the 29th Street Mall to Downtown. These remain among Boulder’s most vital organs, but in the 20+ years since inception, people are now living farther from the HOP’s route. Along some stretches, the HOP is full, but other sections are less used.
How Will the HOP Change?
Given the HOP’s centrality, the City of Boulder is collaborating with a variety of users to improve the route. Children, students, residents and the Stakeholder Advisory Committee all contributed ideas. With so much input, and a formal study into the HOP, city planners have landed on a two-step plan.
Beginning in 2018, the HOP’s current route will be segmented into four independent, linear routes: one connecting Downtown to Boulder Junction via Pearl Street, one running between campus and Boulder Junction via 29th Street when CU is in session, one running between Pearl Street and campus along Folsom, and a fourth from CU to Downtown along 9th. The longer-term Phase II will aim to expand each of these routes to accommodate even more of an ever-expanding Boulder.
In the coming months, the city will continue outreach to help with naming and branding each route, but rest assured, the HOP will still be everywhere, just no longer all a loop.