The City of Boulder has heard from many community members about the city’s intention to re-open West Pearl Street, between 9th and 11th streets, to vehicles. It is clear from the many perspectives that have been shared that this is an issue of great interest and significance to our community.

This portion of West Pearl was closed in May 2020 through an emergency order issued by the city manager. The order recognized the prevalence and risk of COVID-19. It was based on public health guidance that the then life-threatening virus was less likely to be spread outdoors than indoors. The temporary closing of the street to vehicles and the decision to allow outdoor dining was intended to support local businesses, especially restaurants, that were struggling. As is customary with emergency orders, the intention was always that the city would restore vehicular access once the underlying justification for the emergency ended.

Though not unanimous, there has been significant feedback from community members in the past few days that many have truly enjoyed the more pedestrian-friendly, open plaza feel of downtown. We will be asking City Council next week to approve adjustments to city staff’s workplan to allow them to continue to explore the topic of closing streets for other purposes, not just for West Pearl but potentially for other places in the city. We look forward to a more robust conversation with the community on those possibilities and planning efforts soon.

The city appreciates the interest in this topic and encourages community members to stay tuned for more opportunities to share their perspectives and explore this issue.