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Guest opinion: George Craft: Baseline Road safety project is a waste of time, money and effort


By George Craft

We’ve lived just off Baseline road for over four decades. Now the City of Boulder is going to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. The city will be spending huge amounts of money to add “protected intersection treatments, bike lane protections, transit improvement, and pedestrian crossing improvements at intersections and other key locations” on Baseline Road.

Why? Why bother?

More than a half-dozen years ago the city installed some bollards to “protect” the bike lane. The road is very wide in both directions and there is plenty of space for bikes to travel and for pedestrians to walk or run in the right lane without plastic tubes sticking up. What’s been the result of the bollards? They are routinely mowed down. Snow removal is impeded. Street crossings are hampered. The bollards are a joke as “protection.”

Baseline Road is three lanes wide in each direction with a speed limit of 40 mph. The width of the road encourages speeding, and bollards and curbs are not going to stop it. If the road were narrowed, perhaps by allowing parking, the visual effect would be to slow traffic. Allowing parking would also relieve the heavy burden of student parking in the neighborhood.

Improvements have already been made to Baseline Road between Broadway and Foothills Parkway. There are three tunnels. There is a flashing light crossing. Each surface crossing has been updated with curbs and markings and raised crosswalks. There is no need to spend more money.

There are many more meaningful alternatives to wasting time, effort and money on Baseline Road. How about a protected bike lanes on 29th Street, 30th Street, Broadway, Canyon Blvd, Folsom and so many more truly dangerous pathways? How about tunnels and curbed intersections? Let’s put our effort where it will do the most good!

The Aurora 7 neighborhood, adjacent to the Baseline project, sorely needs the focus of the city planners and the effort foolishly squandered on the Baseline Project. As any resident can tell you, our neighborhood is overrun with speeders, illegal parkers and distracted drivers. Our narrow two-lane streets routinely see speeds of 45 mph. In their hurry to get to class, students park their cars intruding into driveways. They park in front of Stop signs obscuring them and blocking views of crossing traffic. Stop signs are needed at 33rd, 34th, 36th & 38th streets and the Frontage Road. The bollards the city placed at 35th Street and Aurora Ave have become a gymkhana course instead of slowing traffic. The city should spend time, money and effort to solve real problems, like these.

George Craft lives in Boulder.