Big Plans at Work in Boulder Toward Vision Zero
The City of Boulder takes walking, biking and busing seriously. To reach its vision of safety for all, the city is planning a number of projects designed to improve safety and comfort when getting around Boulder. These efforts include corridor and transit feasibility studies, capital improvement projects and revitalizing the neighborhood traffic mitigation program. Others focus on developing awareness around the dangers of distracted driving, identifying a “low-stress network” for bicycling and walking, and updating the city’s pedestrian plan.
Toward Vision Zero
The city’s Toward Vision Zero safety objective is at the root of all the work we do. This commitment was defined in the 2014 Transportation Master Plan and aims to eliminate traffic-related injuries and fatalities. This objective reflects a national and worldwide approach to innovate and use a datadriven, interdisciplinary approach to improving safety throughout the community.
The 2016 Safe Streets Boulder Report provides the framework for the city’s safety initiatives. Work continues in the four E’s — Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Evaluation — to achieve the report’s goals.
In February 2017, the Boulder Transportation Division formed the Toward Vision Zero Community Partnership to foster ongoing implementation and support of the city’s safety strategies, including crash mitigation strategies. The Community Partnership will also co-develop and broadcast traffic safety education and awareness messages, such as addressing impaired and distracted driving, bicycling and walking.
Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Program
The Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Program (NTMP) designs and implements education and enforcement efforts. When the city created the NTMP in the early 1990s, it also included a variety of engineering treatments; however, funding for these was eliminated during the economic downturn in the early 2000s.
In October 2016, Boulder City Council directed city staff and the Transportation Advisory Board to explore restoring the engineering treatments to the NTMP for consideration in the 2018 budget. If the City Council accepts their proposal this fall, then the city will begin determining the affected streets and other details to implement them.
Low-Stress Network Analysis
When you get in a car, you rarely question whether the road can get you to your destination. When you’re walking or biking, you want the same confidence; you need a connected, low-stress walking and cycling network to get from here to there comfortably and conveniently.The city will use People for Bikes’ City Snapshot network connectivity tool to identify and analyze this low-stress network, looking at current roadway conditions, speed limits, traffic volume, presence and type of bike facilities and likely origins and destinations. Analysis of this mapping exercise will assess the level of traffic stress for Boulder’s network.
The analysis will be validated by comparing data from the Ride Report mobile application, neighborhood meetings and street audits, close call reports, and the use of a new technological invention called the Liberty Bell. Developed in Dublin, Ireland, the Liberty Bell allows cyclists to document conditions and experiences while cycling. Ringing the bell sends a signal to your mobile device which later prompts you the option to report why you rang your bell, such as encountering a pothole or a close call. Liberty Bell developers were the recent winners of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Rad X Challenge to improve safety. The end goal is to increase the number of people who walk and bike and connect to transit on a daily basis for most types of trips. Interested in being a participant in the data collection effort? Just let us know.
Boulder’s Transportation Master Plan’s goal is to make a safe, connected system for everyone to walk throughout the community and to connect with other forms of travel. The City’s Pedestrian System Plan was originally developed in 1996 and is scheduled to be updated this year, then move into a more detailed analysis of opportunities to enhance pedestrian-related practices and guidelines — including creating an American with Disabilities (ADA) transition plan — in 2018. Dovetailed with the Low-Stress Multimodal Network Analysis, the 2017-18 update process will collaborate with residents, employees, students, and agency partners, and partner with the Boulder Walks program.