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Monday January 30th 2023

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That's what she said

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Bike Share Comes to Boulder


from staff memo,

On Thursday, December 2nd, 2010, Randle Rutsch from the City of Boulder Planning Department presented the Boulder B-Cycles system to the Boulder Planning Board. The Boulder B-Cycle program is a citywide, not-for-profit, short term bike rental program. The stations are scheduled to go into operation on the Earth Day, 2011.

The hype around bike-sharing started in Lyon, France in 2005 and quickly spread to metropolitan centers across Europe. In April 2010, bike-share contagion reached Colorado with the successful realization of the Denver B-Cycle system.

Recognizing the momentum and shared values motivating bike-share services, in 2009, the Boulder issued a request for proposals looking for a provider to implement bike-share in Boulder. Around the same time, the city received a quarter of a million in seed dollars from the federal government. When the Boulder B-Cycle system goes into operation in spring of next year, Boulder will be the first small-to-middle sized community in the world to have a full service, managed bike-share program.

Given Boulder’s persistent desire to create a bike friendly community, the partnership between the City of Boulder and Boulder B-Cycles should be little surprise. The proposed program supports the city’s low carbon and environmental goals as well as reduces citywide traffic. Targeted users of the system are out of town visitors, downtown employees, and metro-Denver commuters. Daily, some 10,000 bus commuters come into the City of Boulder. A strong argument for a bike-share system is that it addresses the challenge of “the last mile”. This is the last leg of a commute that often challenges commuters in transitioning from buses to the work place.

Before Boulder B-Cycle bikes and kiosks arrive on the streets of Boulder, several city code issues still must be addressed. Paramount is Boulder’s moratorium on most forms of signage and billboards in the public domain. As the financing exists for the Boulder B-Cycles program, much of the bike-share system is to be subsidized through the selling of advertising. Signage will occur on bike baskets and by way of sponsorship of bike kiosk stations.  But, the city’s current law makes both adverts on the bikes and on kiosks illegal.

Recognizing this impediment, Rutsch from the city’s planning department stood before the Boulder’s Planning Board asking they approve forwarding a proposal to City Council that would, in effect, make limited changes to the city code to allow for advertising that subsidizes environmentally friendly transportation alternatives.

After a brief question and answer period, Planning Board member Tim Plass motioned for a vote, seconded by Willa Johnson. The board unanimously voted to forward the recommended code changes to City Council.

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