NEW! The updated 2019 Pedestrian Plan has been adopted by City Council!
Walkable Cities Are Livable Cities
Whether you walk from your car or bike to a business, or from a bus stop to home, you walk every day. Walking is fun, gives you exercise and is a great way to get from A to B. That’s why it is an important and essential part of the city’s transportation system.
Boulder has built a nationally recognized pedestrian-friendly community, earning the Gold-level Walk Friendly Community designation. The pedestrian-only Pearl Street Mall and extensive network of multiuse paths and hiking trails are Boulder icons that attract people from all over the country and world. The City of Boulder also supports a wide range of other initiatives to encourage and support walking throughout the community.
The community developed the Transportation Master Plan (TMP), which is the blueprint for creating safe, convenient, and sustainable transportation options for everyone in the community.
Walking is considered the highest-priority travel mode in the TMP, because it is an essential part of the connections between the different travel options and a critical element in supporting the transit system.
The Pedestrian Plan is one of the three modal plans—Pedestrian, Bicyclist and Transit—that are part of the Transportation Master Plan. It gives an overview of the community’s vision for the future of pedestrian facilities and specific policies and action items to achieve that vision.
The Pedestrian Plan and the Transportation Master Plan were both updated in 2018-19 and adopted by City Council on September 17, 2019!
Learn more about the Pedestrian Plan update and sign up for the Pedestrian Plan newsletter.
The city introduced the Boulder Walks program to celebrate walking, highlight historic and cultural resources, and emphasize the health and community benefits of walking.
In partnership with Colorado-based Walk2Connect, Boulder Walks provides opportunities for neighbors to connect with one another and with where they live and gives community members an active way to engage in pedestrian planning activities. By walking and working together, we invest in a more walkable city.
Want to join a walk? Check out the upcoming walks.
In April 2014, the City of Boulder earned recognition as a Gold-level Walk Friendly Community, one of only 13 Gold-level communities in the United States. This rating was achieved due to innovative planning, the high level of walking, engineering treatments, city leadership and community support.
Highlights from the 2014 application
- Nearly 10 percent of commuters walk to work.
- Extensive multiuse path and trail network, providing 58 miles of paved multiuse paths and 145 miles of natural hiking trails.
- Excellent transit system with 90 percent of bus stops accessible by wheelchair.
- 78 bicycle/pedestrian underpasses.
Since 2005, biking and walking to school in Boulder has become more safe and convenient, thanks to several projects funded by the Colorado Safe Routes to School program.
The program offers local communities federal funds to improve the physical infrastructure around schools and to launch educational programs that encourage and support bicycling and walking. The City of Boulder partners closely with the Boulder Valley School District to implement the program.
Examples of educational programs include Bicycle Lesson and Safety Training (BLAST) that teach children to be safe and skillful at cycling, and Crossing Crusaders, a project to promote safe and civil interaction between motorists and all users of City of Boulder crosswalks.
Previously funded infrastructural projects include improving the car traffic pick-up/drop off zone at Foothills Elementary School, and enhancing the pedestrian crossing at 8th Street and College Avenue near Flatirons Elementary School.
More completed projects can be found in the .
The City of Boulder is currently working with three local schools—Mesa Elementary, University Hill and Whitter—to create educational programs for 2018/2019 and an overview of potential infrastructural changes to provide safer walking and biking routes to the school.
The City of Boulder Public Works Department inspects and maintains about 600 crosswalks throughout the city.
These crosswalks come in different shapes and size. Some crosswalks have pedestrian-activated flashing yellow signs—technology developed within the city and now installed in cities across the country. Others have a pedestrian traffic signal, white striping markings or a median refuge where a pedestrian can take shelter from approaching traffic.
View Crosswalks and Flashing Crosswalks Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.
Tips to be safe as a pedestrian:
- At a crosswalk, only cross when the "start crossing" symbol is on. It's illegal to enter a crosswalk when a steady "don't walk" symbol or flashing red hand symbol is on. If you are close to an intersection with a traffic signal, you must cross at the crosswalk.
- Where a sidewalk ends or where there are no sidewalks, walk on the outside edge of the roadway, facing traffic.
- At intersections, make sure motorists have seen you before you step off the curb. Don't assume they will see you or stop.
- Wear light-colored or reflective clothing, especially in stormy weather or at night. Carry a flashlight at night to see and be seen.
To keep walking safe, the city partners with private property owners to maintain sidewalks adjacent to their property. The city is responsible for the maintenance of its pedestrian crossings, multiuse paths and hiking trails.
The City of Boulder has an Annual Sidewalk Repair Programs to repair sidewalks and install pedestrian access ramps in a specific area of the city each year. It is important for pedestrian access ramps to be installed on all sidewalks in order to provide accessibility for people with disabilities, strollers and bikes.
The City of Boulder is constantly working on constructing new sidewalks, especially on locations where a sidewalk is necessary to provide a continuous pedestrian network.
The Missing Sidewalk Links Program identifies, prioritizes and constructs missing sidewalk segments. The 2011 voter-approved Capital Improvement Bond provides funds for the City of Boulder to construct missing sidewalk links throughout the city.
The City of Boulder requires that all new or rebuilt attached sidewalks be in compliance with the standards noted in the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including attached sidewalks already approved for construction.
Noticed an issue with one of the following topics? Let us know through Inquire Boulder.
- Close Call Form
- Crosswalks and Flashing Crosswalks
- Multi-use Path Maintenance
- School Zone Flashing Beacons
- Sidewalk Repair and Maintenance
- Snow Plow
- Street lights
- Traffic signals
- Overgrown Sidewalk Obstructions
Or click here to report a different issue.