Open Boulder conducted an in-depth questionnaire (verbatim responses can be read below) and interviews with several candidates. Our criteria for endorsement were consistency with Open Boulder’s issue stances and broad vision for the City; record on Council, City board and/or civic engagement; and electability. Click here to view Open Boulder’s entire press release.
A City Council member should serve as a bridge between the citizens of the community and the city government. In addition to listening carefully to citizen concerns when crafting new or revised regulations, City Council members should also be facilitators for residents who are having trouble understanding or navigating city rules and regulations.
A City Council member should be a representative for the citizens of the city and a policy maker. The Council should try to set priorities for the city and guide the staff to execute the strategies.
informed and representative of the electors and larger public
Boulder’s governance structure is designed to run government in an objective, scientific fashion to maximize efficiency. The Council is the legislative branch and has the responsibility for effective government. The City Manager as the CEO manages the City at the Council’s direction. Why is it not working. The City Council fails to set priorities, and then is distracted by the minutiae of the day. They fail to actively assess the working of each City department. When problems are exposed, no one directs the manager to fix them, or holds her accountable. The results are no priorities are set, no movement is made on critical issues, and accountability is non-existent.
Council’s role is to legislate the municipal laws governing the city, and advise the city manager and attorney (and to a lesser extent, the municipal judge) on policy matters and implementation. It is our responsibility as Council members to do our homework to become well informed; seek out a diversity of viewpoints, especially from less-heard voices, and listen so people feel heard and understood; and then to represent the best interests of Boulder—balancing the interests of the few with the well-being of the many, and the immediate with the long-term—to the best of our ability based on our own unique perspectives and expertise. Our Council meetings are essential forums for the public to raise concerns, air grievances, and influence policy development. Councilmembers should also be available (within reason) to communicate directly with constituents, and attend City events to provide access to, and be the face of, local government.
A servant of the people.
A City Council member’s role should be to understand the needs and goals of the broader community and to engage in thoughtful, practical, and rigorous debate about policy decisions. Members should set policy based on unbiased staff and professional studies, recommendations and advice, while keeping in mind practical matters such as the costs and benefits to the community, and the ability to measure results. Similar to a Board of Directors, Council Members must oversee the implementation of policy by the City Manager. Council members must also measure the outcomes of established policy to determine if the desired goals and results are being achieved. If established policy is not delivering the expected benefits to the community, Council members must be willing to reconsider their decisions.
A council member is representative of the people. As such, he/she needs to equitably balance the concerns of the various constituencies so that the greater good is served. This also means guarding against the tyranny of the majority. Council member must be critical thinkers and not take information presented by staff or others at face value. They must scrutinize and analyze. The must also be creative thinkers and proactive. It is not enough to react to staff policy formulations, members must also create their own so there are breadth of ideas available in order to develop the best possible policies.
Council members should facilitate the process of a community choosing its future in a thoughtful, educated way. Council is a representative form of government, which I prefer. An effective “representative” must balance their personality (their political vision, worldview, intuition, experience, etc.) with public sentiment, pragmatism, compromise, and idealism. I reflect on FDR (and Eleanor), Teddy Roosevelt, LBJ, and Lincoln. These people all acted with vision, were manipulative to varying degrees, believed in power, power of the vote, and respected politics at its most basic source – public opinion. Democracies are held together not by fanatics but by people who listen to others, respect diverse opinions, and learn from their interaction with others. Having said that, consider John Brown. He was an extremist who acted in the face of extreme conditions (slavery), galvanized many, and fell on the right side of history. I am grateful for the “John Browns” of the world.
A City Council member’s role within an effective governance structure is best described as a representative of the citizens’ interests, which includes its residents, businesses, non-profits, and institutions. As part of the larger Council group, this role also extends to effectively managing our executive employees, to maintain a city budget that has financial reserves that protect the city in case of disaster and unforeseen circumstances, and to ensure the public has the safety and protection measures needed for a secure community.
Council’s role is not currently effective. Most live West of Broadway and are set in the City, hence they can afford to be on Council–as such they neither hear nor want to the people.
A city council member’s role is to represent all the citizens of Boulder. A council member is bound to operate within the requirements set out by the city charter. A council member is both a leader and a follower for their constituents, having an obligation to listen to the citizens and hear their concerns and aspirations as well as to lead on important issues. Within our city manager form of government, I view a council member’s role as one that should be primarily oriented to making policy decisions, with the implementation of the policy and the day-to-day running of the city left to the city manager and staff. A council member also always needs to remember that he/she is the face of the government to many people and being respectful of all, regardless of their views is essential.
A City Council member is elected to be a representative of the people and should engage with them to know their views and reflect this in the policies he/she espouses.
For Boulder’s City Council to be effective, it is crucial that constituents view the system as fair, transparent, and legitimate. I strongly believe that a Council member’s role, therefore, is to demonstrate leadership in articulating a shared vision of success for Boulder, and to find an appropriate balance between people-centered and data-driven decisions that will enhance the quality of life, ease disparities, and promote Boulder’s role within the State of Colorado, nationally, and internationally. I believe it is incumbent on each Council member to operate with transparency in decision-making, to ensure frequent and honest communications with key stakeholders and the community at-large, and to demand accountability by the City and its respective departments.
City council should exist to make decisions that affect Boulder in the present and the future. City council should (1) seek out input from residents, including residents who may not be able to go to council meetings (2) guide city staff to respond to resident’s input by researching effective strategies to provide residents with what they desire or need (3) listen to staff proposals (4) use staff advice to create effective action. City council should be changing laws as Boulder changes to ensure that Boulder changes responsibly.
Council’s role is to set policy for the city, after listening to the community and the city staff. Too often, Council micromanages city staff, deviates from the annual work plan established each January, or engages in ill-conceived experimentation. I set forth the responsibilities and priorities of Council in the first item of the Beliefs page of my campaign website: http://www.bobyatesboulder.com/beliefs. On Council, I will adhere to these principles.
There are concerns in some quarters of the community that our current election structure results in a council that is not fully representative of the whole community. One idea being proposed is to create districts that would each elect City Council members. Districts would guarantee a level of geographic diversity that we don’t currently have on council. That’s critically important in large cities, but I’m uncertain that Boulder is large enough to merit that approach.
A structure in which 4-5 council members representing specific geographical regions within the city and the remainder being “at-large” could get the Council closer to their communities and improve representation. In addition, I believe the mayor should be elected. This would not change the form of the Council.
no, except perhaps seven councilmembers instead of nine
The council-manager form of governance is how our City is supposed to work. The lack of accountability is one of the reasons it is not effective. Another is that all members are elected at large, seriously distorting the fairness of governance. Large swathes of the City lack any representation for their unique concerns. And while the majority rules, here they rule to the exclusion of much of the city. Boulder would be better served if the members were elected by wards or districts, providing a balance of perspectives, goals, and capabilities .
While no structure is without flaws, I think our current system works pretty well, especially compared to other cities in our region. Some have argued for having Councilmembers elected by wards; while that may give certain areas of the City better representation and result in a more geographically diverse Council, it could also lead to balkanization and fewer Councilmembers looking out for the good of the entire City. I believe having a weak mayor system also serves us well, by leaving day-to-day details to a highly competent, professional city administrator while the “peoples’ Council” focuses on policy matters. If we stay with this system, I think it’s fine to have the mayor chosen from among the at-large Councilmembers as this keeps the focus more on collective governance than on the politics and personality of the individual. But ultimately, it’s up to whether the people are satisfied with their government.
Yes, absolutely. All of Boulder’s neighborhoods aren’t properly represented. A simple districting can be implemented, while still allowing “at-large” seats on the Council.
In order for Council to represent a broader cross section of our Community I believe 6 of 9 Council members should be elected by Ward or District. Doing so will broaden the represented base of citizens/neighborhoods and require that Council members are accountable to constituents. I also believe this electoral method will result in broader political engagement in the Community.
I would like to see more discussion about “at large” versus “district” election of council members. I also would consider term limits. About 40,000 of 62,000 active voters voted in 2014, City election. Are these voters a diverse cross section of our population? Even if yes, we should, ongoing basis explore government structure that encourages people to act in their political interests. City population is around 103,000 so it appears elections are decided by 40% of the population.
No. Over the years, discussion of creating a district system in Boulder has occurred. Boulder even voted on this in 2003 and resoundingly rejected this notion by a margin of 2:1. Given the relatively small size of Boulder, such a system gives citizens much less representation (an individual only would have one representative rather than having 9 in the at-large system we currently have) and would fragment the city pitting one area of Boulder against another. Why would anyone think that would improve governance? And for what purpose? All parts of Boulder affect other parts of the city; we are interconnected, not fiefdoms. Also having a district-type system introduces moneyed and special interests to control a council seat, resulting in far less representation and consensus building among council members. I do not support a change in the mayoral system either. The mayor is an equal member of council who is elected Mayor to facilitate our meetings and represent the City at various forums. The current system works.
I’d love to see districts in the future in order that community leaders in neighborhood can be government leaders. This also opens economic and social diversity and a city more in tune to that. Potentially bad policy is shut down early.
While there have been discussions for many years about changing to a ward system or directly electing the mayor, I believe that the current system has served us quite well and should be retained. There are some benefits to a directly elected mayor. However, I prefer that all council members are elected in a similar fashion, and then the council gets to choose the best person for mayor given the council’s composition. A directly elected mayor could pose a challenge with regard to our city manager form of government, with the two clashing for control. I would also expect that the mayor’s race would be a big money campaign. A ward system could also have some benefits—geographic representation certainly— but my concern is that our representatives would become more parochial. It could also be easier for special interests to influence a ward election than one at large.
City Council’s directives to city staff should have great clarity, and programs and policies developed by city staff should be in line with these directives. Council should exercise greater control over city staff, in accordance with the views of the people.
I believe Boulder still benefits from community-wide perspectives that considers the best interests of the entire community. However, it is clear that the current system has resulted in the election of officials who seem to reflect a narrow band of interests that are not necessarily representative of most citizens. For that reason, I would be open to exploring optional city governance models that includes a mix of district and at-large representatives, as well as the potential for direct mayoral elections. I believe the district representatives would help ensure there is a voice for all areas of Boulder on issues that directly impact their local environment, while providing community-wide representation. One thing that I consider crucial is the degree to which the City conveys and shares information publicly. If elected, I would work to ensure that there is a robust and proactive public information effort across both traditional and social media.
Currently all council members are at large. While this means there are nine council members who should be listening to any Boulder resident regardless of where in the city they live, it also means that areas of town where political involvement is high will end up having more representation on council. We should convert 5 at-large representatives to district council members who serve one voting block, which could be divided by zip code, while keeping 4 at-large positions. Having districts with some local meetings would keep meetings closer to the communities they affect. District-specific affairs would happen at these local meetings, with the at-large representatives attending district meetings as well.
With incumbent Council members having a high re-election rate over the past generation, we should consider term limits for Council service so that under-represented segments of the community can be enticed to run. For example, with a two-term limit, on average at least half of the seats will be vacant at each Council election. With a greater chance of being elected, good people with fresh ideas will step up to serve the community, benefitting us all.
City Councilors dedicate a great deal of time to city business: not just in meetings, which run for hours, but in preparing for those meetings by reading public input and staff analysis of agenda items. It’s a serious issue, and one that I feel feeds into the second issue: a lack of diversity on the council. Time constraints and low compensation make it difficult for many people to entertain the idea of running for council. City council meetings should be run more efficiently and city council should be judicious about the topics they take on. An increase in pay for council, perhaps means-tested, could also attract a broader segment of the community.
From what I hear, time required on Council is a big issue. Council should be a strategic body, setting strategy and direction for the City. It should focus on no more than 3-4 big strategies or priorities each year. It’s not possible for a Council to be involved in as many issues as they are currently managing. That also reaches down to the City Staff, and it becomes overwhelming to all. I would decrease the number of initiatives and ensure that the initiatives were all supported by the broad community. In regards to diversity, we should take an active role in recruiting younger and more diverse candidates to our commissions and councils. For example, I am grooming a young woman for Council by naming her as my Campaign Chair. Even if I don’t win a seat, she will have learned in the process and may be willing and able to run in 2 years. Pay increases should be considered, but not for people running this year.
the time could be less; the diversity could be more; promote efficiency; promote qualified diverse candidates
The time required to serve, and the lack of representation are serious issues. Obviously, election by districts would improve the representation and diversity, and would reach out to many who today feel it is not worth their effort. But the availability of time is a natural selection process, and an exclusion process. A new concept of a shared council seat, much akin to job sharing, would expand the opportunities to serve, far beyond the current small pool of candidates. Serving in government is not meant to be a full time nor a lifetime job; but it is a responsibility of all citizens, and all should have access to the opportunity.
Yes, these are serious issues. The amount of time required to be a good Councilmember is immense and steadily increasing; we are already past 52 Council meetings for the year (in September!), plus we have Council assignments to serve on external boards. As such, only the rich, retired or extremely overworked can serve on Council, generally leaving out young parents and lower-income individuals such as renters. The result is a less diverse Council. We could cap the number of meetings and just do less, but that will be tough in our active community. Consequently, I support at least a modest increase in Council compensation so that Councilmembers who must work for a living can maybe work less than full-time or can cover costs like childcare. We also need to keep improving outreach to diverse populations and interests so they feel heard and included regardless of whether they serve on Council.
I wouldn’t say the time required to serve is nearly as serious an issue as lack of diversity. Again, implementing districts for City Council seats would help adjust some of the lack of diversity; it’s at least a good start.
I believe the time commitment required of Council members creates a challenge for people with full time jobs, like me, to participate. This naturally limits the candidate pool. On the other hand, the Boulder community requires and deserves a substantial time commitment by Council members to ensure good policy decisions are being made. I believe Council can be more efficient with its time by limiting the number of “big issues” or “big projects” to take on during any single year. This will allow City staff to focus their attention on fewer studies, analyses, and recommendations and is likely to result in enhanced work product. Council efficiency may be also be improved by requesting more concise study and recommendation materials.
Yes to both. I believe Boulder is large and complex enough to warrant making city council livable wage positions. I want my council members to be able to focus on the needs of the city rather than their service being extra curricular. This would also increase the council’s diversity in all respects since it is mostly limited to people who can afford to serve which means they will also be older and whiter. Engage Latina women with monthly networking meeting called “cafecitos” Attend and speak at events such as Amistad’s summit and day of the dead Engage with other organizations and participate in their diversity and inclusion events Reach out to CU and fed labs Lead a project for youth to tell their immigration stories at council open comment Identify BVCP policies to enhance Get on BCAR and SURG mailing list (Boulder coalition against racism, Standing up for racial justice)
Yes, to both. Increasing Council’s salary may allow low/middle income people to serve, a good thing for diverse opinion. We don’t know who’d serve but/for their lack of time, given their work/personal demands. Not everyone is political to the extent that serving on Council is appealing. Can Council work smarter, not harder? Council themselves can respect a 3 min. rule. Council considers complex issues, and the time required to understand them must be respected. Are there “shortcuts” to understanding public opinion? If the public wants to speak in mass on an agenda item, this is a “good” of local government, direct access to representatives.
It takes a significant time commitment to serve on Boulder’s council because individual council members take their role seriously, become well informed on the issues, meet with members of the community, and work in regional venues. In other communities, the Mayor runs the show and the rest of the council is less important. Those communities have significantly less participation than Boulder. Boulder has ethic, economic, and cultural diversity. Much is in lower income brackets where individuals have significantly less discretionary time. Efforts to better reflect what diversity we have must include recruiting more members of minority communities to serve on boards and commissions. That is the best way to develop the experience, knowledge, and confidence to run for city council. I have always encouraged people from all backgrounds to get involved in Boulder city governance. Having a staff member or two provide support for council members would help.
Those issues are serious. They’ve created a set class, and fear and NIMBY-like attitudes. New voice, good pay and a return to hearing the people and own downtrodden is needed
Both the time required to serve on council and the lack of diversity are serious issues. With regard to a lack of diversity, one of the most important things we can do is to increase the pay for council members. Given the current time demands—serving on council is akin to a full-time job—the current low pay significantly limits those who can consider running for council. We should also allow council members to participate in the city health insurance program at the same level of contribution as a city employee. A measure to increase council compensation is on the ballot this fall and I support it. With regard to the time required to serve on council, council members can positively effect this by focusing on policy rather than operations and by limiting our agendas and numbers of meetings.
