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A Transportation Vision For Boulder—Recommendations


By

Editor’s note: The Blue Line has been running a serialized version of PLAN-Boulder County’s A Transportation Vision for Boulder. This is the final installment: Section 5, Recommendations. To read the entire paper, start with the Introduction.


By Payton Chung from Chicago, USA (Shared street/boulevard) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Payton Chung from Chicago, USA (Shared street/boulevard) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Transportation is a zero-sum game: each time we improve motorist comfort or convenience by widening a road, adding a turn lane, making a road a one-way street, adding more free parking, or synchronizing traffic signals, we reduce the comfort and convenience of all other forms of travel. Transit, walking, and bicycling inevitably become less common because car travel becomes more pleasant, and pleasant car travel makes non-car travel less pleasant and more dangerous. More trips by car—rather than by transit, bicycle, or foot—lead to more gas consumption and carbon emissions. Ironically, widened free roads, larger amounts of free parking, and other techniques to ease car travel make the experience worse for drivers as well, because the induced car trips quickly create congested road and parking conditions.

Sections 1-4 of this paper presented the rationale for a new paradigm in transportation planning in Boulder. The recommendations that follow from those sections are offered below:

  • Establish a rural-to-urban transect system for land use and transportation patterns in Boulder.
  • Retain or strengthen the clustering of development in existing and emerging town centers.
  • De-emphasize the use of higher speed car traffic and easy car parking as a measure of community quality of life.
  • End the policy of promoting motor vehicle capacity increases in street design as a means of reducing air emissions.
  • Design new housing to provide a compact, walkable lifestyle in town centers and transit centers.
  • Facilitate households needing fewer cars by reducing travel distances to daily needs and improving access to the transit system.
  • Make car parking more efficient by de-emphasizing minimum parking requirements and moving toward maximum parking caps, unbundling the price of housing from the price of parking, allowing more sharing of parking, and pricing a larger percentage of parking.
  • Give priority to pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders for the timing of signal lights, access, safety, and speed of travel, particularly in the town center.
  • Incrementally shrink the excessive allocation of space (for roads, intersections, and parking areas) given over to motor vehicles, excessive motor vehicle speeds, excessive automobile subsidies, and excessive distances to daily destinations.
  • Impose a moratorium on the installation of intersection double left-turn lanes and eventually remove such configurations – particularly in the more urbanized areas of Boulder.
  • Increase the use of user fees for roads and parking.
  • Revitalize the traffic calming program for streets with excessive, dangerous motor vehicle speeds.
  • Emphasize driver attentiveness in street design rather than encouraging driver forgiveness. Similarly, emphasize life safety rather than fire safety.
  • Evaluate the conversion of one-way streets back to their historic operation as two-way streets
  • Reduce regional car trips by creating a better balance between the number of jobs and the number of homes.

References

Smart Transportation and Smart Land Use

Nozzi, Dom. Road to Ruin: An Introduction to Sprawl and How to Cure It. Praeger Publishers, 2003.

Efficient Parking

Shoup, Donald (2005). The High Cost of Free Parking. Planners Press/American Planning Association.

Air Emissions

Cassady, Alison; Tony Dutzik and Emily Figdor (2004). More Highways, More Pollution: Road Building and Air Pollution in America’s Cities, U.S. PIRG Education Fund (www.uspirg.org). http://www.opr.ca.gov/docs/PreliminaryEvaluationTransportationMetrics.pdf

Gorham, Roger (2009), Demystifying Induced Travel Demand, Sustainable Transportation Technical Document, Sustainable Urban Transportation Project (www.sutp.org). Available at:  www.sutp.org/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=1461

Hymel, K. M., Kenneth A. Small and Kurt Van Dender (2010). Induced Demand and Rebound Effects in Road Transport, Transportation Research B (www.elsevier.com/locate/trb).

ICF Consulting (2005). Handbook on Integrating Land Use Considerations into Transportation Projects to Address Induced Growth, prepared for AASHTO Standing Committee on the Environment. Available at: www.trb.org/NotesDocs/25-25(3)_FR.pdf.

Litman, T. (2001). Generated Traffic; Implications for Transport Planning, ITE Journal, Vol. 71, No. 4, Institute of Transportation Engineers (www.ite.org), April, 2001, pp. 38-47. Available at: www.vtpi.org/gentraf.pdf.

Litman, T. (2010). Changing Vehicle Travel Price Sensitivities: The Rebounding Rebound Effect, VTPI (www.vtpi.org); atwww.vtpi.org/VMT_Elasticities.pdf.

Noland, R. B. and Lewison L. Lem (2002). A Review of the Evidence for Induced Travel and Changes in Transportation and Environmental Policy in the US and the UK, Transportation Research D, Vol. 7, No. 1 (www.elsevier.com/locate/trd), January, pp. 1-26.

Noland, Robert and Mohammed A. Quddus (2006). Flow Improvements and Vehicle Emissions: Effects of Trip Generation and Emission Control Technology, Transportation Research D, Vol. 11 (www.elsevier.com/locate/trd), pp. 1-14; also see www.cts.cv.ic.ac.uk/documents/publications/iccts00249.pdf. And https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/5289)

Shefer, D. & P. Rietvald (1997). Congestion and Safety on Highways: Towards an Analytical Model, Urban Studies, Vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 679-692.

