What is the Core Arterial Network (CAN)?
The City of Boulder has been working for decades to create a safe, equitable, and reliable mobility system that offers travel choices and supports achieving our climate goals (2019 Transportation Master Plan, Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan). As a result, we see significant numbers of people walking, bicycling, scooting and taking transit as they move about or travel in and out of the city. Although we have made great progress, more work remains to be done along our high-traffic arterial streets, which often have higher traffic volumes and speeds compared to other streets in the city. Findings from the recently released Vision Zero Boulder: Safe Streets Report (SSR) show that 67% of traffic crashes resulting in serious injury occur or fatality occur on arterials.
We believe no one should be killed or severely injured in traffic crashes on our streets. Moving about Boulder should be safe, no matter how you get around.
In response, the city is focusing its investments and resources to design and construct improvements on a “Core Arterial Network” (CAN). The CAN is the connected system of protected bicycle lanes, intersection enhancements, pedestrian facilities, and transit facility upgrades that will help reduce the potential for severe crashes and make it more comfortable and convenient for people to get where they need to go along Boulder’s main corridors.
In January 2022, the Boulder City Council, in partnership with the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB), elevated work on the CAN as one of its 10 priorities for city department efforts. City Council will host a study session, tentatively slated for November 2022, to review project development progress.
The CAN will help us organize our arterial streets to better serve people walking, bicycling, taking the bus and driving
The city will focus its efforts on 13 individual corridors over the next several years. Explore the projects in the map below.
Why is it important to focus on Boulder’s core arterial streets?
We know that a majority (67%) of traffic crashes that result in serious injury or fatality occur on Boulder’s arterial streets. As a Vison Zero city, we believe no one should be killed or seriously injured on our streets. In addition to the devastating impact of severe crashes on people’s lives, the Safe Streets Report estimates the societal cost of serious injury and fatal crashes in Boulder between 2018-2020 alone at $100 million.
In addition to addressing the human costs of these crashes, the CAN will also help Boulder make progress toward its climate goals. With many local and regional transit service options and more than 300 miles of bikeways, including 73 miles of multi-use paths and nearly 90 bicycle and pedestrian underpasses, Boulder has an extensive network of multimodal infrastructure that makes it easier to choose non-vehicular forms of travel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The CAN will enhance connections between these existing facilities and the places people live and work and their other daily community destinations.
What are we working on?
Boulder City Council identified 13 individual corridors where the city will focus its efforts over the next several years. Projects along these streets will enhance connectivity along the Core Arterial Network – amplifying previous investments and ensuring a predictable, safe journey between where people live and work and major destinations, such as schools, parks, grocery stores, and shopping, to name a few. Many projects are already underway to improve arterial safety and others will be initiated over the next 3-5 years.
Design and community engagement have already started on six of the 13 CAN corridors, with construction anticipated to start between 2023 and 2024. Staff has also been working on an update to the city’s Design and Construction Standards, an effort to better align the technical street design standards used for projects with the city’s vision for a multimodal and connected transportation system.
28th Street Improvements Project
30th Street Corridor Multimodal Improvements Project
13th Street Neighborhood Greenstreet
28th and Colorado Intersection Improvements Project
Baseline Road Transportation Safety Project
East Arapahoe Multi-Use Path and Transit Stops Project
Valmont Multi-Use Path
Iris Avenue Transportation Improvements Project
Upcoming priority corridors
Three of these streets are priority corridors for the overall Core Arterial Network:
- Baseline Road
- Iris Avenue
- Folsom Street
Design and community engagement for projects along these priority corridors will begin in 2022 and 2024. These projects were selected for their value to the network in terms of north-south and east-west connectivity lacking in those areas of the city, as well as the opportunity to couple improvements with scheduled pavement resurfacing.
First up in Summer 2022 is initiating design and community engagement for Baseline Road, an east-west corridor connecting residents, students, and a bus route in East Boulder. This project is part of the Pavement Management Program (PMP) that will incorporate street design upgrades and safety improvements into annual pavement resurfacing work.
In Fall 2022, we will initiate design and community engagement on Iris Avenue, another east-west corridor connecting areas of North Boulder.
In Fall 2023, we will initiate design and community engagement for Folsom Street, a key north-south connection in Central Boulder, also part of the PMP.
The remaining corridors will see design and community engagement initiated in 2023 or beyond:
- Downtown Study
How does the CAN relate to other adopted plans?
The focus on the Core Arterial Network provides a clear path forward for improvements to these streets, many of which have already been identified in the city’s adopted transportation plans such as the 2019 Transportation Master Plan and Low-Stress Walk and Bike Network Plan. Concentrating the city’s resources and pursuing grant funding for these projects will also address the goals of overarching city plans like the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan and Climate Action Plan.