I believe in transportation equity. This means that no matter what someone’s choice for mobility (bike, public transit, roller blade, skateboard, walking, car, motorcycle, ski, etc.), they should be provided a safe route in which to use their transportation choice. When options are limited to alternative transportation, but a four lane road exists, space should be changed to be more equitable. One lane, for instance, can be dedicated solely to mass transit. Or, a lane can be removed to allow for safer non-motorized travel.
The transportation sector is responsible for 13% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Cars lead to poor air quality, poor water quality due to runoff, and, as I’ve heard many Boulderites mention, traffic congestion. I have a solution.
Bikes. Walking. Running. Mass transit.
Boulder is unwilling to house folks who make less than $17/hr, or $34/hr with children. So these folks, namely service providers and teachers, are expected to commute in from elsewhere in Boulder County, or even out of the county. So how can we expect them to use the above forms of transportation?
There’s two answers. One, is that we can’t. We just have to house more people. It feels good to get cozy, as long as we’re not trying to drive. Cozy living means ease of using “alternative” transportation – there’s not too far to go, so, time-wise, biking, walking, and running are more efficient than driving. For those whose physical abilities do not allow for these activities, we need to continue to offer RTD’s call-and-ride and Via’s mobility services.
The other answer is that we improve infrastructure to allow those who choose to bike or bus commute ways to do this safely and in a time-efficient manner. My favorite way to encourage biking is through separated bike lanes. Where space allows, the barriers should be islands with live plants. This adds beauty for everyone. There is concern in Boulder about being able to maintain these plants, so “green barriers” can be saved for spaces with easy creek or water pipe access.
I support the US-36 bus lane that allows the bus to travel just as fast (if not faster) than other traffic, in order to encourage bus commute.
I support preventing cars from entering an urban area. I think it’s important for families to be able to walk with their children and not fear for their safety. I recognize the value of prohibiting bikes on Pearl Street, and I think that bicyclists deserve a similar protection; more spaces where they are encouraged to go and cars are not allowed, and people on foot are allowed at their own risk.
I would like to see more festivals such as Green Streets. I get frustrated when I have somewhere I need to go and all of a sudden my highway turns into a mob of pedestrians (for example, during the Farmers’ Market and the Creek Fest). Then I remember the community value of these events and I don’t mind as much, but I get frustrated again when I think about not having driving privilege. When driver’s streets are shut down (for example, for the Bolder Boulder or IRONMAN), there are notices during the weeks leading up to the events so that drivers understand to plan alternate routes. I have not seen this same courtesy extended to bicyclists or other people using the creek paths on the days those paths are closed to high-speed commutes. I believe we need to treat non-drivers with the same (or greater, since they’re doing less harm to our world) respect as drivers; either through more notices of events with detour signs in place, or more shutting down of car streets without notice.
A dream of mine for the past few years has been to build a bike bus; 2 adult-sized bikes welded together to transport a group of children, who also have their own pedals so they can add to the bike power if they want. Now all I need is a funder, a month free, the materials and a welder.
There are a lot of reasons people choose transportation other than cars. Sometimes it’s to protect the environment. Sometimes it’s to get exercise and stay healthy. Sometimes it’s for purely economic reasons. It’s more important to me to protect the right to cleaner environment, the right to health, and the right to transport oneself in a less expensive way than to protect the right of folks who feel entitled to take up more space, pollute, and put others’ safety at risk.
It’s hard for a lot of people to imagine a world unknown. But when someone sitting behind a heavy vehicle that could easily kill me claims that their voice should be just as loud (if not louder) as someone whose life is in risk every day, I just don’t believe them.
This website is supported by Cha Cha for Boulder Council.