Sierra Club: http://vault.sierraclub.org/sprawl/articles/hwyemis.asp

TRB (1995). Expanding Metropolitan Highways: Implications for Air Quality and Energy Use, Committee for Study of Impacts of Highway Capacity Improvements on Air Quality and Energy Consumption, Transportation Research Board, Special Report #345 (www.trb.org)

TRISP (2005). Treatment of Induced Traffic, Economic Evaluation Notes, UK Department for International Development and the World Bank (www.worldbank.org). Available at: http://go.worldbank.org/ME49C4XOH0. Summarizes transport project evaluation methods suitable for developing country applications.

UKERC (2007). ‘Rebound Effects’ Threaten Success of UK Climate Policy, UK Energy Research Centre (www.ukerc.ac.uk); at www.ukerc.ac.uk/MediaCentre/UKERCPressReleases/Releases2007/0710ReboundEffects.aspx.

UKERC (2009). What Policies Are Effective At Reducing Carbon Emissions From Surface Passenger Transport? UK Energy Research Centre; at www.ukerc.ac.uk/ResearchProgrammes/TechnologyandPolicyAssessment/0904TransportReport.aspx.

Williams-Derry, Clark (2007). Increases in Greenhouse-Gas Emissions from Highway-WideningProjects, Sightline Institute (www.sightline.org); at www.sightline.org/research/energy/res_pubs/analysis-ghg-roads

Right-of-Way Reallocation

Burden, D. and P. Lagerwey (1999). Road Diets: Fixing the Big Roads  http://www.walkable.org/assets/downloads/roaddiets.pdf

Complete Streets: Prince Avenue. Improving Road Efficiency. http://completestreetsprince.org/safety-by-design/improving-road-efficiency/ [accessed July 15, 2014]

Falbo, N (2013. The Traffic Analysis Results Are (Sort of) In. http://fosterunited.org/the-traffic-analysis-results-are-sort-of-in/

Gates, T. J., Noyce, D.A., Talada, V., & Hill, L. (2007). The safety and operational effects of “road diet” conversions in Minnesota. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board. http://pubsindex.trb.org/document/view/default.asp?lbid=801948

Kittleson and Associates (2011). Road Diet White Paper. http://www.ashland.or.us/Files/Road%20Diets%20White%20Paper.pdf

Libby Thomas, Senior Associate, UNC HSRC (2013). Road Diet Conversions: A Synthesis of Safety Research, May 2013. http://katana.hsrc.unc.edu/cms/downloads/WhitePaper_RoadDiets_PBIC.pdf

McCormick, C. York Blvd: The Economics of a Road Diet. http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/york_blvd_final_report_compress.pdf

National Complete Streets Coalition (2010). Ease Congestion. http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/complete-streets/implementation/factsheets/ease-congestion

Oregon Department of Transportation (2013). Systematic Safety Measures: Road Diet http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/docs/pdf/RoadDiets.pdf

Oregon Department of Transportation (2012). Talent Area Road Diet Analysis http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION3/docs/OR99TMRoadDietDRAFT09-04-12.pdf

Pedsafe. Lane Reduction (Road Diet) http://www.pedbikesafe.org/PEDSAFE/countermeasures_detail.cfm?CM_NUM=19

Rosales, J.A (2007). Road Diet Handbook – Overview http://www.oregonite.org/2007D6/paper_review/D4_201_Rosales_paper.pdf

Tan, C. H. (2011). Going on a Road Diet https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/11septoct/05.cfm

U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. Proven Safety Countermeasures: “Road Diet” (Roadway Reconfiguration). http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/fhwa_sa_12_013.htm

U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. Evaluation of Lane Reduction Road Diet” Measures on Crashes https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/10053/10053.pdf

Welch, T. (1999). The Conversion of Four-Lane Undivided Urban Roadways to Three-Lane Facilities. Presented at the Transportation Research Board / Institute for Transportation Engineers Urban Street Symposium, Dallas, TX, June 28-30, 1999. http://nacto.org/docs/usdg/conversion_of_four_lane_undivided_urban_roadways.pdf

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_diet [accessed July 15, 2014]

Travel Time Budget

Forbes, Gerald (1998). Vital Signs: Circulation in the Heart of the City – An Overview of Downtown Traffic. ITE Journal, August 1998.

Goddard, S.B. (1994). Getting There. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pg. 68.

Levinson, D., and Kumar, A. (1995). Activity, travel, and the allocation of time. APA Journal. 61 (4): 458-470. American Planning Association, Chicago. Autumn, pp. 458–70.

Manning, I. (1978). The Journey to Work. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.

Neff, J. W. (1996). Substitution Rates Between Transit and Automobile Travel. Presented at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Charlotte, N.C., April 1996.

Newman, P., and Kenworthy, J. (1989). Cities and Automobile Dependence: An international sourcebook. Gower, Aldershot, England, p. 106.

