I am in Boulder with 14 diverse Burlington stakeholders looking at how to keep our downtown vibrant. Like Burlington, Boulder has a great 4-block pedestrian mall.
Boulder has a good transit center a block and a half off of the pedestrian mall that features:
- A heated indoor waiting area
- Public bathrooms
- A little store
- Ticket counter
- Real time bus arrival information
- Parking garage
- Covered bike racks and bike lockers
Passengers can wait inside or under the canopy while the screens provide real time bus info.
The extensive covered bike parking and bike lockers are well utilized by commuters.
Boulder has closed some low-traffic streets to create neighborhood parks and gardens — note how the sidewalks on the side continue through to maintain walking routes.
Boulder’s pedestrian mall has many features such as fountains, raised beds, bridges and kid play areas. It is a wider street and they have less snow to contend with, but their landscaped street environment seems more intimate than Church Street’s straight 4-block corridor.
This kids rock and animal garden is a popular stop for kids on the street.
More pictures and analysis soon, but here are some of my initial take-aways:
- Boulder has a downtown-wide “business improvement district” that enables their group to focus on improving all of downtown, not just their 4-block mall. I believe Burlington could benefit from an active business district that encompassed more than just the Marketplace.
- Boulder gives commuters incentive to free up parking. Parking revenues from the business district pay for all downtown employees to have a free transit pass. Yup, it’s true. 62 percent of commuters regularly travel some other way than driving solo. This frees up thousands of parking spaces for shoppers.
- Seamless biking / walking network is a national model. 10% of commuters in Boulder go by bike –18 times the national average. Paths, bike lanes and wide sides go everywhere. I’ll post more pictures on this soon.
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