The time commitment to serve on council may indeed prevent people with full time jobs and family commitments from serving on council. Greater diversity on council would be a good thing, and we should work to identify candidates from diverse backgrounds and encourage and help them to run. However, I still see serving on council as a volunteer activity. I see many council members do have jobs and somehow manage to make things work.
The amount of time required to serve on Council, coupled with the marginal stipend for Council members, is a strong deterrent to effective representation and participation. This has deep implications on the diversity of gender, ethnic, socio-economic, and ideological representation, and makes it extremely difficult for actively employed, working class individuals to enter public service. Increasing the stipend provided to Council members will help cover certain expenses associated with service on City Council, such as child-care. However, I believe an even wider spectrum of citizens would find public service more appealing if there was an effort to streamline the agenda and meeting structures so more time is spent interacting with the community, particularly minority and other under-represented constituencies. I will advocate for a more robust outreach strategy that embraces social media to engage key constituencies, including Gen Xers and Millennials, as well as the hugely important tech community.
Yes; council members put in a lot of time for not very much pay. This means that they have to have a lot of money saved up, or they have to work extra hard at an extra job, which cuts back on their ability to be effective city leaders. Lack of diversity is a direct result of limited compensation for lots of work; only a few types of people have space for that in their lives. An obvious solution to this is to pay council members livable salaries so that they can be encouraged to do their job well. That way they wouldn’t need a second job and could dedicate all their working hours to council affairs. I support the charter amendment to increase council’s pay. I also have suggestions to reduce the amount of time required by council members in the previous and following questions.
Yes, these are both serious problems. The time commitment discourages people with diverse views and limited time from serving. Eight-hour weekly (or semi-weekly) meetings with 800-page packets are burdensome to Council members and unfair to the constituents they serve. Save for emergencies, Council needs to stick with the annual work plan it establishes and publicly announces each January. Council needs to stop micromanaging city staff. And Council must avoid experimenting with every clever idea that comes to its attention. If these improvements are implemented, Council time can be reduced, encouraging people with diverse backgrounds and views to participate and serve.
The city has done a better job in recent years of reaching out to the community through mediums like neighborhood meetings and social media. However, much of the discussion continues to be dominated by people who have the time and ability to spend long hours at evening meetings, which discriminates against families and people that need to get up early for work or who work evening or overnight shifts. We should improve electronic streaming of meetings and value internet communication similarly as in-person meeting attendance. We should also consider adding childcare to evening meetings or allow people to speak early if they require it.
We must reach out to young people in venues or activities that they participate in: beer fests, art groups, Meet-ups, etc. to get to know them. In addition, we need to have a more active social media platform to engage them. Millennials and students are not reading newspapers, listening to radio, or watching cable TV. We must reach out in the way they want to communicate and get news.
the young learn to participate by example; perhaps we reduce cynicism about government by listening to those represented thus encouraging participation at all levels; reaching out to all groups is important
We certainly have a plethora of Committees and Commissions that offer citizens an opportunity to participate. However, the flow of individuals back and forth between Council and Committees stymies innovations and entrenches old stale ideas. This round robin should be discouraged. Also, because individual committee members are vetted and selected the Council, the work of the members simply mirrors the council, nothing fresh nor innovative comes of it. Let’s break the cycle, make those appointments more open and inclusive.
There is no magic bullet for engagement and inclusion, but the City should keep trying multiple approaches because different mechanisms resonate with different audiences—e.g., the latest social media tool, or holding traditional open houses at varied times during the day or week. We should expend more effort going to where people are in order to get their input, e.g., the Rec Center or soccer fields to get family input, or pop up meetings with students on campus. Another idea is holding quarterly Council Meetings or listening sessions in different locations around town to hear directly from citizens where they live. Staff could also work more closely with representative organizations to engage their own members—e.g., with the Chamber to solicit business input, or designate Council members to serve as liaisons to specific demographics. And we should continue our progress in attracting more diverse representation on our boards and commissions.
Immersion. The best thing about Boulder is the ability to start conversation with most anyone. I guess I would make our City government more interesting to those that find it hard to engage by just keeping things informal and transparent, while remaining approachable. Those are my peer groups, after all.
I believe electing Council members by Ward or District can create more engagement. It will require that Council candidates come from different neighborhoods in Boulder, and will encourage candidates to connect with the constituent base in their area. I would also consider expanding the Youth Opportunities Advisory Board (“YOAB”) concept to the young and minority segments of the population. The YOAB concept is for young high school aged members of our community to award grant money to youth oriented programs. The City could structure advisory Boards to engage these segments and have them involved in decisions that have direct impacts in their areas of the community.
I serve on both the Process Committee for Housing Boulder and the BVCP update and this has been the subject of much discussion. We must get to know people from our various minority and under-engaged communities and get their take. As a former Peace Corps volunteer, and having also lived and worked in a variety of countries and cultures, I am keenly aware of the differences in how people communicate and interact. But within city government, there is not that deep understanding. Learn that different communities have cultural differences in how they engage and interact. Learn the differences and meet those communities on their terms.
Hard question. People are political about things that affect them, especially their finances. I understand Boulder recently employed a neighborhood liaison, to what effect I don’t know. By “younger” generation, I’m not sure I agree. During the last political fights (OS, right sizing) many young people (30s or so) spoke out about these issues. The recent Democratic Party functions I attended I was about the average age and I’m 67. This is troublesome. I remember resenting the Flatirons Neighborhood sub-community planning process because it imposed time requirements I wasn’t volunteering. It is a good thing that people can work, take care of the families, enjoy life without “living” politics the way activists do. Elections seem never ending. Participating in highly inflamed local politics can add to life’s stresses, especially if the City is running neighborhood programs that put neighbors face to face on issues like infill and house designs.
Start with outreach to actually talk to some groups of people to find out why they aren’t interested or are unable to engage in city affairs. We assume we know the answers to this (not enough time, not enough pay, not enough other diverse members, etc.). But perhaps outreach with the assistance of some leaders of the identified groups would actually help answer the question of why there isn’t more engagement. This needs to change as these are important voices in Boulder that need consideration. The recent addition of a Neighborhood Liason staff position in the City, as directed by City Council, will be a positive step in engaging all our residents across all parts of our community. I also think we can engage more interactively by stating in a coherent, objective manner the problem or challenge that Boulder is facing and why, and ask people at the front end whether they agree or not, and if so, what suggestions would they have for their decision makers. As Councilmembers, we all need to go to the people and be conveniently available for engagement.
I am a younger generation as Council goes, a poor disabled queer activist aiming for it. I’ll need them, and I think do better speaking amid there concerns. If I make a decent run it’ll inspire and that’s a win and start in itself.
Making our city government more accessible is an important goal. Aside from serving on the city council, serving on our boards and commissions offers an excellent way to participate in the city government. I worked with Suzy Ageton on the Boards and Commissions Committee and part of our work involved trying to broaden the scope of applicants for boards. As part of that effort, Channel 8 produced several short videos promoting board service. Another idea is to work on bringing government to the people with meetings in their neighborhoods and at times that work for them. Including child care and elder care, as well as having translators present for non-English speakers, are all important components, too.
The groups identified here do not have the time to come to council meetings, so we must go to where they are in schools, work places and community events to present issues and make engagement more widely possible. Our schools took up the cause of reducing the use of plastic bags and I believe young people are naturally drawn to environmental issues.
I am a strong proponent of accessibility and transparency. It is critical that we meet our stakeholders and constituencies where they are—not where we want them to be—and I would do this by exponentially increasing our activity on social media. And on a more physical basis, I believe there is great value in exploring the viability of rotating Council deliberations throughout public venues in the City so that they are held near neighborhoods, particularly in those cases where Council decisions may affect a specific place in the city more immediately than others. Through my highly visible position at Naropa and within the cycling, health and wellness, and mindful communities, I believe that I have a privileged position in working closely with key demographics who can each become key surrogates and supporters of causes that typically don’t receive the attention they deserve, like Open Space access and workforce housing.
Twitter. Facebook. Offering childcare at city council meetings. Publicizing information in Spanish. People in a community with less political involvement might be passionate about issues, but not have the access to engage. Some people might not use the engagement methods preferred by current council members. Millennials, who make up half of Boulder’s population, use more social media, and therefore the city needs to use these sites well. We need more government response to twitter and facebook comments to ensure council members understand views presented in social media. We need shorter meetings with specific times allotted to each agenda item so that people know what specific time to be present for the agenda item in which they’re interested. We need trained facilitators (mayor and mayor pro tem) to keep agendas not only on topic, but on time.
To engage more people, Council meetings should occasionally be held on the weekends and at different places in the community. At some study sessions, Council members should sit in a circle with community members and engage in genuine dialogue. Each Council member should be required to maintain established “office hours” during the week, when members of the community can drop by for a conversation. And Council members should take turns attending meetings of groups serving under-represented populations, such as the YWCA, El Cento Amistad, Ignite Boulder, the University of Colorado, and BVSD parent-teacher organizations.
While we have a fairly robust affordable housing program, middle-income residents can have tremendous difficulty finding affordable housing in the market-rate sector. It is a major issue for the city because we will lose an irreplaceable piece of Boulder’s community if middle-income residents can no longer afford to live here. There are myriad contributing causes to the problem, including zoning, disincentives for small units and limited space for new housing. Fundamentally, however, we have created an extraordinary city that is a very desirable place to live. When there is a lot of competition for a limited supply of housing, it drives prices up.
Yes, it is a huge issue. Our teachers, policemen, shop and restaurant staff, and non-profit and business employees who want to live in Boulder are priced out of the market. It’s caused by conflicting values: our purchase of Open Space, our height and growth limitations, and our lack of creativity in new housing solutions. It’s also caused by a vocal percentage of our community who do not agree that this is an issue and don’t want to make changes.
Yes, inflated prices a major community challenge; major causes are imbalance in jobs and city population, pressures of growth in region, in state, and attractiveness of the community
Housing prices are prohibitively high in Boulder. It is a great challenge to keep the community form becoming only an elite enclave. The primary cause is success. Boulder is a wonderful place to live, to work, and to play. Companies and individuals alike flock to our city, even CU grads leave only as a last resort. The community is fearful of change in their environment. Yet, without change, prices will stay high until the absence of managed change results in the deterioration of the neighborhood and the surrounding community.
Confronting escalating housing costs is a key issue facing Boulder today, and is essential to fostering an inclusive, and ethnically and economically diverse community. Expensive housing prices in Boulder are driven by our high quality of life, including our spectacular scenery, extensive open space, vibrant downtown, strong economy, and the desirable jobs provided by CU and the federal labs. That said, the challenge of middle-income housing affordability is not unique to Boulder, but is a growing issue along the Front Range and in other desirable cities across the country, exacerbated by stagnant wages and wealth concentration in the upper percentile. Within Colorado, as we emerge from the recession, housing demand has outstripped supply. And while Boulder has focused on our 10% permanently affordable housing goal for low-income residents, we have yet to target preserving and providing market-rate affordable housing for the middle class.
This is very much so a major community challenge. I see the major cause being that individuals, and/or investment groups, are buying up as much commercial real estate as they can and they are doubling (sometimes tripling) rents in order to drive up the value (even if it means leaving a space vacant for 6-12 months). With no regulations in place, the residential market followed suit.
I consider the middle class housing affordability a challenge. The causes are partially rooted in dynamics that are specific to Boulder such as open space and the natural mountain barrier to the City’s West. However, it is also a result of the attributes Boulder shares with many other cities facing the same issue: desirable location, good schools, quality lifestyle, vibrant economy, arts and culture, renowned University, educated workforce. Many of the things we all appreciate about Boulder and have contributed to Boulder’s success and attractiveness are also the things that make housing expensive.
We need an integrated development strategy that integrates economic development strategy with other goals such as preserving affordability for middle income and lower income households, maintaining or increasing diversity, preserving open space ecosystems, mitigating traffic congestion, reducing carbon emissions, etc. As Boulder grows, demands on facilities and services increase and the ability to maintain levels of service for existing services and facilities is challenged. As Boulder has grown, it has grown more expensive, so that today, it is causing the exclusion of entire classes of people. That’s not good for us and it’s not right. The jobs/housing imbalance exacerbates the conflicts created by divergent goals. Currently, our goals are not reconciled and we need to decide where our priorities are and bring them into balance based on facts and analysis.
My short answer (prohibitive for middle-income residents) is yes. With a 2015 median price of $790,000, the home payment is about 5/6th of median income. (Daily Camera 8/17/15) Not much left to even eat on. Is this a major community challenge? Yes, AND we must stop looking for ONLY Boulder centric answers. People choose where to live for a myriad of reasons. Boulder, within reason, should encourage a diverse housing stock. But we should also view, via the comp plan and inter-government agreements, Boulder and the L towns as a whole when it comes to housing, transportation, homelessness – all things with intra-county effects. We are tied together now because of jobs, housing, and transportation needs. Creating mass transit PEOPLE USE IN MASS would alleviate aspects of congested commutes. Current RTD transit mode share is 3% of trips. If we opt for countywide Eco Passes, RTD will collect $66 million/yr or 20% of Boulder’s 2016 $327 million budget. This is a huge waste of taxes, and won’t alleviate congestion.
Housing prices are challenges in Boulder. The major cause is Boulder is a very desirable place to live and do business. Having substantially more jobs than residents creates enormous pressure on housing prices. This is a major community challenge. Economically people who now work here will no longer consider working in Boulder because they can work closer to their homes in similar jobs for less cost and personal sacrifice; this will affect retail, restaurants, services. Socially, a bimodal distribution of a population composed of only the rich and poor is not a sustainable society. Environmentally, Boulder has too much in commuting by single occupant vehicles.
Housing prices are prohibitive for middle-income City residents, the poor, homeless, students, single parents, the disabled, transpersons discriminated against. Some of these folks cannot even aspire to middle. Lack of housing choice and variety of price ranges are big causes.
The prohibitive cost of housing for middle-income residents is one of our major community challenges. Having a community that people with different income levels can call home is essential to our long term sustainability. The causes for the lack of affordability are many. Overall, there is a general regional trend toward increasing housing prices and rents. There are specific factors which create even more challenges in Boulder. We are an extremely desirable place to live. We have an urban growth boundary and a height limit which leads to a limited supply of additional housing. We are also a job center, with approximately 60,000 in commuters per day, and as a result many people would like to live close to where they work. We also have zoning and land uses that limit residential development.
Yes, this is a challenge. Prices are rising because there not enough houses or land available to build on for the people who want to live here. Builders build at the high end for the rich and at the low end where it is subsidized by the city. We must have a community wide discussion about how to adjust to market forces.
Addressing the lack of housing for middle- and low-income families is one of my top three priorities, and I will bring my extensive expertise in identifying collaborative solutions that embrace public-private partnerships. As Boulder’s economy continues to grow and attract more businesses and better paying jobs, it will become increasingly important to offset rising home prices with housing options that ensure that residents—especially those in public service, such as police, nurses, fire fighters, and teachers, among others—are not squeezed or pushed outside of Boulder for housing needs. I am especially interested in exploring whether housing incentives for some of our commercial zones in the east side of town and density bonuses will lead to a more affordable mix of units. I also think we can explore the purchase of our existing housing stock to avoid expensive remodels that only add to the price of single-family homes.
Yes! Boulder as a whole is an affluent community, which continues to gain wealth and see rising property values due to desirability. To stop this, Boulder’s housing authority, BHP, builds housing for low-income folks. Unfortunately, housing subsidies are cut off above a certain income level, only serving those with low incomes. But, middle-income folks can’t afford Boulder’s rising rates due to rising property values.
Yes, this is a challenge. Housing prices follow the laws of supply and demand. By limiting ourselves horizontally with our urban boundaries and vertically with height restrictions (both good things), we are left with two alternatives: Accept high prices or increase housing density to attempt to lower prices. Within well-defined areas, I favor the latter.
