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Biking for Bus Commuters Just Got Easier


14th St. Transit Center Bus-then-Bike Shelter (graphic courtesy Sopher-Sparn Architects, via Sue Prant)

On Wednesday, January 28, hardy cyclists—some of whom do it daily—will take to the streets and bike ways for Winter Bike to Work and School Day. For more than 30 years, locals have taken to the streets in force for Bike to Work Day each June, but for the last seven years we’ve helped the city to promote Winter Bike Day in hopes folks will give winter commuting a try and maybe form a new, healthy habit.  There are a dozen local organizations committed to serving up food and hot drinks for riders from 7 to 9 a.m., and we greatly thank them for their help in growing this annual event.

On the same day at noon, Boulder County, City of Boulder and transportation advocates will mark completion of the Boulder Transit Center capital improvement project, including the opening of a modern Bus-then-Bike shelter that will offer 140 secure, free bike parking spots for registered commuters. Several years ago this was just a dream, but quietly work has commenced over the last couple of years and now citizens can see their tax dollars at work by visiting the 14th and Walnut Streets transit center.

The redesign of the Boulder Transit Center was a two-phase project made possible through a mix of public funding, including Boulder Capital Improvement Bond (Ballot 2A) passed by Boulder voters in 2011, a Colorado Department of Transportation FASTER grant, and the Regional Transportation District. Ballot Issue 2A allowed the city to borrow up to $49 million to accomplish specific critical items in the Capital Improvements Program, including fire and police equipment, library and recreation center improvements, and transportation system enhancements, among other improvements.

Phase 1 began in May 2013 and was completed in October 2013. It included better access and accommodations for buses, bicycles and pedestrians, including:

  • saw tooth bus bays for improved transit operations and passenger access;
  • crosswalk “bulb-outs” to shorten pedestrian crossing distances;
  • through-traffic restrictions, including permanently closing a one-block section of 14th Street between Walnut Street and Canyon Boulevard to general vehicular traffic; and
  • urban-design elements.

Phase 2: Bus-then-Bike Shelter completed

Phase 2 improvements were initiated in October and include completing access and accommodation improvements for bicyclists accessing the Boulder Transit Center. This second phase of improvements includes a new, Bus-then-Bike shelter that can accommodate up to 140 bikes through a modern, double-decker rack system, additional bike parking outside the shelter, better lighting and even a vending system for basic bike parts and supplies. Blue Spruce Construction is wrapping up the bike shelter and improvements, following the pedestrian-friendly plans of Sopher Sparn Architects of Boulder, this month.

Boulder County created the Bus-then-Bike program in 2011 to encourage individuals to use bus transit in combination with bike travel to complete trips to work, school or general visits. The original Bus-then-Bike shelters were funded by Boulder County Transportation and a Denver Regional Council of Governments grant. The program includes free, secure bike shelters at four Boulder County locations and keycard access for registered users. The four bike shelters are located at:

  • 28th and Iris Streets, Boulder (31-bike capacity);
  • Roosevelt Park/ 8th & Coffman Park-n-Ride, Longmont (31-bike capacity);
  • Table Mesa Park-n-Ride, Boulder (31-bike capacity); and
  • 14th and Walnut Streets, Boulder Transit Center (140-bike capacity).

The program supports commuters to use regional transit by improving first and final mile links to and from bus stops and decreases travel time delays on the regional transit associated with loading and unloading bikes.

Commuters obtain a keycard from Boulder County Transportation Department by registering at Boulder County activates the keycard for shelters that registrants indicate they will access. There are currently 195 people registered for the shelters.

With the official grand opening of the Boulder Transit Center and the inclusion of a new Bus-then-Bike shelter, there are currently 233 free, secure parking spots for bikes at the four shelters. If you’d like to celebrate the opening of the downtown center, please join us at noon at the center. We’ll hear remarks from a few folks closely involved in the project and enjoy some warm refreshments and cake.

Sue Prant is the executive director of Community Cycles. She commutes by bike year-round, except when it’s really icy outside. With 2,000 members, Community Cycles is a nonprofit organization that educates and advocates for the safe use of bicycles in Boulder County.

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