Stokes, G. (1994). Travel Time Budgets and Their Relevance for Forecasting the Future Amount of Travel. In Transport Planning Methods: PTRC European Transport Forum Proceedings. University of Warwick, pp. 25-36.

Szalai, A. (Ed.) (1972). The Use of Time: Daily Activities of Urban and Suburban Populations in Twelve Countries. Mouton, The Hague.

Wikipedia. Marchetti’s constant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marchetti’s_constant

Zahavi, Yacov. Metropolitan Travel Survey Archive. http://www.surveyarchive.org/zahavi.html

Zahavi, Y., and Ryan, J.M. (1980). Stability of Travel Components Over Time. Transportation Research Record. 750: 19-26.

Motorist Subsidies

Delucchi, M. (Inst. of Transportation Studies, UC Davis, CA 95616) (1996). A Total Cost of Motor-Vehicle Use. Access, Spring 1996.

Ketcham, B. & C. Komanoff (1992). Win-Win Transportation: A No-Losers Approach To Financing Transport in New York City and the Region. KEA, 270 Lafayette #400, New York 10012; July 1992.

Litman, T. (1998). Transportation Cost Analysis; Techniques, Estimates and Implications. Victoria Transport Policy Institute, 1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, Canada.

Litman, T. & E. Doherty (2009). Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis Techniques, Estimates and Implications. VTPI.

Litman, T. (2013). Whose Roads? Evaluating Bicyclists’ and Pedestrians’ Right to Use Public Roadways. 11 December 2013. Victoria Transport Policy Institute. http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf

MacKenzie, J., R. Dower & D. Chen (1992). The Going Rate: What It Really Costs To Drive. World Resources Institute, 1709 New York Ave NW, Washington DC 20006; June 1992.

Miller, P. & J. Moffet (1993). The Price of Mobility. Natural Resources Defense Council, 71 Stevenson l #1825, San Francisco CA 94105, 415-777-0220; Oct 1993.

Office of Technology Assessment (1994). Saving Energy in U.S. Transportation. U.S. Congress, OTA-ETI-589.

Sierra Club. America’s Autos On Welfare in 2010: A Summary of Subsidies. http://vault.sierraclub.org/sprawl/articles/subsidies.pdf [accessed July 15, 2014]

One-Way Streets

Baco, M.E. (2009). One-way to Two-way Street Conversions as a Preservation and Downtown Revitalization Tool: The Case Study of Upper King Street, Charleston, South Carolina. http://www.ci.hillsboro.or.us/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=3828

Brovitz, Ted (2000). Converting Downtown Streets from One-Way to Two-Way Yields Positive Results. The Urban Transportation Monitor.

Chiu, Yi-Chang, Xuesong Zhou, and Jessica Hernandez (2007). Evaluating Urban Downtown One-Way to Two-Way Street Conversion using Multiple Resolution Simulation and Assignment Approach. Journal of Urban Planning and Development 133, no. 4 (2007): 222.

Ecologically Sustainable Design Pty Ltd (2005). Summary Report on the Conversion of One-Way Streets to Two-Way Streets in North American Town Centres. Victoria, Australia: Prepared for the Midland Redevelopment Authority. Available by request through Ecologically Sustainable Design Pty Ltd.

Edwards, J. D (2002). Converting One-Way Streets to Two-Way: Managing Traffic on Main Street. Washington, D.C.: The National Trust’s Main Street Center. http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/main-street-news/2002/06/converting-one-way-to-two-way.html

Walker, G. Wade, Walter M. Kulash, and Brian T. McHugh (1999). Downtown Streets: Are we Strangling Ourselves on One-Way Networks?


The mission of PLAN-Boulder County is to ensure environmental sustainability, promote far-sighted, innovative, and sustainable land use and growth patterns, preserve the area’s unique character and desirability, and reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact.

PLAN-Boulder County envisions Boulder County as mostly rural with open land between cities and towns that support working farms on good agricultural land and provides for conservation of critical habitats for wildlife and native flora. Within Boulder and neighboring communities, urban boundaries limit sprawl and growth is directed to meet community goals of housing affordability, diversity of all kinds, environmental sustainability, neighborhood identity, and a high quality of life. PLAN-Boulder County further supports green building practices that minimize energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, PLAN-Boulder County supports a more balanced transportation system that actively promotes public transit, bicycle commuting, and pedestrian travel, and provides for smarter use of automobiles.

The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the various city and county organizations with which the authors are affiliated.

Dom Nozzi, principal author of this paper, is a member of the PLAN-Boulder County Board of Directors and the City of Boulder Transportation Advisory Board. Mr. Nozzi has a BA in environmental science from SUNY Plattsburgh and a Master’s in town planning from Florida State Univ. For 20 years, he was a senior planner for Gainesville, Forida and was also a growth rate control planner for Boulder. He has authored several land development regulations for Gainesville, has given over 90 transportation speeches nationwide, and has had several transportation essays published in newspapers and magazines. His books include Road to Ruin and The Car is the Enemy of the City. He is a certified Complete Streets Instructor providing Complete Streets instruction throughout the nation.

Pat Shanks, Jeff McWhirter, Alan Boles and Scott McCarey also contributed to this paper.

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