The problem of attainable market-rate housing is a large one, and we have to attack it on a number of fronts. One step is to encourage the replacement of aging strip malls in our central commercial areas with mixed-use neighborhoods that include new housing for a variety of income levels. Another is to preserve existing housing that is affordable to middle-income residents to prevent it from being replaced by high-end housing. Another is to add more housing choices, like granny flats above garages, cohousing communities or small apartments that appeal to different demographics and income levels.
We need to develop creative solutions to our housing crisis, including adding density through smart development and considering tiny home communities, co-housing, and accessory dwellings. Note: I am not advocating throwing up a bunch of four-plexes for college students. ADU’s have been a successful program in many communities to allow family members to stay in the neighborhoods and to encourage long-term rentals. We need to remove the restrictions and rules that are preventing our homeowners to be our density builders, rather than developers. We should partner with creative developers and builders for the explosive tiny house market to see if there are opportunities for alternative zoning to today’s mobile home park.
whether rentals or for sale, we can’t build our way out of the middle income housing prohibitive cost challenge because people historically don’t want to live in densely packed apartments, but want room and space. No magic fix but we might start fixing the jobs, population imbalance
The only approaches to housing issues are government or government dictated. Increases in “Pay Your Way” would provide a few more affordable housing units, but where would they go? They would need to be accompanied by zoning changes for higher density and/or mixed use. Students trying to rent low income housing indicates a misunderstanding of the program. Couldn’t the housing manager find qualifying working families? And if he couldn’t because the users believe the units to be too expensive, or that Boulder itself is too expensive, have we missed our intent? Could the fear of acceptance by the neighbors keep them away.? These are the things we need to explore as we proceed.
The City should double down on reaching Boulder’s goal of at least 10% of our housing being permanently affordable, including exploring whether to increase our inclusionary housing requirement or affordable housing linkage fees on commercial development. The City and Boulder Housing Partners should also prioritize investment in preserving existing middle-income/workforce housing, such as apartment buildings and mobile home parks, to prevent them from being demolished or priced out of middle income reach. We should encourage CU to house more students on campus to increase availability of affordable rentals for other residents. We should also explore other middle-income affordability strategies, such as shared appreciation down payment loans and incentivizing construction of smaller units, which are typically more affordable. Finally, I support a community-wide EcoPass program as a regional approach that helps provide access to a broader selection of affordable housing and transportation choices for Boulder’s 60,000 daily in-commuters.
First, and foremost, regulations need to be implemented to protect all parties. Second, being public servants, the City Council needs to be there for ALL of the citizens, not just those less income-restricted.
I believe the City can more directly impact affordable housing than it can housing affordability. Housing affordability is largely a result of market forces the City cannot control. Affordable housing is something the City can support and promote and make available to members of the Community or people who want to be members of the Community. In order to create a viable and forward looking Affordable Housing strategy it is important that we use the Comprehensive Housing Strategy Project to understand and establish clear goals and eligibility requirements for affordable housing. We must try determine the optimal percent of affordable housing to the overall housing base and establish development goals to achieve the base. We must also examine the impact affordable housing mandates have on builders and developers to ensure we are appropriately balancing interests. I do believe there is room for private and public partnerships.
The local real estate market has been increasing at a much higher rate than the national inflation rate. If we really want to improve affordability, the city must refocus the market to serve the needs of its people by getting into the housing business. That means buying land and developing it as permanently affordable workforce housing serving middle and lower income households, or buying mobile home parks and apartment buildings. If we own it, we can preserve it by holding rents (or restricted deed mortgages) below the market rate and over time, that housing becomes increasingly affordable. Expansion of AOUs and ADUs and occupancy limits play an important role but different neighborhoods have different circumstances and the extent to which expansions are applied (how many and proximity to each other) and enforcement are critical. Policies must ensure that these increases in development intensity provide the stated intent – affordability. Permanently
See previous answer 6. Don’t be so Boulder centric about housing. If people want new housing they can afford (with garage and yard), is within 20 miles of Boulder acceptable assuming we have a “google bus” or equivalent options for their commute?
1. At the front end, review and possibly revise some of land use regulations that could promote many more privately funded affordable housing solutions, such as accessory dwelling units, owner accessory units, cooperative housing, co-housing, boarding houses. Include in this, a review of certain zoning regulations and consider some changes that would result in an increase in housing. 2. Consider floating a large public bond issue to fund the acquisition of existing housing in Boulder. In this step, I would include acquiring and possibly expanding existing mobile home parks possibly as a partnership between the city, non-profit organizations, and resident owners. Keep rents stable, while paying off the bonds from the rental income. Have private non-profits manage the housing. We have no time to waste. 3. Work with the private sector and adjust the existing commercial linkage fees to affordable housing as will be recommended in the pending linkage fee update study.
Some steps are dropped occupancy limits, the number is way to small in a two university city. Small houses, communal settings, space for those who prefer a camping life, co-housing housing first.
Here are three steps that we could take. First, look at land use map adjustments, i.e., are there areas of commercial or industrial that should be rezoned for residential. This is a discussion best had in the Comp Plan update. Second, look at considering zoning changes to allow for more market rate affordable. This could take the form of micro-units for example. Third, address ways to preserve our existing affordable housing stock. This strategy includes regulating short term rentals, allowing one-for-one replacement of units, considering a tenant and city purchase program and mortgage assistance. In general, many of the approaches involve government action, but there is also a role for the private sector. For example, if we were to make changes to allow for micro-units, then it would be up to the private sector to create the product.
Maintain what is currently considered relatively affordable, such as mobile home parks and smaller houses in middle-class neighborhoods.
I believe it is unacceptable that a family of four, with a combined income of $100K, cannot afford to live and work in Boulder. Unless we address the lack of workforce housing, we cannot create or maintain a vibrant community. A sensible housing policy—one that includes the direct city purchase of affordable rental units, as well as incentives for housing development in commercial zones—will both create a stronger sense of belonging and community, but will also benefit us in other ways, including economically, environmentally, and quality of life (including reduced traffic).
Rezoning areas for multiple uses (e.g. apartments above shops) Replacing current occupancy limits on housing with health and safety code occupancy Incentivizing affordable units Other than scaling housing vouchers to a community’s cost of living, there needs to be more diversity of housing so that there are housing choices for low and middle-income residents. Because we can’t build up (height limit) or out (open space), we need to look at ways to become cozier and community-oriented with regards to housing. BHP runs some excellent sites, and should continue to work toward building more permanently affordable units in places rezoned for development, such as Boulder Junction and the old hospital site. Private development firms, who tend to sell their required units to BHP, need incentive to build affordable units. This leads to low-income neighborhoods instead of mixed-income neighborhoods. Housing choices need to be incentivized for developers to ensure that communities understand each other’s points of view.
First, our approach to housing must be regional; there is no magic to the location of Boulder’s city limits. Second, it is arrogant of us to assume that everyone who works in Boulder wants to live in Boulder; we must accept that, no matter how much housing we have, some workers will want to live elsewhere; our objective for them should be to allow their commutes to be easy and environmentally friendly. Third, solutions must acknowledge the laws of supply and demand; housing prices will come down only when the supply starts to match the demand. Finally, it is not the responsibility of city government to build attainable middle-class housing, only to allow the private sector to create it in appropriate places.
While it is important to preserve the character of existing neighborhoods, I do think there are areas with substantial redevelopment potential. The older strip malls along 28th and 30th Streets provide one of our best opportunities. They are along major transit, street and bicycle corridors and could support additional density. I believe the whole city benefits when blighted, auto-oriented commercial areas are replaced by vibrant 2-4 story mixed-use neighborhoods that incorporate a variety of residential, retail and commercial spaces.
Most of the city could support increased density in the ADU strategy.
With community participation and sub community planning, we might find areas that could support increased density.
Everywhere could have increased density, The question is which neighborhood would be accepting of it. Current ballot initiatives suggest that established communities want to be off limits. With only 1% of Boulder’s land available and heavy traffic everywhere; there is going to have to be some tough negotiations.
Yes, I believe some Boulder areas could accommodate more density, ideally with the support of the neighborhood and supported by a community consensus about appropriate growth rates developed through the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan update process. Potential opportunities for more density that I could support include: along major transit corridors; providing more student housing on CU’s campus to lessen pressure on nearby neighborhoods; gentle infill in the form of accessory dwelling units (ADUs & OAUs), co-ops, and senior housing; and in select areas of town zoned for higher density such as Boulder Junction. Redevelopment areas such as the Boulder Community Hospital site and Diagonal Plaza could also provide opportunities for creative mixed use and higher density housing. Ideally, all new development and redevelopment in Boulder should reflect our sustainability and affordability goals (i.e., no more McMansions), and integrate lessons we have learned about creating desirable public spaces and compact living.
Yes, I believe south Boulder could easily support increased density between Greenbriar Blvd. and Eldorado Springs Dr. provided its done with a proper plan in place.
I am confident there are areas of Boulder that can support more density and I will support more density in certain areas of Boulder, in particular as it relates to affordable housing. However, it is equally important to ask the question: What areas can support the total impact of density. Traffic in Boulder is a problem and it is unrealistic to believe everyone that moves to high density developments in Boulder will walk or bike to work, or even work in Boulder. Therefore, we need to examine the question of density location in the broader context of, services available in the area, transportation impacts, and neighborhood composition. I do not currently have enough information to identify specific areas for increased density.
We have lots of parking lots that could be put to better use. Along certain major corridors it makes sense to concentrate development. As we grow it should be compact but NOT erode the qualities that we love about Boulder, the small town feel, the views, stable neighborhoods, etc. And height and density should not be confused with affordability – they are contributing factors but not inherently causative. The question is not simply about height and density as a concept, it is about how much, where and at what impact to other community values.
I would like to know where the 6,200 possible dwelling units are? (Daily Camera, 8/30/15, comp plan) Are they infill or ? Land (lots) with single family residences along Table Mesa between Broadway and 36, or on Broadway, or the Moorehead side on 36, etc. could be rezoned for higher density. If the parking and “back” of these areas were on the busy road side with the living space opening on the side away from the road, this is a higher, better use. I walked Moorhead, Udall campaign and marvelled how noisy the backyards are from US 36, but how nice the front yards are. This area has transit, is close to shopping and bike paths and could easily support density without more cars. This “new” development would be more desirable than the current configuration, low density, backyard not useable because of US 36. What I envision is the building buffering the green space from the busy road. Co-housing should be supported. Changes in the “no more than three unrelated” people should publicly studied via study session with an ordinance, etc. proposed so there is public debate and hearing before Council.
Current areas zoned for more dense development include Boulder Junction, north Broadway, downtown, Boulder Valley Regional Center, UniHill, and lands owned by University of Colorado. Development of areas, such as Boulder Junction, has caused some concern Boulder due to the amount, quality, and rate of recent development. Transportation impacts of Boulder Junction haven’t been evaluated yet as the complete system is not fully implemented. I look forward to receiving results from impact analyses of this denser type of development and will particularly be interested in identifying whether this development resulted in decreases in greenhouse gas emissions and housing costs. With the update of the Comprehensive Plan, discussions with the community on the challenges of design, height, and traffic will occur. A recent article in Scientific American (September 2015, “A Bigger City is not always Better”) on density suggests density does not always achieve our stated goals of reducing GHG emissions.
I am sure there are. Whether than declaring them as outsider, I will say doing density right means creating community, art, culture unity, and stake where there is neglect now. We must find the people ready for those positives and the where appears. This way the fears like overcrowding noise and NIMBY are not an issue because the positives were chosen from within a desire community perspective
There are areas of Boulder that could support increased density. That said, I don’t support density for density’s sake, rather it has to be in pursuit of important city goals—like affordable housing. Increased density also needs to be done with high quality design and careful attention to impacts such as traffic congestion. The areas that come to mind first are commercial and industrial areas in the eastern part of Boulder that have a suburban campus quality. Boulder Junction is a good example of a place where I believe it was appropriate to add density. While we also have options to add OAU and ADUs in established neighborhoods, that should be done in close collaboration with the neighborhoods. Perhaps a good start would be with a neighborhood that is willing to give this a try as a pilot.
If neighborhood plans were developed city-wide, people could determine where greater density is possible and sensitively sited to accord with the character of the neighborhood.
I believe that the proposed S’park development represents a model for how Boulder can successfully create mixed-use neighborhoods that offer convenient and affordable access to housing, transportation, shopping, and other amenities. As a resident in the Uptown Broadway neighborhood, I believe these 15-minute neighborhoods offer viable solutions to Boulder’s mutually-reinforcing needs in housing, transportation, climate commitments, and economic development. Areas such as North Boulder and East Boulder, especially if coupled with incentives for development in commercial zones, would be my first candidates for increased density.
Yes. During the neighborhood meeting section of Housing Boulder this year, every single table in East Boulder came out saying they supported removed or increased occupancy limits. In addition to increasing density by allowing more people to live together, I support building smaller, cosier units for people who do not choose to live with others. New development projects — for example, the hospital site and Boulder junction — are great places to build green from the get-go.
Recent developments in North Boulder are good examples of how housing density works. We should encourage similar housing options along transit corridors and near transit centers, like Boulder Junction and Downtown.
I could go on about land use policies at length because of my experience on the Planning Board. In many ways, our city codes are out of step with the kinds of projects we would like to attract. For example, in many zone districts in the city, our codes create strong incentives to build large residential units while penalizing developments that seek to provide smaller, more affordable housing. We also penalize new developments that provide public streets or public parks. In general, I would like to see our land-use policies updated to reflect our actual goals in terms of affordable housing and other city goals.
We should be creative about land use at East Arapahoe, Boulder Junction, and perhaps others.
stop building until we have the transportation system in place to stop congestion
If you mean public lands, I believe Boulder does a good job in managing recreation areas, parks, and open space; and in balancing the competing interests. If you are referring to land use policies, Boulder has grown in a some what undisciplined fashion. The City is bisected by the University, taking a large chunk with it. This divides the City North, South, East, and West, into distinctively different areas. Yet we try to apply the same one set of rules to all. Each area needs representation to speak for its unique concerns..
We need to reach community consensus about growth and development through the update of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, and then adjust our land use policies and update our plans governing how much, where, and what type of development we support in our vision for Boulder’s future. More specifically, where neighborhoods are amenable, I would like us to modify land use policies to allow for gentle infill, such as relaxing limitations on accessory dwelling units and amending the co-op ordinance to make it workable for seniors and others. I would like to adopt regulatory or financial incentives for smaller (therefore more affordable) housing units, and I hope the Form-Based Code pilot for Boulder Junction will serve as a useful model for other areas to provide higher-quality buildings and public spaces. Finally, I would like us to define “community benefit” so it is effective and consistent in getting us desired outcomes.
As with the housing issue, regulations need to be implemented. We lose a lot of our individuality and character when we allow big corporate dollars to dictate our flexibility in changes to our land use policies.
I do not have specific changes I feel should be implemented. Instead, I believe it is important for the City to take a comprehensive look at land use policies in the context of our long term goals for growth and development and make changes that will support achieving the long term goals.
We need a shared vision for Boulder’s future based on analysis of impacts and costs so that everyone understand the implications and tradeoffs involved with decisions we make. Start with 3d modeling of current buildout potential according to zoning so that everyone can visualize what the city form will be. Quantifying buildout potential translates into square feet for each building/use type and from that the number of residents and workers can be derived and thus impacts, costs and tradeoffs. This information is the starting point of a dialogue about whether that buildout along with its impacts is the future most people want. If it is, then we can decide the pace at which we want to reach that buildout. If we don’t like that future, we can develop a vision of one we want, utilizing 3d visualization, impact and cost analysis to reconcile divergent goals. This enables informed decisions.
I’m OK with our current procedures for projects that request or require land use changes. Assuming more than anecdotal opinions, Boulder could reconsider building permit restrictions, assuming a citywide debate and vote to approve this. Land use changes have to be a part of Boulder’s future so future generations have the right to their vision of Boulder’s shape and function. I am not in favor of the Neighborhood Right to Vote (NRTV) ordinance. The cost of these “mini” elections is unknown but to be paid by the general fund. If NRTV passes, the only certainty in land use planning would be the power of a few activists to stop land use changes at staff, idea level. This would be the result, even if not the intent. Its proponents argue opposite points: It’s not likely to be used much but NRTV is very important to land use outcomes. Hence it will be a planning extortion threat – we can petition for an election if you don’t do as we demand.
