Every other day, the Daily Camera reports how the daily commute of outsiders into Boulder hurts our city. To put the story simply, most people commute to Boulder because there are a lot of jobs but not that many places to live.
Not only has the great city of Boulder has become more congested, polluted and angry because of this awful traffic; it’s also more expensive, which has made it less affordable for students and cool kids, therefore making it less fun, which makes it less interesting, transforming Boulder into a place I’m less excited to go into every day.
I walk through the Pearl Street Mall, downtown and the Hill but barely recognize half the businesses. So much of Boulder’s flavor has become suburban. Nobody wants that. Or at least, I don’t.
When you tell somebody you live in Boulder, they should said, “Oh, I hear that’s awesome!” But now I find myself saying, “Oh, it USED TO be awesome. Now it’s kind of like Highlands Ranch, isn’t it?” I want to brag about the wildness of my city’s residents, the quirkiness of the cafÃ©s, the coolness of the live music scene and the homeyness of the bar life.
I don’t want to just remember my city as a place I used to like, but now it’s only one of many interchangeable Colorado cities that have been eaten up by carpetbaggers and suburbanites from out of state. I feel like in five years, the entire Rocky Mountain State will be track housing, marijuana dispensaries and cellphone stores.
So what can we do? Thanks for asking! For years, Boulder has talked about ending the rule that stops you from building tall buildings and tearing up all the open space. That would make space available but also turn our city into a place that looks exactly like all the other towns that ruined with their skylines of foothills with tall buildings.
So don’t build up; build down. Dig giant holes for buildings called “underscrapers.” Yeah, you might not wake up with the sun shining in your face, go to sleep with a view of the Flatirons or get enough Vitamin D, but there are videos, mirrors and pills for that.
Underscrapers won’t just be for low-income housing, but also luxury. And for me. As long as I don’t have to fight an ancient tribe of underground monsters, I don’t mind dwelling downstairs. I live in a crappy basement apartment already.
Building my underscrapers will create less traffic and shorter commute times as well as keeping the view pretty.
Next, build a monorail or a subway. I haven’t decided which is cooler. I’m sure there are plenty of other stupid ideas I can come up with, but I’m running out of space on this column and don’t feel like writing more.
Boulder is different. It should be awesome and not just the same as any other nearby city.
So, who wants to hire me?