Focus on in-fill of Boulder’s city service Area I with input from our residents. Stabilize the management practices and environment within Boulder’s mobile home parks and trend toward more control and ownership. Consider adding modular homes as a permitted use in our manufactured housing zoning in addition to consideration of using energy efficient modular housing as what we construct for affordable housing. Update the current ordinances on cooperative housing in addition to accessory dwelling uses and owner occupied dwelling units. These ordinances were last updated in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s and are quite restrictive in application. As a result, not many of these housing options have been pursued by the private or non-profit sectors. It is time for council review and revise current ordinances. We need to address demolition and deconstruction of buildings, including residential and commercial. At a minimum, Boulder should require recycling/reuse of salvageable materials.
I need to study to be specific, but land needs to meet the needs of people, communities and environmental capabilities, before business and capitalism are considered.
I think that we do a lot right when it comes to our land use policies which favor compact development inside an urban growth boundary. There are some things I would revisit, however. I would like us to be able create walkable 15 minute neighborhoods. That would require some changes in our zone districts. I am a proponent of moving to a form based code for its predictability of outcome and its emphasis on the public realm. It will be informative to see how the pilot in boulder Junction turns out. I favor allowing narrower street sections to create streetscapes of more human scale and variety. I am also interested in taking the unbundled parking model from Boulder Junction and applying to other parts of our community.
Changes to land use policy should involve an intensive discussion with the people of Boulder. This is not a choice that is mine to make without consulting with our citizens.
First, I think we need to get clear on the vision for our community’s evolution. That is why we need to move beyond the two divisive anti-growth ballot initiatives and focus on the Comprehensive Plan update process. Ultimately, I would like to focus opportunities for new infill development along promising transit zones. Boulder has been successful at creating strong neighborhoods within close proximity to dynamic commercial zones in areas like the Pearl Street Mall and in North Boulder, and efforts should be made to create more comparable neighborhoods.
To allow for more neighborhoods in which people can walk to the store or park, I would like to see more mixed use zones. This would enable more housing, which would allow for improved public transportation service to the rezoned areas.
One improvement that would increase affordable housing options without requiring new construction would be to adjust the rules that limit the number of unrelated people who live at one address. With a trend towards larger houses and with fewer than 20 percent of Boulder’s households having children, the average density within existing detached homes is nearly 1,000 square feet per person. By allowing homeowners to rent their excess space to unrelated tenants, more housing units will be available, rental prices will come down, and participating homeowners will gain economic security. Of course, increasing residential options will lead to some population growth and resulting impacts on transportation and other systems. But, if we are sincere in our desire to increase diversity and make housing more affordable, we will need to find comprehensive solutions to accommodate the people we seek to attract.
The open space charter lists eight purposes for the open space system, including recreation, conservation and sprawl control; it does not rank them. All of these purposes are important and reflect core values of our community. It is the job of the Open Space Board of Trustees and the City Council to balance the different priorities.
b. Open Space has multiple goals, listed above, and they all must be balanced. I believe strongly that when we get people out in nature, using it, they fall in love with it. Then they become stewards of the land and the species on that land. Obviously, we must have strong policies and education about how to treat the resources, but it’s better to get people on board through their use and involvement. The City of Boulder OSMP Volunteer organization and rangers are wonderful, and their programs teach so appreciation. When there is land or species that are endangered or need protection, we should close the Open Space. In addition, I support temporary closings to support species during mating season.
the OS program has several goals, as stated in the charter, including passive recreation, habitat preservation, and agricultural production, urban shaping, and preservation of water resources.
I believe option B accurately describes the most viable use of Open Space and is true to the Open Space Charter. Of course, there will always be debate on the definition of “passive recreational use.” .But conflicts concerning such a valuable element of the city are to be expected and are healthy.
(This is my long answer.) (B) The Open Space Charter articulates a list of important goals of the open space program without hierarchy. As a lifelong athlete, outdoorswomen and environmentalist, I also reject the premise that conservation and recreation must be zero sum choices when it comes to our open space lands. On a system-wide basis, we clearly can and should provide for both. Obviously as good land managers, protecting the long-term ecological health and sustainability of open space lands should be a top priority, particularly in the face of climatic changes, that is embraced by all. We should generally site more intensive uses in less ecologically sensitive areas, but with an eye towards creating desirable user experiences. Science and monitoring can help us establish baselines, identify trade-offs, and employ adaptive management. Where possible, we should partner with Boulder County to achieve our conservation and recreation goals across a broader landscape; through joint land acquisition and management plans we can protect larger habitat patches and enable much-desired regional trail connections. I believe we should continue to add to the open space system to opportunistically fill gaps and make connections; enhancing our open space system is also a way to better accommodate and mitigate the impacts of the increasing number of open space visitors. Rather than just viewing open space management through the lens of our favorite use(s), we need to also remember and celebrate that every one of us benefits from our open space system, even if we only enjoy the view from afar and experience Boulder’s economic vitality, which is grounded in the high quality of life provided by our spectacular open space setting.
(b) I believe the many goals of the Open Space Program should have equal importance. The conservation of natural systems is important for many reasons: the water supply, lessening of carbon footprint, the majestic beauty of it all…. just to name a few. Sprawl control is important for several reasons of it’s own: traffic congestion (also carbon footprint), over-population with lack of services, unemployment rate goes up, etc. And of course recreation is important because it brings tourism dollars, keeps us all healthier physically and mentally, and it’s a large part of Boulder’s personality.
In my opinion (b) is more accurate. The currently available access we have to Open Space is approaching the point of overuse. I support the use of open Space for all users. I suggest we look to incrementally allow access to new sections of open space in order to reduce pressure on existing trail systems and provide more opportunity for all users to feel they have appropriate access. I believe this can be achieved while still conserving the natural environment.
Option A With climate change, natural systems are increasingly stressed and must be protected. With growth, there is increasing demand placed upon open space and natural systems will suffer if not protected
I am a (b) proponent. Voters voted for OS, not as a preserve in the sense of Nature Conservancy, but for multiple reasons. If OS operated with a look but don’t touch ethos, this would negatively affect citizen’s bond with OS. The current mix of protective, natural, and recreational areas was the result of hard fought political battles. People seem to have settled into this balance, good. The notion that people are loving OS to death is answered by education. “Love” is not selfish, but altruistic. I am confident educated people who love OS will avoid conduct that harms it.
The Open Space and Mountain Parks mission is to preserve and protect the natural environment and land resources that characterize Boulder as stated in our City Charter. Given these conditions, I support option a. With this option the biological and physical parameters in our midst are recognized and provide the framework in which to work, rather than at odds resulting in outcomes where no one wins. I think the Open Space and Mountain Parks Visitor Master Plan did an excellent job at objectively identifying lands that have critical habitat areas as well as increasing areas accessible to recreational users.
A. I wish it were B, the sprawl control concern means the poor and especially homeless, a category I am often mistaken for, are often hassled, for no reason.
I don’t think either (a) or (b) is accurate. I look to the Open Space Charter for the purposes of Open Space lands. Those purposes include preservation of natural areas, water resources, passive recreation (and if specifically designated bicycling, horseback riding or fishing), agricultural use, urban shaping and several more. I think all of the goals listed are important. My view is that the OSMP Visitor Master Plan strikes the right balance in dealing with what can sometimes be competing interests. I will highlight two of those goals here: Goal 3: Enjoy and Protect—Ensure that passive recreational activities and facilities are compatible with the long-term protection of natural, cultural and agricultural resources. Goal 4: Partner with the community in passive recreation decision-making and stewardship efforts.
The Open Space Charter does not prioritize one goal above any other. All goals are important to maintaining the health of the system.
I am absolutely in the camp of the second response! We need to balance the benefits of Open Space. There are many natural values of our Open Space lands that we must preserve. This includes protection of rare animal and plant species which demand wide protective land areas. However, I don’t believe it is inconsistent with those preservation goals to also provide open space access for a wide array of recreational pursuits. In fact, facilitating more public interaction with our natural lands will encourage them to preserve more of it.
(b) Preservation of species is extremely important. Humans are responsible for the extinction of hundreds of animals. Let’s do our best to stop this process. That said, where species endangerment is not at risk, let’s enjoy nature. Boulder strives to be environmentally-friendly. Connecting people to nature, in the way in which they are most comfortable, promotes environmental stewardship. Whether that means hiking, biking, skiing, tubing, kayaking, etc, let’s ensure these activities can be done responsibly and safely where open space allows. Let’s allow this city’s high dog population to run free wherever dogs being off leash does not threaten the safety of others. Let’s show that perceived threat and actual threat are different; let’s provide opportunities for dogs to prove that they are child-friendly, and allow them to be off leash in more places.
My view is (b), that Open Space serves many equal purposes, including preserving natural systems and beauty, while allowing these systems to be experienced and understood by humans. This includes providing sensitively-located hiking and biking trails and allowing recreation that is appropriate to the ecosystem. While we should certainly set aside land that is preserved for wildlife habitat, those areas are one component on a range of land uses. Those uses run the spectrum, from dense and disruptive (where we have chosen to build our houses and businesses), to moderate (city parks and trails), to light (recreational Open Space), to fully protected (habitat with limited or no human contact). As with all things, we should balance our uses, depending on our human needs and our responsibilities to the environment.
Less often during the campaign than usual! Typically I visit city or county open space about once a week. Usually I am hiking with my family and/or my dogs. I mountain bike occasionally as well.
Spending time in Open Space helped to heal me from the death of my husband when I first moved to Boulder. There is nothing more healing than nature. I continue to hike, photograph, and spend time in our Open Spaces almost every day. I was privileged to be a volunteer for OSMP in the raptor monitoring program, one of the most fulfilling volunteer efforts I’ve ever done. It was incredible to be part of an experience where falcons mated, made nests, and had young. The OSMP Volunteer program is second to none, recognized nationally.
Hiking, birdwatching, horseback riding, climbing, jogging, dog walking.
I use the open space a couple times a week for walking and playing with my grandchildren. And, I often ride my bike on Boulder’s magnificent bike paths.
I enjoy Boulder’s open space every day in a variety of ways. I am an avid athlete and outdoorswoman, who runs several times a week on open space trails, often with the family dog Sydney. Favorites are up to Panorama Point and beyond on Flagstaff, at Chautauqua, to the end of Boulder Creek Path, or over Red Rocks and up Sanitas Valley. I am a regular bike commuter and mountain biker, enjoying Chapman, Betasso, and South Boulder trails regularly, with occasional trips out to County trails like Walker, Hall and Heil. I hope to instill a love of the land in my niece McKenzie with regular hikes up Flagstaff and Green Mountain. And like the rest of Boulder, I look multiple times a day up at the Flatirons, and breathe a deep breath of gratitude for the amazing views and wildlife habitat that our predecessors had the foresight to protect.
I use Open Space quite often. I live near Bear Creek and Martin Park. I use the bike trail to get to and from work at 55th and Arapahoe. I also enjoy hiking Sanitas and Settlers Park. Driving into Boulder from DIA with people new to Colorado is still the most breathtaking scene because of the Open Space surrounding the city.
I am regular user of Open Space. I mountain bike at Betasso the Eagle trail and other locations in the County. I hike with my wife and two dogs on Sanitas and Green Mountain and I fly fish in Boulder Creek, Left Hand Creek, and other drainages. On average I use open space 3 days per week while my wife averages 5 days a week.
3-4 times per week for hiking and rock climbing.
About twice a week, walking is a favorite activity of mine. I have a very small dog and walk him on the SW side of Flagstaff (often). We also go W down the Creek Path and over the saddle at Red Rocks to Sunshine, sometime looping the old Adventist Hospital. I also walk CU South ( not OS per se); trails around Chautauqua; Tenderfoot, W side of Flagstaff Mo.; and the N side of Boulder Reservoir. Scout isn’t green tag registered although he could be. (He’s voice responsive.) He’s afraid of other dogs, so I walk him on a lead. My OS history spans from 1968 when I lived in Eldorado Springs to now. I’ve probably seen more of it than most people, especially the “Protected Areas”. It is a very GREAT thing that we did.
I use OSMP several times a week, mostly by walking/hiking often with my companion, Leila, and sometimes by bike.
Everyday. I love our parks trails and outdoor areas to walk in, enjoy sun, read poems or dream of a post-capitalist, post-monetary, post-patriarchal society.
I use open space four or five times a week. Most often I use it as a hiker with my dog Molly off her leash.
I use Open Space nearly every day, as I live near Chautauqua and can go for a hike whenever I have the time to do so.
I am a proud member of both the Mountain Bike Alliance and the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado (BRAC), a hiker and trail runner, snowshoer, skate skier, and overall outdoor enthusiast. In addition to using our Open Spaces multiple times per week, I am also a regular proponent of our Open Spaces, and I delight in bringing visitors and guests to see our Open Spaces.
I bike daily on the Bear Creek path. I hike in open space once or twice per week. I also ride my fixed-frame bicycle on some dirt paths to avoid roads.
On Open Space, I tend to hike west and bike east. My favorite walking trails are south of Chautauqua, McClintock and Enchanted Mesa, around Wonderland Lake, and up Mount Sanitas, where I’m likely to bump into somebody I know. Katy and I like to bike where city bike paths connect with OSMP trails, like along South Boulder Creek. If I have the opportunity to serve on Council, being present on Open Space will be one way that I will make myself available to community members who want to share with me their views.
I would say the greatest threat to Open Space is overcrowding, both for the visitor experience and the impact on the natural systems. Right now, we have the opportunity to redesign the trail system and facilities to better accommodate the high visitation levels while minimizing negative impacts. The implementation of the Visitor Master Plan has been doing a generally good job with this, and I’m looking forward to the outcome of the North TSA planning process to make further improvements.
I feel we have purchased a lot of Open Space, using taxpayer resources. I haven’t looked at the City budget allocation, but I often wonder if we allocate enough resource to management vs. purchase.
Too many people who want to use our system; we have more visitors than Rocky Mtn Nat’l Park. Greatest opportunity is preservation of critical habitat to stop species extinction.
The greatest threat to Open Space is a change in attitude toward it. Next is natural enemies such as fire or insects e.g. the emerald ash borer. I am concerned about the City’s decision not to actively fight the plague of the emerald ash borers.
Major threats to our Open Space include: encroaching development from our expanding neighbors; ecological degradation from climate change, including increasingly intense and frequent wildfires, drought, and the spread of invasive species; and most of all, from being loved to death by me and the growing number of other users from Boulder and beyond. This threat is also an opportunity to harness visitors’ love of open space and translate it into a greater understanding of trail protocols and stewardship practices, opportunities to give back through volunteer projects, and the importance of restraint and balance in the type and magnitude of uses in sensitive areas. We should keep filling gaps in our open space system, and pursue regional trail connections that can funnel recreationists into larger areas on county and Forest Service lands. With science-based and inclusive public processes, we can collectively craft management plans that balance our conservation and recreation goals.
Population growth and financial influence.
The greatest threats to Open Space include overuse of existing access points, creating unnecessary conflict among different user groups by not opening access to new areas and, the unfortunate fact that some users do not treat open space with the appropriate level of respect.
The greatest threat are the number of people as Boulder and the region grow, using a finite resource, especially open space closer to town. We will also need to do something about the increasing use of Boulder open space by people outside of Boulder in order to maintain its quality.
Greatest threat, loss of interest, and “bond” with OS. I repeat: “I am confident educated people who love OS will avoid conduct that harms it.” Greatest opportunity, economic opportunity to develop OS agriculture lands. I recently saw on Council young people who wanted to run a goat farm on OS. I’m not sure when OS’s middle age begins as I hope it has at least a 500 year future. Nonetheless, there is a certain maturity we’ve achieve. When I first started walking the Mesa Trail from Eldorado Springs (1968) the west end of the trail was easy to lose. Everything has changed including the width of the trails, regulations, and the sense that it all belonged to you, you could go anywhere. Drive N of Boulder and besides for the Heil Ranch, it’s private property along 36 to Lyons.
Greatest threat is over use by the millions of visits to Open Space and ensuring our residents’ experience does not degrade over time. We have real pressures and need to ensure those pressures are being properly balanced. The greatest opportunity for Open Space and Mountain Parks is to ensure we preserve our natural lands for future generations so they can enjoy, appreciate, understand, and develop the skills and passion necessary to be responsible environmental stewards. We also have the opportunity to increase the appreciation of OSMP through access in appropriate locations.
I fear the threats are elitism, where only rich able-bodied desirable are welcome, and also stagnation where the land is never reconsidered or made more physically accessible for instance. Some opportunities are accessibility and camping with small maintenance fees for those able.
The greatest threat to Open Space is the sheer number of visitors that we host and their impact on the resource. How do we handle that? First, we need to get reliable data and understand what the impacts are. Second, we need to realize that the impacts are very different across the system. There is no one size fits all approach. Better trail building, temporal separation of visitors and programs like the new voice and sight program are all possible ways to deal with the issue. Climate change is another real threat to the Open Space and the way it affects ecosystems and wildlife. Opportunities include increased use of Open Space lands for local food production. We also have opportunities for better maintenance of the system as we have purchased the bulk of properties making up the acquisition plan.
We are in some danger of loving our mountain parks and hiking trails to a point of stress. We should educate the people who use Open Space to do so with care so that we can bequeath this legacy to future generations in good health.
One of the greatest threats to our Open Space is the failure to provide sufficient maintenance resources. To the extent that we fail to maintain trails and proper access facilities, the more we risk that others will create their own damaging trails. I also think the pressures from outside visitors will grow as communities build right up to the edge of our Open Space lands. We need to identify ways for those visitors to contribute to our land maintenance and upkeep through such mechanisms as parking fees, while also encouraging the creation of outdoor recreation opportunities in their own communities.
I bike daily on the Bear Creek path. I hike in open space once or twice per week. I also ride my fixed-frame bicycle on some dirt paths to avoid roads.
As the amount of land available and appropriate for new Open Space acquisition diminishes, we must increasingly allocate our resources to conserving existing natural areas, maintaining recreational amenities, and preserving historic structures on Open Space, all consistent with the Open Space Charter. In the near-term, there will be a vigorous community discussion about the North TSA. Living within the North TSA boundaries myself, I am well aware of the competing needs for conservation and recreation, which I believe can be balanced through civil, fact-based exchanges of ideas and objectives.
The redesign of the Civic Area is an exciting opportunity for the city. The beautiful area near the creek shines on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the Boulder’s Farmers Market (recently voted the best in the nation!), and shows how much promise the area really has. Unfortunately, Central Park has been under-utilized for years, hamstrung by poor design that creates dead-zones that can feel unsafe for our downtown workforce, out-of-town visitors, Boulder Creek Path users and families. I think the new plans (which are still being developed) offer the potential to turn the area into a jewel in the heart of downtown that all city residents will enjoy.
I haven’t seen the details, but I’m very supportive of the vision, especially in the middle of Boulder. It’s also good that they are considering having a Performing Arts Center included in the plan. We need to work through the issues of potential flooding.
The addition of play areas for children and the opportunity for new cultural venues is exciting and important.
I believe the new Civic Area in downtown is overkill at this time. I know that the city is flush with money at this point. But there are more pressing issues that should be addressed: fixing potholes , bike ways, a berm on 36 to stop the flooding of Frazier and other flood mitigation. It is critical for action in implementing transport concepts focused on moving people into and out of the city. .
I am proud of the City’s extensive planning process for the Civic Area, which successfully tapped into the creativity and imagination of city residents. Some new engagement techniques were particularly effective in including new voices, such as the design contest with university classes, and involvement of school kids of all ages in articulating their likes/dislikes of a transformed city park. While many design elements are still evolving, I particularly support: focusing on Boulder Creek as the connecting core, with plenty of opportunities for creative play along it; opening up the Public Library through an outdoor public patio; maintaining some city buildings onsite for civic engagement; enhancing the beloved traditions of the Farmers Market, Teahouse, and BMOCA; and concentrating built uses in the two “bookends” connected by parklands. I hope we are bold in our implementation, through inspirational architecture, exploration of a pedestrian bridge over Canyon, and interactive public art.
Overall, it’s a nice central park area that will ultimately complement the city. I truly believe the bandshell needs to stay. We need to be supporting and encouraging growth within or city’s arts and cultures community, not tearing down a Boulder landmark.
Overall I am supportive of a Civic Center so long as we make sure we understand its more broad reaching impacts to infrastructure, travel and transportation within the City.
It is generally OK but I have concerns about over programming, about moving the band shell and about over development of the eastern bookend between 13th and 14th. Historic preservation has not been given due consideration.
I like it, but understand the angst about the Band Shell. The Band Shell sits on a busy corner resulting in traffic noise interfering with its original – performances. I don’t see anything, new plans, that replaces the old Band Shell with a new one. A new band shell in a better location would allow artistic/cultural performances we want to encourage. The old Band Shell because of its location doesn’t encourage this use. If we leave it, it is empty gesture to the past.
I have some concerns and definite questions. Fortunately, the plan is still under consideration. First, I think we should respect basic elements present currently in the area. These include the locations and presence of the Dushanbe Teahouse, BMOCA, the Band Shell, the Sister City Plaza, the Municipal Building, the Library, bridges and connections. In this scheme the Civic Use Pad, north of Canyon at 11th is included. This general area now works somewhat but, if better planned, it could be an incredible experience to users and a significant improvement economically and socially to central Boulder. Additionally, one must address what will be the best uses and forms in the bookends of the civic area (East bookend: 13th to 14th Street, Canyon to Arapahoe; West bookend: east of 9th to approximately 10th Street, Canyon to Arapahoe) will be while respecting the existing elements. I appreciate the significant reduction in surface parking.
I need to study it, but in general, Civil areas are decided by engagement, activity and culture from the people.
I am excited about the city’s plan for the civic center. The plan will provide a high quality park experience celebrating and highlighting the role of Boulder Creek. It will be a place for kids and adults. There will be an increased sense of safety with better sightline. The Farmers Market will be enhanced with the opportunity for a year round market hall. Two buildings—Park Central and New Britain will be removed because of flood danger. The “bookend” approach is also full of possibilities, especially in the block between 13th and 14th. I’m also supportive of retaining our historic resources in the civic center, including the bandshell and the Atrium Building. The possible acquisition of the Boulder Community Hospital site on Broadway is a positive factor for the civic center in that we wouldn’t have to try to do so much programmatically is a relatively small area.
The design is prosaic at best and does not significantly enhance the area. The bandshell should not be demolished and should be incorporated into any redesign.
I certainly agree that the Civic Area Park would benefit from investments that create a more family friendly environment and community gathering spaces. The vision of a grand community park, therefore, is appealing. However, I question the removal of so much parking from the Downtown area without the provision of additional replacement parking. I also want to investigate further the need to remove the two current city office buildings, which appears to be a dramatic adjustment of our civic infrastructure, at significant expense.
The plan looks great and the long-term vision for creating a more community-oriented area is excellent. However, this space is already used as a community space by hundreds of people, myself included, each week. Building an ideal community center is important, but should not be a priority to more critical needs such as housing for all income levels or transportation options for everyone.
As one of the leaders of the overwhelmingly successful Ballot Measure 2A initiative last year, I am happy that we have begun to use the $8.7 million allocated from the ballot measure to develop a creative Civic Area plan. But much work needs to be done. Our plan must be bold, creating welcoming picnic areas for families, play areas for kids, performance spaces for enjoyment of concerts and plays, and room for the Farmers Market to grow and to operate year-round. People are drawn to water, and the Creek must be the centerpiece of the Civic Area plan. Pedestrian and bike access across formidable Canyon Boulevard and down the hill from the University are essential. And family-appropriate behaviors must be established and enforced.
True. We are fortunate to live in a city that is desirable to both residents and businesses. While many cities are in the unfortunate position of offering massive tax incentives to encourage business development, employers come to us, despite our higher fees and challenging approval process. We do need to be aware of the potential for a jobs / housing imbalance, and I am on record for supporting the new housing linkage fee that will help us add new housing in the future. Nevertheless, companies like Google showcase Boulder’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, reflecting a vital facet of Boulder’s culture — one that has long shaped our community and should absolutely be nurtured in the future.
True. Google is a respected company. We should work closely with them and other companies to solve challenges in transportation, housing, etc. The economic success of Boulder is to be celebrated. It’s providing tax revenue, growth for other businesses, and employment.
true and false: economic success is to be celebrated and progressive companies should be welcomed; however, it would be well to address the impacts BEFORE locating here
True. The City’s vitality is built upon change. Google could make commuting obsolete or the next company might extract GHG from the atmosphere, . If the City were to decide to maintain the status quo; we will be stuck in a time warp, while the City’s soul withers. This does not diminish the magnitude of the challenges, but we must find solutions.
True. A vibrant economy is to be celebrated. Not only is it an integral element of our quality of life, but robust sales tax revenues enable us to pay for important amenities such as additional open space, parks, and libraries, as well as services such as public safety and recreation programs. However, while well-paying jobs are desirable, we also must be mindful that housing prices rise with ability to pay. Thus, large employers such as Google must help mitigate their impacts by helping to pay for affordable housing and transportation options for their workers—through impact fees, head taxes, or other appropriate measures currently under exploration. We need to make sure Boulder’s vibrant economy benefits all residents, and doesn’t force out low- and middle-income community members.
False, the City’s economy has been successful without companies such as Google moving in. The new challenges we now face have a far greater negative impact on Boulder than the slow growth rate at which our economy was already growing. Seeking the instant gratification that the insertion of Google money will bring to our city, a lot of people disregard the inevitable outcomes (such as alienation, gentrification, and other identity killers).
True. The success of the City’s economy has positive impacts that are far reaching. New businesses and jobs provide additional support to the service economy, they generate more tax revenues that allow us to invest in our City, and many of the businesses and employees will support the arts and cultural community.
Maybe. It depends on how we prioritize our competing goals. Boulder needs to integrate its economic development strategy with our other goals such as preserving affordability, maintaining or increasing diversity, preserving open space ecosystems, mitigating traffic congestion, reducing carbon emissions, etc. The jobs/housing imbalance exacerbates the conflicts created by divergent goals. So the question of whether job growth is unqualifiedly good has to be placed in the context of what our other goals are. Currently, our goals are not reconciled and fixing that is a conversation, we need to have. It must be based on facts and analysis so that we make informed decisions and balance our objectives. If the top goal is job growth, then current job growth is good. If housing affordability or reducing traffic congestion are top goals, then one might have a different conclusion about whether current the job growth rate is good.
True, celebrate and continue. The primary objections to increased employment and commercial development (Livable Boulder site) appears to be increased congestion and density issues. Boulder as an “employment center” doesn’t have to house all the employees who work here. Boulder County towns are interrelated and dependent because of transportation, and housing. Traffic congestion that makes commutes burdensome and environmentally harmful must be reduced. See my answer 20. regarding Boulder’s transportation.
True. I agree. I would point to the vacancy rates (very low) and number of permits (high) that are indications that Boulder has embraced this trend. We owe part of our significant reserve to the current economy. This reserve puts the city in a strong position to address disasters, such as the 2013 Flood, and other potentially crippling issues. I would like to see companies like Google reach into our lower income communities, offer computers and internships to get children excited in these areas as potential future employment.
False. The present situation is too much about, and of business efficiency. The “successes” are pushing all but the white, moneyed elite out, a trend we can’t keep up with which will hurt all.
True. The success of our economy is essential to making sure that we have sales tax dollars to fund our city programs and the quality of life that we enjoy here in the city. Our economy shouldn’t just be made up of tech giants like Google, though. In fact, we need a mix of businesses large and small—especially local businesses. At the same time, we need to be aware that being a job center creates impacts for Boulder, including 60,000 in-commuters/weekday, increased traffic congestion, demands on our city infrastructure and especially the affordability of our housing. The city recently enacted a commercial linkage fee to fund affordable housing and has undertaken a broader study to re-evaluate our current impact fees/taxes to see if they are appropriately calculated.
It’s a good thing to have a successful economy and we should address adequately the challenges it creates.
1000% True. In 1876, Boulder was one of two finalists to become either the home of the new University of Colorado or the new Colorado State Prison. With a crystal clear articulation of a vision to establish Boulder as a center of commerce and ideas, we became home to CU, and are now one of the most highly desirable places to live and work in the country. Nearly 150 years later, Boulder is at a similar watershed moment: we can either foster an enabling environment to become the leading innovation economy in the country, or we can halt progress and keep Boulder the way it was. I choose progress and welcome progressive and dynamic businesses to town, like Google.
true; Change is inevitable, and when that change is building a stronger economy, our town becomes more resilient. When that change is centered around innovation and experimentation, our town becomes a better place to live. Google specifically brings technological opportunities, as do many of the new businesses around.
True. I believe that, years from now, we will look back at the Google expansion just as favorably as we now celebrate the mid-century arrival of IBM and the Federal Labs (each having generated controversy in its own time). Industries rise and fall and employers grow and contract. Employment on the expanded Google campus will undoubtedly replace opportunities from other area employers that shrink or move away. New Google employees will bring with them fresh ideas, they will introduce to us diverse cultures, and they will make new contributions to our community. While we shouldn’t entice every large company to move to Boulder, Google’s philosophy of community engagement, environmental sustainability, and youthful innovation matches Boulder’s culture. We should continue to be receptive to similar matches so that our economy and our community continue to thrive.
I think the city generally has a good relationship with the entrepreneurial sector, but there is room for improvement. City regulations can be overly restrictive in some cases – for example, see how difficult it was for the Boulder Food Park to get approved. I feel that we should look for “pain points” in the city’s regulatory and procedural environment with an eye towards simplifying the processes to better support our entrepreneurs and innovators. It is also important that the city allows a reasonable amount of office space to be built that is suitable for entrepreneurs.
Most entrepreneurs are focused on what they are creating, and we need to stay out of their way. The City should figure out how to help them with meaningful incentives to grow and expand, help with finding commercial office space, and help with regional transport and housing issues. We should maintain the Economic Vitality Office that is providing an important liaison between business and the city.
Boulder has been and is a successful incubator. not sure we should try to fix what isn’t broken. I’d talk to them for ideas. Second part of question way too general.
The lack of business and managerial experience on the council exacerbates a natural friction between business and conservationist. The City has an affinity with struggling entrepreneurs. On the flip side, they have a great concern about the influence of larger businesses and misjudge the intentions of the free enterprise system. A more balanced city council, containing experience with the environment, management, along with business,both large and small, would better serve the City. During the Municipalization Plan debacle, the council and staff could not communicate with the business interests because of this imbalance. We will not get this balance until we adopt ward or district voting.
I actually think the city government has a fairly strong relationship with, and appreciation for, the business community, though there is always room for improvement. Boulder’s Economic Vitality Program, led by Liz Hanson, has been very successful in conducting outreach to new businesses to educate them on Boulder regulations, provide tax rebates, and problem-solve location challenges. We should continue to look for more opportunities to partner with our entrepreneurs—such as Boulder’s Energy Challenge, where the City held an ideas competition for energy saving technologies, and then funded the top winners to develop and implement their ideas. Co-hosting events such as the Tech Start-Up Week is also a way to celebrate local innovation. The City should make regular communication with the business community a best practice, and prioritize early consultation with the business community about policy changes affecting them.
Yes, It would be beneficial to help supply Boulder entrepreneurs with additional resources and possible benefits to building and/or growing a company that hires locally. No, I think some sectors are given more attention to than others.
I believe the City can be more consistent with its messaging to the business community, express a better understanding of what it really takes to operate a successful business, and make decisions with more consideration to the impacts they have on the business community. I believe the City recognizes how vital the business community is to the economic and financial health of the City, however, the City oftentimes makes decisions without fully appreciating the burden they put on local businesses.
Streamlining building permitting. Removing regulations on the cannabis grow industry where they appear to be hoops to jump thru rather than productive regulation. Be conscious that the courting of larger companies creates competition for work space that stresses smaller entrepreneurial entities. Use tax rules penalize hardware compared to software producers for material on prototype – it seems counter to our interests to burden a business at the prototype development stage. The City could do better by promoting events like startup week that feature local companies. City leadership generally has an appropriate relationship with the business community. Business interests are quite well represented on council.
I suspect businesses prefer predictability in their dealing with their City over other perks. Business has a bottom line, must be profitable to pay its bills, and make product or service that customers want. Anything that reduces red tape, streamlines process and gives timely certainty to regulatory decisions will improve business climate in Boulder. Anti-growth rhetoric, both commercial and residential, does have psychological effect. No one can predict if ordinances designed to limit business growth (too many jobs for housing) will result in a manageable slow down. Boulder pays its bills through taxes and fees. There are communities that have negative economic climate because they lack enough businesses. Most people appreciate what a strong business economy does for a City’s viability. Start ups pay attention to price of real estate, cost of living, transportation, licensing and regulation, training and networks, environmental regulations, availability of employees, incubator and accelerator programs. It is appropriate for business and government to discuss these criteria, and what the City is or is not doing in each of these categories. The criticism of planning staff meeting with developers to talk about pipeline projects was very negative because personalized (the naming staff and developers). This kind of “upset” is counterproductive, is accusatory, not a good way to communicate.
Boulder’s relationship with the entrepreneurial economy is actually very good, seeing this relationship evolve over time. In 1995, the city offered few incentives/rewards to entrepreneurial community. And starting in 2008, the city initiated the Economic Vitality Plan where significant City’s funds are used to incent existing businesses/employers to stay and adjust to their needs in Boulder. That has resulted in a program that generates additional revenue for the city by keeping these businesses in Boulder who may not have stayed. They now continue to contribute to our vibrant economy. For every $1 invested, Boulder gets about $7.50 back. Improving our fiber optic system to link to businesses and residents will contribute greatly to increasing entrepreneurial opportunities.
The city’s relationship is all beauty or business. We have a reputation among those who don’t dismiss us entirely, as open beautiful, progressive, creative and accepting. That is rapidly becoming mere marketing. We will lose it entirely if business doesn’t help create diversity, livable wage, many housing options and price range, strong benefits and content workers with voice and input–with us. All business with all Boulder must welcome innovation and diversity of people–not just rich execs and a few more unlivable minimum wages to not survive on.
While Boulder has a thriving entrepreneurial and start-up business sector, there are certainly things that the city could do better. We have been looking at housing the Boulder Chamber’s Innovation HQ in the new Civic Center, and we should continue those efforts. Addressing the challenge of housing affordability is key to being able to attract workers. Making progress on transportation issues also has a big impact on getting workers to/from their workplace. We should continue our efforts to attract businesses in our key clusters. More generally, the city needs to do enhanced outreach as we propose legislation or changes that affect businesses. Better communication ahead of the zero waste ordinance is one example. Another is outreach to the businesses along Folsom St. near the road diet. Looking for examples of cooperation between the city and the business community, the SmartRegs process stands out as a success story.
The business community should engage in a dialogue with City government about keeping our city viable and healthy.
We know that Boulder thrives on a mutually reinforcing balance of environmental and social assets that are sustained through a strong economy. Underpinning that economy are startup and tech companies that provide a source of new energy and vitality. I will work tirelessly with our business leaders to ensure that Boulder is the international hub for innovation and entrepreneurs. Without question, there is a sense of disconnect between the Council and the entrepreneurial economy. Through creative social media initiatives, partnerships with the Chamber, cross-industry mentoring, and others, I believe there are numerous ways to foster greater collaboration and trust. A key component of this effort will be enlisting the support of the business community to successfully move forward with strategies to increase workforce housing and regional transit options, so that the relationship is mutually reinforcing.
I value expanding Boulder’s entrepreneurial economy. Boulder is a hub of intelligence and innovation, which leads to a variety of businesses, all of which add unique elements to our town. The City has a small list of business partners, some of which provide resources for entrepreneurs. My experience living in Boulder for ten years shows me that it is a town filled with entrepreneurs, who are seldom represented in city government. I have met with entrepreneurs who are content with their lack of relationship with the City and do not have suggestions for change. I do not believe I have yet met with a representative subset of Boulder’s entrepreneurs. To know what to change, I would need to meet with more entrepreneurs and business experts such as the people who make up the Chamber.
While the City’s Office of Economic Vitality works well with the Chamber’s Economic Council in support of traditional businesses, more can be done to encourage the entrepreneurial segment. As someone who helped Level 3 Communications grow from a start-up with a handful of employees to a Fortune 500 company, I am quite familiar with the unique needs of the entrepreneurial community, including flexible office space, access to risk capital, and recruitment of non-traditional employees. I would favor the creation of a city board that is dedicated to entrepreneurial growth, advocating for the special needs of placement, development, and growth of entrepreneurs in our community. Working with the City and Chamber officials and with CU’s Deming Center for Entrepreneurship and Silicon Flatirons Center, the Boulder Entrepreneurship Board would make city resources available to allow Boulder to continue to grow as one of the premier entrepreneurial centers of the nation.
I live in North Boulder, where we are blessed with an active arts community, and I believe that a vibrant artistic and cultural environment enriches the lives of everyone. We are lucky to have so many creative, innovative, and motivated individuals who work to bring art and culture into our daily lives. As a city, we need to support out artists, and I believe there are several steps we can take in that direction. We should encourage artists and cultural events whenever possible. We should allow for more public arts in public places, like underpasses, civic buildings and on traffic boxes. We should also simplify the regulatory environment to encourage the use of public spaces, like the bandshell in the civic area, and to make it easier to do citizen art projects, like the city’s Paint the Pavement program.
Boulder is in the top 8 “arts clusters” in the country, and we have some of the most innovative arts organizations anywhere. They could use help in promotional information (getting the word out) and in promoting philanthropy. By supporting the arts and culture more forcefully, we could make a difference in their attendance and fundraising. In addition, many of our arts organizations are hurt by not having places to perform. Though the Dairy Center’s new build out will help with that, it would be a great asset to arts organizations and the public to have a Performing Arts Center.
Promote a more philanthropic community, as the Community Foundation tries to do.
The city has established a foundation to encourage the cultural scene with activities such as the Dairy Center and Chautauqua; but they should not attempt to direct culture and arts evolution.
As a Dairy Center board member, I know firsthand how vital arts are to our community and the importance of City support for the arts. First, the City should finalize the Cultural Master Plan to fully flesh out the City’s role in supporting public art, arts and cultural organizations, and local artists, as well as the role of private entities and non-profits. Resources provided by 2A will enable the City to incorporate art into the Civic Center and University Hill revitalization, and hopefully ingrain the practice of incorporating public art into major redevelopment projects and public spaces—e.g., murals along our bike paths or as a theme in BCH redevelopment. The City should also help nurture grassroots arts efforts such as First Fridays and the North Boulder Arts District. We should also explore public-private partnerships for a performing arts center, and mechanisms for providing affordable artist housing and studio space.
Become more involved as a City.
As a fan of music, art and culture, I am fairly impressed with the City’s current arts and culture scene. I will need to spend more time with members of the Art and Culture community to better understand how the scene can be improved.
As Boulder becomes more and more expensive, affordable art space and affordable housing for artists becomes scarcer. Without artists, you can’t have much of an art scene. Addressing affordability issues is a foundational element of a vibrant art scene. The currently evolving Arts Master Plan appears to be more action oriented which is the starting point for developing a strategy. Developing a strategy for capacity building and programming development for arts and culture non-profits will be and essential element of the Master Plan. Harnessing the energy of groups like Decade for the Arts, just one of several efforts underway by community members to address this issue, will be important to developing a strategy.
Art and culture come into existence by the individual act but the individual’s ideas are bred by the community where he/she lives. More art shows, free exhibits, artist grants, and commissions. The City should partner with the University for more artists in residence who’d be feted around town . Think of arts and culture in the broadest sense. Skateboarding is artful, as is slack lining, and Michael Grab with Gravity Glue. Lately young people are creating Zen art on the Creek that is like a Mandala Sand Painting, a conscious but transitory statement. Interesting.
More funding. More support. More visibility. More involvement—take our blank public spaces (such as underpasses, large blank walls, etc) and create a beautiful image—ask people to help in spreading the art. More publically attended events. We need to promote and support the creation of a state recognized art district in north Boulder. Potential opportunities also exist on the Hill. Make use with what we have.
More diversity more art, as events, and of visitors and residents. And more art and culture work of for instance, Out Boulder, I could have a better time if I didn’t just see tents of something to buy at pride but art, discussion, events, dancing, more diverse fellow queers too–even activism.
The recent draft Community Cultural Plan for the city of Boulder lays out many ways to create a more vibrant arts and cultural scene in the city. I support those findings, including: reinventing our public art program, financially supporting our cultural organizations, enhancing the vitality of the creative community, emphasizing arts and culture in our neighborhoods, engaging youth and enhancing the vitality of the creative community. In particular, I think we have a great opportunity in the recently re-envisioned civic center plan to make public art a priority. I would also like to elevate neighborhood efforts like the NoBo Arts District and the University Hill Creative District.
Arts events should be presented in all parts of the city, not just downtown and the civic center. NOBO now has it’s own arts scene. We can partner with CU to bring artists and performers from all parts of the world off-campus and into city venues . The Jaipur Literature Festival this month at the library is a perfect example.
The Cultural Master Plan offers some excellent tools for making the local arts scene more vibrant. This includes an emphasis on expanded public arts and exposure opportunities. I also think the City could do a better job supporting arts districts, directing grants to those areas for artistic activities, and zoning for live-work art studies. The City government doesn’t need to do it all, though, and can better partner with outside organizations and philanthropic foundations to help them draw attention to their work and additional grant funding.
More community murals and interactive art like the underpass at Martin Park in which chalk is available for use in certain places with a request to keep the space clean and the art respectful. The graffiti wall at Scott Carpenter Park is another great interactive art piece. Some cities do percent-for-the-arts (spending a percentage of capital improvement project budgets on art projects), which is a great program for Boulder, provided the art is in publicly viewed places. I really enjoy Baltimore’s “love” murals, which are all over town. That said, performance art is huge. Boulder partially funds the Dairy Center, and there is no lack of live music, but I would love to see more performances in more spaces. Specifically in parks.
Money. Boulder’s arts and culture scene is fresh, dynamic, creative, and vibrant. From visual and technical arts to performing arts, we have the people it takes to not only engage and entertain our own community, but to inspire the region and the nation. With the eighth-highest concentration of artists in the country, Boulder has the potential to rival cities like New York, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. But our artists are starving. Not for food, but for performance venues, for gallery and museum space, and for access to under-served communities. This will take funding from both public and private sources. Communities as close as Fort Collins, Arvada, and Denver have seen the wisdom in public-private partnerships, where dollars raised from the private sector can be paired with taxpayer support to create facilities and underwrite programs that will allow our artists to more fully engage with our community.
I absolutely support increased public funding for arts and culture in Boulder. Public art is one of the things that makes a city great, and Boulder is lacking in this area. We have several wonderful performance groups that get funding from the SFCD, helping us to sustain top-notch cultural facilities. We could see similar benefits in our public art by securing additional funding from the city budget. We should also consider a 1% for art program, similar to those found in Denver and many other cities.
Yes, I do. As a volunteer fundraiser for several arts organizations, I can attest to the difficulty of raising money. Boulder ranks in the bottom of philanthropic giving. Organizations are often held back from performing their function by a lack of money. The SDFC funding helps immensely, but more local investment would help. Our voters passed 2A, and we should give them the opportunity to fund other focused arts and culture initiatives for well-functioning organizations.
Yes. Lacking a larger philanthropic base, increased public funding may be necessary. the arts provide needed creative diversity in Boulder, thus stimulating our entrepreneurial aspect and contributing hugely to overall community aesthetics. I am humbled to have received the Camera’s Pacesetter Award for the Arts.
I believe the current funding level is adequate.
Yes. Boulder has a vibrant arts scene that is a major contributor to our local economy, and a growing aspect of Boulder’s identity, from the Boulder International Film Festival and E-Town to numerous art galleries and cultural festivals. Boulder voters’ overwhelmingly supported ballot measure 2A, which provided a much-needed infusion of funding for Boulder art and culture with $8 million in capital project support for two major Boulder arts institutions—The Dairy Center and Museum of Boulder—and $600,000 in funding for public art. Going forward, we now need to establish an ongoing funding source, such as “1% for the Arts” based on the City’s capital spending (or other appropriate mechanism), to provide a reliable pipeline of support for public arts projects, programming, and non-profit arts and cultural organizations.
Absolutely, arts and culture are a large part of what drives people to a place.
I do support increased funding for arts and culture in Boulder. I do not want the City’s arts and cultural base to be squeezed out of the city because they do not generate enough revenue to maintain a significant presence.
Yes. Culture is what elevates our awareness of the world around us. It is the essence of civilization. It is a common thread that binds our society together and gives meaning to people’s lives. The $700,000 budget for arts and culture is inadequate if we want to make Boulder’s art scene vibrant. The next council should consider funding arts and culture like we have funded open space and parks in the past. For capital expenditures, extending the 2A tax when it is due to sunset is a good option. There is need for cultural building space including affordable studio space and that costs money.
I support the funding of arts and culture. Do I support increased funding? I don’t know, I’d have to hear the request. Art and culture are creations that intrinsically come forth from communities as expressions of their existential being. Consider European medieval churches, Roman bridge and road building, and our Creek Path and Open Space. These things are statements of importance. What do I think is important to Boulder? Shared community for art, culture, open space, political discourse, academics, etc. People like Boulder for the farmer’s market, the Creek and Open Space, and shopping our malls. Boulder has curio shops but we also have high quality art shops, book stores, coffee houses, restaurants, etc. The high cost of living makes it difficult for the creative person who isn’t independently wealthy to live and create here. To the extent that we can foster an environment where people are excited by the creative act and can act on it, whether as a consumer or producer, this is the City in the Valley we all love.
Absolutely! Art in our daily experience is a critical component to how we feel about our daily existence, our quality of life, our community, and can contribute greatly to our public spaces. Public art shapes us as a community and is a critical element to the fabric of our society. Art should be everywhere I looks. Currently, the city has hired a consultant to research avenues the city may be able to use to increase the amount of art in the public realm. I would support a tax initiative or a development fee to increase the funding for the arts and culture in Boulder. We also have an incredible number of very accomplished artists living and working in Boulder and they represent a diversity in our community that is unmatched. Many elements and events could enliven the area without much building, moving existing buildings, or spending millions of dollars.
Yes. Art will go a long way in creating the kind of Boulder we want. Art will go a long way as symbol in challenging elitism, NIMBY, Inhumanity, and stagnation of diversity, creativity and engagement. Art gives voice.
Yes! The arts are an essential part of our community. Traditionally, we have not funded the arts at a very high level here in Boulder. Higher funding for the arts is an economic stimulus that creates a better quality of life for Boulder citizens and promotes tourism. The arts are important for their educational value, as well. In addition, the arts can serve as an important civic catalyst to create energy and vitality in our public spaces.
I do . Every dollar spent on supporting the arts is paid back in enhanced quality of life, people going to art venues and buying tickets to performances, and patronizing city restaurants.
The measure of every great society in the history of the world is the degree of its support for arts and culture. I strongly support increased public funding for arts and culture in Boulder. I was a strong supporter of the initiative to provide increased support for the Dairy Center, and I have played a critical role in the promotion and sponsorship of the upcoming Jaipur Literature Festival and Naropa’s famed Summer Writing Program, among others. Our investment in the arts serves to enhance Boulder’s position as a beacon for artists, writers, performers, and others, which in turn has a direct effect on tourism, public reputation, and our quality of life. Also, as studies have indicated, a vibrant cultural environment draws the type of creative class workforce that supports Boulder’s innovation economy.
Yes. Arts and culture improve lives of everyone who participates. In addition, the arts bring in money through increased visitor numbers.
Absolutely. Currently, Boulder spends one-tenth as much as many of its Front Range peer cities in support of arts and culture. Those other cities know that, for every $1 invested in culture and the arts, $7 is returned in jobs and tax revenue. But, the tide is turning in Boulder. Last year, I helped lead passage of Ballot Measure 2A, generating nearly $10 million in taxpayer support for improved facilities at the Dairy Center, around Chautauqua, and for creation of the new Museum of Boulder. This is only the beginning. Boulder can support more cultural facilities and greater community-wide artistic programming. Not only is it the right thing to do for our community, it will pay economic dividends through employment, tax revenues, and attraction of visitors and employees to an economically and artistically complete town. Ballot Measure 2A was just the beginning. Let’s keep the momentum going.
Trying to get to work and getting caught in a traffic jam is a terrible way to start the day. Snarled traffic raises stress and degrades our environment. It is a multi-faceted problem which requires a multi-pronged solution. We need to increase our workforce housing supply to reduce the number of in-commuters. More in-town housing options for our workers will reduce in-commuter traffic and its attendant problems. Of course, it is not possible to provide housing for everyone who works here, nor does every in-commuter want to live here, so we should strive to create additional transportation modes that are pleasant, safe and efficient. We should increase our transit services as much as possible to provide realistic alternatives to driving, paying particular attention to transfer requirements and the final mile. We should also work on regional housing and transportation options with our neighboring cities.
All three. With more than half of Boulder employees commuting in to Boulder from other cities, we need to work on this problem regionally, with other cities and counties. We desperately need to reduce the traffic, but we must find workable solutions (decent commute times) while continuing to encourage alternate modes.
Reduce it and channel it to other modes. We need to reduce traffic jams, high carbon emissions, and burdens on city services.
I don’t believe that the city streets can handle the traffic if we widen all the highways into the city. We should work to reduce the congestion by promoting ride-share, and RTD. However, the only lasting approach is to move commuters to other channels, which of course we don’t have and we need to begin now to build our 21st century system along the major arterial. This only works if there is also an efficient transportation infrastructure to couple with inside the city. Action on this cries out for immediate attention. While our leaders have been planning and planning: we are being strangled by traffic.
I would work to significantly reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles driven into Boulder every workday in a variety of ways. Bus Rapid Transit will soon provide one of the fastest and most sustainable travel modes along Highway 36, and we should also pursue BRT along the Diagonal to Longmont, and Highway 7. To incentivize bus ridership by commuters, we are exploring a County-wide EcoPass program to put a transit pass in the hands of every Boulder employee (and resident), making them nine times more likely to use transit. We should also promote other Travel Demand Management programs such as vanpools, telecommuting, and appropriately priced parking, as well as enhancements to our bike and pedestrian travel systems and other first and last mile improvements.
I would strive to reduce it; our bubble is a fragile ecosystem that could burst at any time. Boulder needs to continue to set an example of sustainability with little, to no, carbon footprint. Another reason to help slow down our growth rate. Big companies may hire big numbers, but what percentage of that workforce is local?
I believe it is a combination of all three. The City needs to be able to better accommodate the current level of traffic while encouraging reductions and alternate modes. I believe it is all three because any single approach has its consequences. Accommodation, is likely to result in more traffic, more frustration, and more carbon emissions. Reduction, unless on a voluntary basis, is likely to lead to very unhappy commuters and potentially negative impacts on hiring businesses. Other modes can negatively impact businesses if it limits people’s ability to shop and dine around the City. We need to develop a comprehensive, creative, and practical approach to alleviating traffic, reducing emissions, and reducing maintenance requirements at the same time we do not negatively impact the businesses community and economic base in Boulder.
Reduce and channel. Climate change is an existential issue. Transportation accounts for about 1/4 of our emissions. We don’t have an option to not change ourselves to meet this challenge. Thus, it is essential for us to reduce vehicle miles traveled. With regard to in-commuting, that means developing better public transit connections to other communities as part of a regional transportation plan and intercepting commuters at their commute starting points. That must be complemented locally by more local bus routes, more frequent local bus service and by strategically located car share and bike share nodes that feed a dense network of safe and fast bike routes. Lastly, limiting free parking and unbundling parking from building space, both, which are subsidies for driving, are essential to encouraging alternative modes of travel. Why? See answer 19.
See Anthony Foxx, Secretary of U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Dept.’s website “Beyond Traffic”. Congestion in Boulder imposes upon all of us to do as Secretary Foxx asks, a conversation about what our transportation future will be. We cannot build enough roads and parking spaces to handle single occupancy vehicles and all the other traffic we need (trucks, etc.). We don’t have the money and even if we did it would be an environmental disaster. In 2000 Onion Newspaper’s headline was “Transportation for Others” “Washington, DC – A study by the American Public Transportation Ass reveal that 98 per cent of Americans support the use of mass transit by others. …” This joke still works, but it isn’t as funny 15 years later with little progress in creating mass transit THE MASSES USE. We have new technologies that will allow us to plan and use public and private mass transit as never before (GPS, crowd sourcing, smart phones.) This is a big brain problem, getting people out of cars, which will result in greener transportation.
I would like to reduce it and/or try to channel it into other modes. Given Boulder’s current long-standing policies, I do not see the city as trying to accommodate increasing traffic by widening traffic lanes, etc. That is unrealistic and, in many places, physically impossible to consider or implement. The alternatives of reducing traffic through better transit and transit options in addition to pedestrian and biking options that are critical in reducing the number of single occupancy vehicle trips per day. Considering changes in land use that would promote more housing options critical to changing the balance in the jobs/housing equation are needed.
If we had more housing opportunity, diversity and affordability those commuters could be strollers, workers and givers here. As we look forward to that future alternative transportation(s) are a worthy goal.
Overall, being a job center is a good thing for Boulder. However, there are impacts, one of which is having almost 60,000 in-commuters arriving in Boulder each day. The vast majority come in single occupant vehicles. My solution would be to offer attractive alternatives to driving alone. One solution is to offer better transit; BRT and the Flatiron Flyer are on the way! As a complement to the BRT, I am very interested in a community-wide EcoPass, with the opportunity for it to include people who are employed in the city of Boulder. Better first and final mile connections to commuters’ workplaces and homes would part of the solution as well. Ideally, we would also be able to offer more workforce housing in the city so that not quite so many of those folks would have to commute from other places.
This traffic should be channeled to other modes, Since people are coming in to work, the use of transit modes other than the car is preferable to everyone driving in – for the in-commuter who does not have to sit in traffic, and the environment.
We must make travel in and around Boulder more convenient, affordable, and in line with our environmental values. That is why I am committed to expanding multi-modal transportation options, including community-wide EcoPasses, additional bus-rapid-transit corridors, and other investments that facilitate biking and pedestrian travel–without creating additional pain for drivers. The most pressing transportation issues for the City of Boulder are regional in-commuting. I am confident that the new BRT system will provide an excellent relief valve for the congestion on US36, especially if we provide the final-mile connections. However, regional commuter traffic will remain a problem unless we invest in further regional transit systems that provide similar relief in other transportation corridors. This, of course, will take additional funds. If RTD resources aren’t forthcoming, I think it is worth considering some sort of a local funding district that can support additional transit investment for northwest area.
The largest obstacle in transportation is putting the services where the people who will use them are. I strive to reduce traffic and channel it to other modes. Densification is better for the environment; to be a truly environmentally-friendly town, we have to fill in. It’s vital to realize the relationship between transportation and housing; the more dense a place is, the more services can be built there, reducing the need for transportation. Also, dense places become economically feasible to service with transit, reducing the need for congestion due to cars. For transportation solutions, I support the Transportation Master Plan. It’s important to provide both housing and transportation choice to allow people the rights to live more freely. If more freely means in a car, that’s a personal choice, which should be made responsibly. Making that choice could mean having to put up with some traffic.
I would entice the use of other modes of transportation. But we must use carrots, not sticks. For those who are close enough and physically able to commute by bicycle or walking, we should make it easy and safe. Having served on the Greenways board, I know that we have a significant backlog of bike and walking paths just waiting for funding to be built; I would accelerate these. Not only will this increase non-auto commuting, bike paths incur 1/20th of the cost of construction and maintenance compared to traditional automobile streets. For those who must commute longer distances, we need to make regional buses more accessible and inexpensive. But we needn’t stop there. Incentives for ride-sharing, car-sharing, employer vans, and on-demand ride services have been effectively implemented around the country to reduce traffic and emissions. Boulder needs to catch up.
Drivers are understandably suspicious of approaches that seem to penalize automobiles, but I do not believe that it is a zero-sum game. Wider bike lanes and the addition of a central turn-lane are changes that are designed to improve safety and traffic flow, not just for bikes and pedestrians, but for automobiles as well. It is clear that the Folsom bike lane project is not working exactly as anticipated, and to be successful, the city will need to make some changes. But for me, the biggest benefit of the wider bike lanes on Folsom is increased safety for all users and the ability of families and other cautious cyclists to use the road when they wouldn’t otherwise. And each additional bike ride moves us one step closer to our environmental goals, as well as taking a car off the road to provide more space for drivers.
We must limit fossil fuel-emitting vehicles. We should try everything we can to promote and encourage biking, mass transit, walking, etc. But, cars are still necessary for many people, and limiting parking places and car lanes just becomes a nuisance for many in our community. We are not being sensitive to their needs. And the policies have not appeared to be vetted in the broad community. In addition, limiting parking is not a good policy for the businesses downtown. With increasing rents and no access to parking for their employees or customers, some may be forced to leave. As for the Folsom decision, it possibly caused more carbon emissions with cars traveling further out of the way to avoid the back ups and idling cars.
While I understand the sentiment behind these policies, I don’t agree with them. Downtown businesses need parking for customers and commerce; and the so- called “right sizing” process failed in providing adequate data and implementation–not talking to and listening to those being impacted BEFORE putting the project in place.
The foray in Right-Sizing was a disaster. The lack of communication with community, the complete lack of planning, the failure to even define how they would judge success ensures that we will never know whether or not it could be a success. Of course we need to have safe and convenient bikes lanes. But use some judgment. It doesn’t do any good to encourage the use of alternative modes of transportation when there aren’t any worth considering. Again, we need to think outside the box, throw away the old failed concepts and start afresh. Progress requires building trust with the commuters to move them from their cars to alternatives. But providing appealing alternates takes prioritizing, innovation, communication, lots of hard work, action. Progress is measured in results and we don’t have any.
I support shared, unbundled, managed parking within our higher-density redevelopments, to reward and incentivize alternative mode choices. Our downtown program, in which parking meter fares help offset costs of EcoPasses for downtown employees—thereby incentivizing transit, biking and walking, while freeing up appropriately priced parking for visitors and shoppers—is an excellent model to expand to other city districts such as Boulder Junction. I support the construction of “complete streets” for all travel modes along key corridors. We should invest in first and last mile improvements to our transit system, including bus-then-bike shelters, expansion of B-cycle, better bike/ped connectivity from transit stops to end destinations, and use of circulator shuttles to high-employment areas. Utilizing valuable lessons learned from the Folsom project, we should also continue exploring opportunities for buffered bike lanes to increase bike ridership and entice timid cyclists onto the roads, as well as improve travel safety for all.
The City has, so far, reduced people’s options for parking and/or driving, but they have yet to offer alternate options. The City has chosen to act defensively, which just gets people agitated. There should be reward and incentive for those people choosing alternate modes. Positive reinforcement always wins. The City’s approach needs to change to work better for the community.
These policies do not result in the desired outcome. While we do not want the City characterized by parking lots, the current policy seems to create more frustration on the part of downtown businesses and patrons than it does to alleviate automobile congestion and carbon emissions. I do not believe “rightsizing” major streets in the City is the answer to reducing the City’s carbon footprint, encouraging meaningful additional bike use, or improving the safety of cyclists. I believe the outcome of rightsizing is increased automobile traffic on side streets through neighborhoods and past schools. Rightsizing is unlikely to result in meaningful emissions reduction. I am concerned it will increases safety issues for cyclists, children, and adults on streets that previously had limited automobile traffic. There is opportunity to improve the cycling experience around the City and reduce carbon emissions. I do not believe rightsizing is the answer.
It is one step of many we need to take in order to combat climate change. The reality is that we cannot make essential carbon emission reductions without reducing vehicle miles traveled. That is the goal of our transportation master plan (30% reduction of vehicle miles traveled) which itself is informed by the 80% carbon reduction climate action plan goal. What are the solutions opponents propose to meet our 80% carbon reduction goals? What changes to business as usual are off the table for consideration? Certainly there are other ways to reduce vehicle miles traveled. But will they be any more acceptable? Right sizing was never about getting everyone out of cars; it was about giving those people who can utilize other mobility options, a better set of options, thereby freeing up road capacity for those who cannot adapt as readily to non auto travel, while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions.
Parking restrictions are appropriate “sticks” IF there are “carrots” too. We want a situation where we have big carrots and little sticks, or at least a balance. Parking is the same as saying access by car. The Daily Camera reported the Pearl Street Mall’s success bucked national trends in part because of parking near the mall. The City’s transportation planning budget is small and dedicated to giving carrots to bikers and walkers. RTD takes most of our transportation dollars ($46 million, RTD, about $1 million City transportation planning.) with little result, the carrot side. RTD’s mode share in Boulder is maybe 7% of the trips generated. I would vote for more city transportation tax IF this included open discussion about the RTD tax /service inequity.
I do not think this statement is correct in either area referred. The city doesn’t have a policy of limiting parking spaces downtown to encourage other modes of transportation. The city does encourage the use of Eco-passes, shared ridership etc. Downtown Boulder, Inc hosts a very successful Eco-Pass program for its employees. The facts are that a very finite amount of space exists for both parking and development in many areas of town and this balance always needs consideration. As a frequent user of Folsom, I do not know of any parking spaces that have been removed during the current experiment and so do not know to what the question is referring. To the best of my knowledge, parking was not permitted along Folsom prior to implementation of the current experiment.
A worthy idea. Time will tell if it works and is the peoples’ will.
I favor transportation policies that encourage people to take a mode of travel other than the SOV. The goal is not to make it difficult for people to drive; it’s really about offering attractive alternatives to the SOV. For me, the Folsom road diet is an opportunity to encourage the interested but hesitant bicyclist to have a safer environment in which to ride. It has never been about making car travel unpleasant. The public outreach on the Folsom project certainly should have been better than it was. With regard to parking downtown, there is a parking district to facilitate parking and free individual buildings from having to provide it. The fact that the parking is paid also helps to create turnover in the spots and can actually help the businesses. The downtown alternative mode rate is the highest in the city, in large part due to their EcoPass program.
On Folsom,I don’t think adequate data was collected before this was done, the impact on businesses located in this area was not really considered and the public was not prepared for the impact. There must be better ways to encourage people to use alternate modes of travel.
I am an advocate of surge pricing for parking downtown during peak hours and other policies and incentives that encourage multi-modal transportation. These initiatives, however, must be framed publicly within the context of meeting and exceeding the goals contained within our Climate Commitment. I believe Boulder can position itself as a model for progressive transportation and environmental policies with enhanced communications and public information campaigns, and that pilot projects such as the protected bike lanes on Folsom will create an opportunity to develop data-driven policies for future policies, if conceived and implemented openly and correctly. Along those lines, I have been outspoken in my criticism of the City’s implementation of the Living Labs project on Folsom Street. Clearly, City Staff should have done a better job communicating the goals for that project, working with local residents and businesses to address their concerns, and collecting pre-implementation data that would be useful for determining success and/or addressing negative conditions.
I fully support responsible projects aimed at decreasing or diverting car use. Downtown businesses are required to provide employees with eco passes, so employees do not need to drive. If they live in a neighborhood not served by RTD, they can transport themselves to a bus stop to take the bus from there. My general philosophy is that people should be able to do what they want to do without question unless it negatively impacts someone else. Driving pollutes everyone’s air, water and soil, so I have no qualms with governmental disincentives to driving. Add the pollution to the capacity for cars to kill people; I am excited about any opportunity to reduce the number of cars on the road.
The trade-off between bicycles and cars does not have to be zero-sum. We don’t need to “punish” drivers of automobiles to entice people to bike (I would suggest it actually has the opposite effect). The Folsom Street experiment is a good example. If the goal is to create a safer bike route north-south in that corridor, then the better place to put the protected bike lane is 200 yards east of Folsom, on 26th Street, which starts at Canyon and connects near Mapleton with the Elmers Two-Mile Creek bike path, which runs all the way north of Iris. Not only would this be less disruptive to cars driving on Folsom, it would be safer and quieter for bicyclists. We need not pit drivers against cyclists. Rather, we should make cycling so easy and safe that car drivers consider the cycling alternative of their own free will.
Anything? How about self-piloting hovercraft! Slightly more realistically, I would add north-south bike paths to our east-west creek paths, along with a network of streetcars that connect to a high-speed, high-frequency train to Denver and Ft. Collins. If that’s still too fantastical, I’ll settle for extending the new Bus Rapid Transit facilities with service every 15 minutes from downtown and Boulder Junction, along with new BRT to east Boulder County and Longmont, and adding more in-town bike paths and bus routes.
I would explore with RTD making Eco-Pass free for Boulder residents and all people commuting into Boulder.
[No answer provided.]
There are two things that would have a major impact on the City’s transportation system. One, balance the council make up so it understands how to prioritize issues. Two, admit that the current thinking has stalled. Repopulate the Transportation Advisory Board with aggressive people who bring new ideas,and stop the round robin.
Within the limits of fiscal reality, I would fully implement our new Transportation Master Plan, which calls for improving our complete streets infrastructure, enhancing multi-modal travel options and mode share, and reducing vehicle miles traveled, in particular single-occupancy vehicle use. I would collaborate with regional partners to complete Bus Rapid Transit infrastructure—finishing U.S. 36, and then along the Diagonal and on Highway 7. I would finish the work of our regional EcoPass Working Group, which I sit on with Councilwoman Young, to develop the details of a County-wide EcoPass program and funding mechanism to put a transit pass in the hands of every resident and employee. And finally, I would continue to promote bike and ped use—by completing the buildout of our bike/ped system in less-served areas to address first and last mile challenges, and using parking prices as a tool to incentivize more sustainable travel behavior.
Free ECO passes should be available to residents who both live and work within the city limits.
I would consider the opportunity to create a free bus system within the Boulder City limits. I would also evaluate the system as a potential method to create inbound Park and Ride systems for commuters coming into Boulder. Most of our Park and Rides were originally created for outbound commuters. We may be able to encourage fewer cars in the City during rush hour by creating in-commuter Park and Rides and frequent and free bus routes to many of the City’s employments centers. Similarly, for residents, a free bus system would allow us to do away with the unfortunate ECO Pass neighborhood/block qualifying system and encourage use throughout the city.
Increase bus routes and frequency of service. Provide community wide EcoPass Further limit free parking and decouple parking from building space so that it is paid for separately from the space. Expand protected bike lanes.
More plans to get people out of their cars than just bicycles, walking, and RTD. We’ve focused on these three, and we still have the SOV with a much larger mode share.
I would: Analyze how the city could implement a city-wide Eco-pass. Take the less frequent RTD routes and make them more frequent, increasing frequency to every 15 minutes. Try as a pilot project. Consider city-sponsored shuttle system. Ensure the quality and safety along bike paths, lanes and sidewalks are maintained at the highest standards; make this a top priority. Include filling potholes, improve and increase safe sidewalks, crosswalks, and street treatments. Snow and ice removal in crosswalks, sidewalks, and bike lanes and paths need better consideration for those who are physically impaired, pedestrians, and bicyclists Re-examine timing of traffic lights and consider if current standards are producing desired GHG-emission reductions. Examine how pedestrian crossings work at lighted intersections and if they are as safe and efficient as necessary. Price parking so it pays true costs. The city should increase its rates commensurate with private sector.
I would like to see more of it, and more forms of it as we strive to broaden social and economic diversity and opportunity I think this is important. I do see a lot of historically oppressed groups mistreated on public transportation, kicked off because drivers are uncomfortable, that cannot stand.
If I had a magic wand I would…Eliminate our funding shortage for transportation infrastructure and bring all of our roads, bridges, underpasses and paths up to our desired standard. I would completely build out our multi-use path system and design and build complete streets. I would implement a community-wide EcoPass. I would have the full local transit service that we desire with headways so short that you wouldn’t need a schedule. I would also have a realtime app that told you when the next bus arrived. I would pilot a driverless car program in conjunction with Google. I would also institute a continuing funding mechanism based on people’s use of the system. VMT would be a great way to do that.
I would provide an EcoPass to everyone who lives in Boulder, also to in-commuters and make sure that bus routes take people where they want to go in a timely and easily accessible manner. At the moment it costs too much to use the bus if you don’t have an EcoPass.
As we develop our technology-inspired sharing economy, which has spawned new transportation models such as Uber, I think the City of Boulder can and should do more to engage and enlist the local tech community to assist in the creation of more user-friendly information systems and platforms. For example, sponsoring “hackathons” or coding sessions that would power mobile apps around bus schedules, ride-sharing platforms, and other important information. As cities around the world create more tech-friendly information systems, so have they seen a direct correlation with increased use of mass transportation systems, and this is our ultimate goal.
My biggest transportation priority is safety for all users on 30th street. I would revamp the traffic light on Baseline to prohibit left turns onto 30th without a green arrow (I constantly witness near-accidents here, and have heard multiple crashes from my nearby window) and widen the bike lanes to ensure that bicycles are given the 3 feet of space that motorized vehicles are required to provide (CO 42-4-1003). The road is also highly damaged between Colorado and Aurora on the west side, so I would see it repaved
I support a community-wide EcoPass. I would make riding a bus to, from, and within the City of Boulder free to anyone who lives or work here. The annual cost of a unified bus system for all of Boulder’s 80,000 non-CU residents and 60,000 in-commuters has been estimated at between $50 and $100 per person. This cost could be covered in any number of ways, including through an employee head tax of $6 to $8 per month (half of which would be paid by employers) or a sales tax of about 0.3% to 0.4%, (half of which would be paid by visitors). In addition to free and ubiquitous mobility, there would be a significant reduction in carbon emissions, parking demands would be reduced, street impacts would be lessened, and Boulder could serve as a green leader, inspiring other communities to provide free buses.
RTD is a very frustrating partner. They don’t focus on what should be their main goal, which is improving and increasing transit service. Boulder County is not getting close to their fair share of service from the FasTracks project. The low level of bus service that RTD is providing to Boulder Junction is particularly upsetting. Given that commuter rail will not be coming to town for 20+ years, we should have been given top-notch bus service using the new managed lane on US36.
Given that they haven’t met their Fastracks commitments, I feel we should negotiate hard with them to provide regional bus service with greater frequency and quality to meet the needs of commuters on the high frequency routes (36, Diagonal, Arapahoe, etc.) Also, they should continue to meet our needs within the community. In addition, we should begin to explore options with our neighboring cities for other regional transport districts to augment RTD’s service.
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The City completely dropped the ball on following and pressuring RTD to meet their commitments Who was responsible for keeping Boulder in the loop? This Council will be remembered as the Council that put a bike lane on Folsom but couldn’t reduce traffic on our arterial highways. This issue has no sense of urgency by the City. Light a fire under the staff and the Council to negotiate solutions with the major players and to form alliances with our neighboring communities now. It is something Boulder has had a tough time achieving in the past. The City has considered itself an island with little need for others. Attitudes have to change on this issue; we are part of a greater community.
Since 2004, Boulderites have paid $70 million in FasTracks sales taxes but haven’t yet received our fair share of promised transportation improvements. While this rightfully frustrates residents, the reality is that regional equity for our corridor is not a priority for most of the 15-member RTD board and the cost of Northwest Rail has more than doubled, delaying it by decades. So we both need to push RTD as hard as we can to get the transportation benefits we deserve, while also recognizing they’re an important partner with whom we need to work collaboratively. Specifically, in the short term, we must advocate for immediate, cost-effective mobility improvements, such as high frequency service when the US 36 bus rapid transit project is completed in January, arterial BRT for the 16,000 daily commuters on the Diagonal, and reasonable fares for Boulder’s highly successful EcoPass program, which I hope we can expand countywide.
The City has been too accommodating to a private company that only has it’s own interests in mind. It’s time for RTD to come to a settlement with people they lied to. (see answer to previous question)
I am disappointed train service has not been delivered as originally promised and it is unclear that RTD operates in a manner that is in the best interest of the City. At this time, I am not very familiar with the exact nature of the relationship the City has, or does not have with RTD and will need examine this issue further.
Despite our ½ billion Fastracks investment, Boulder isn’t going to get train service anytime soon, if at all. US 36 BRT represents reduction in service – as mid-day service is cut and 5 of 11 stops are eliminated, as Boulder Junction, built to support transit, will be without mid-day and weekend service and lastly. Meanwhile, RTD proposed an 18% and 14% EcoPass cost for business and neighborhood passes, respectively,. The new council will also need to improve the relationship with RTD; that is the most likely way Boulder will capture the value of its Fastracks investment. It will also need to focus on building new coalitions with Boulder County communities to develop a more fine grained transit network. Council needs to proactively engage with DRCOG and Colorado Municipal League, and build stronger alliances with other jurisdictions to gain the political leverage necessary to induce RTD to meet our needs.
RTD lost ALL credibility with taxpayers once we learned it voted to unfund NW Rail, but spent Boulder County’s sale tax revenue to 2040. Its excuses are insulting. Once RTD knew its FasTrack overruns (2008-2009), it should have returned to the legislature for instruction. Instead, RTD and its Denver metro Directors voted, over and over, to spend our sales revenue to 2040. The truth RTD paid for Denver’s system by un-funding NW Rail but keeping our tax dollars. Voters everywhere, if they understood what RTD did to Boulder County, would be even more distrustful of government’s ability to handle tax money. This is a black eye for Colorado government. The perplexing question is why Boulder County politicians have not publicly and vigorously spoken against the abuse of our FasTrack sales tax vote. Voters ultimately pay the bill and we should be told the truth, straight up. Between 2005-2014 Boulder County’s FasTrack tax of $142.6 million paid for our share of express lane buses, US 36. Forward, 2015-2040 Boulder County’s FasTrack tax will give metro Denver commuter rail another + $700 million, nothing in it for us.
To put it mildly, I’m not too happy with RTD and I think Boulder has received the short end of the stick. However, until we have another partner to provide transportation options, we must work with RTD. We have to negotiate agreements that cannot be renegotiated after we have signed an agreement. I doubt another RTD tax measure on a ballot would have the support of the majority of the voters in Boulder. RTD needs to do something to restore the trust of the residents of Boulder.
RTD is very important and necessary as a disabled person. Promises made should be kept and enrich service for are. Human dignity, equal access and civil treatment must be enhanced and carried on always.
The city’s relationship with RTD has been challenging. While I very much appreciate Chuck Sisk’s work representing us in District O, many times we’re in a difficult position politically. Starting with the promise of the train coming to Boulder, which might (don’t hold your breath) arrive in 2042, there has been a lack of regional equity for us. We’ve been left holding the short end of the stick while other corridors with more clout have gotten projects completed. Other frustrations include the recent frequency of service proposals and the proposed pricing structure for fares related to both BRT and Light Rail, which put Boulder at a disadvantage again. We’ve also been buying up service in town to keep headways reasonable. On the bright side, we are getting BRT on managed lanes (Yay!) and there are studies underway on both the Highway 119 and 7 corridors for enhanced bus service.
Boulder residents have paid into the system for years and deserve enhanced bus service right away and we should not give up on train service either.
Given the status of the uneven relationship between the City and RTD, I believe greater collaboration with surrounding communities is critical to developing effective regional transportation plans and identifying the funds to improve our transportation systems. This begins with participation in the alphabet soup of regional transportation organizations, from DRCOG to US36 Commuting Solutions. Ultimately, I am not confident that there will be a state or metropolitan funding solution to our transportation challenges. For that reason, I think we need to explore smaller district financing options for the systems that will enhance mobility in our corridor, as well as exploring the feasibility of a Boulder County-wide Eco-Pass or comparable mechanism.
The train service to Denver is physically problematic due to the large hill just outside of Boulder. I appreciate RTD’s constant reevaluation of services to ensure the most effective transit.
Boulder seems to have adopted a victim mentality, with RTD as the abuser. In the past, we made tactical errors by not extracting binding commitments from RTD in exchange for tax support. Shame on us. But, rather than re-living mistakes of the past, we need to act like full partners with RTD, demanding the services that our community deserves and withholding our crucial support if RTD is not responsive. And, if RTD fails us, we should have the courage to provide our own service, as we have done with the HOP.
Yes — Brockett, Burton, Cote, Jones, Kaszuba, May, McCabe, Percy, Plass, Spinrad, Yates
Don’t Know — Carlisle, Kruteck, Morzel, Raj, Rigler
Cindy Carlisle — a role, yes, but not significant
Michael Kruteck — Co-housing and micro-housing are worthy of consideration. I am not sure a “significant role” is appropriate in the case of micro-housing becasue the concept is still being proven.
Lisa Morzel — One must recognize that neither of these can play a big enough role to address the housing issues in the city. That said, these types of housing could offer some diversity in housing choice and contribute in a positive way to the solution. They would also lower the amount of subsidy to very little to none, which is far more sustainable and enabling for individuals.
Jyotsna Raj — Diverse types of housing need to considered, in a discussion with the neighborhoods that may accommodate them.
Bill Rigler — I certainly support these options for expanding the range of housing affordability options. They also have the benefit of supporting our environmental sustainability goals in the promotion of more efficient building designs. At the same time, we need to be sensitive to neighborhood concerns about higher density uses. It is a balance that considers the amount of available parking in certain residential zones and other impacts associated with higher occupancy rates.
Yes — Carlisle, Morzel
No — Brockett, Burton, Cote, Jones, Kruteck, Percy, Plass, Rigler, Spinrad, Yates
Don’t Know — Kaszuba, May, McCabe, Raj
Jared Kaszuba — Companies in Boulder are growing, so they are creating new jobs. So, yes and no.
Leonard May — That depends on which of our conflicting goals we want to give priority to. If job growth is the priority, we don’t have enough jobs. If preservation of affordability, open space, reducing traffic congestion are priorities, then increasing jobs exacerbates these problems.
Julianne (Julie) McCabe — I appreciate this question’s intent but it asks for speculation. Boulder isn’t a closed system. The current 60,000 commuters have economic effect both City, County, and regionally. D Camera 8/30/15 headline re. comp plan: current zoning allows another 18,500 jobs by 2040 but only 6,260 dwelling units. If Boulder tames the single occupancy vehicle dominance so increasing congestion isn’t byproduct of the housing/jobs imbalance, then what other problems might this imbalance create? Too many people in the sense that some dislike crowded urban centers or?
Jyotsna Raj — Our city needs a strong economy, and we have University, the National Labs and our entrepreneurial community as it’s underpinning.
Yes — Carlisle, Jones, Morzel, Plass, Raj, Rigler, Yates
No — Cote, Kruteck, Percy
Don’t Know — Brockett, Burton, Kaszuba, May, McCabe, Spinrad
Aaron Brockett — I support legalizing and regulating STR’s, but council still has not decided the final form regulations will take.
Jan Burton — I have read what has been discussed, but I’m not aware that the referendum has been published. I think we should allow short-term rentals in private residences with no restrictions. But separate properties, not lived in by the owner should be reserved for long-term rental properties. No other restrictions.
Jared Kaszuba — I support the need for stricter regulations in regards to facilities, safety, etc. But I also believe that a 7.5% tax may be a bit excessive.
Leonard May — There is no regulating referendum, there is an extension of hospitality tax referendum which I support. There is a proposed ORDINANCE, as yet unresolved. I support properly regulated short term rentals.
Julianne (Julie) McCabe — The question is confusing. Council voted 7/1 to regulate VRBO and Airbnb. Is there a ballot initiative for this issue too? I think any place that is rented/occupied needs health and safety checks. Depending on the place and method of operation, short terms rentals can impact a neighborhood. It’s well known that second homes are harder to mortgage because of absent homeowner issues.
Cha Cha Spinrad — I believe owner occupants should be allowed to use Airbnb with few or no restrictions
Yes — Carlisle, Kaszuba, May, Raj
No — Brockett, Burton, Cote, Jones, Kruteck, McCabe, Morzel, Plass, Rigler, Spinrad, Yates
Don’t Know — Percy
Jared Kaszuba — I support! This wasn’t a yes/no question.
Comrade Keith Percy — still studying see pros and potential cons…
Bill Rigler — I OPPOSE this initiative.
Yes — Carlisle, Kaszuba, May, Raj
No — Brockett, Burton, Cote, Jones, Kruteck, McCabe, Morzel, Percy, Plass, Rigler, Spinrad, Yates
Jared Kaszuba — I support!
Bill Rigler — I OPPOSE this initiative.