The completed multimodal transportation upgrades to Lehigh Street will help improve safety for students traveling to nearby schools and everyone walking or bicycling this north-south corridor.
What are the improvements at Lehigh Street?
- Pedestrian crossing and intersection safety improvements near Mesa Elementary
- Installation of a paved multi-use path through Bear Creek Park connecting Lehigh and Bear Creek Elementary
- Resurfacing of Lehigh/Greenbriar between Table Mesa and east of Galena/Redstone
- Removal of the center turn lane between Table Mesa Drive and Cragmoor Road to add a buffer and provide more separation between bike lanes and vehicle travel lanes
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a Safe Routes to School and Vision Zero project designed to make Lehigh Street a lower traffic-stress travel corridor to improve comfort and safety for students traveling to nearby Bear Creek and Mesa elementary schools as well as all people who use this popular thoroughfare to travel in southwest Boulder. The project includes adding new pedestrian crossings near Mesa Elementary and a paved multi-use path through Bear Creek Park. It also includes adding a buffered bike lane and resurfacing the pavement through the city’s Pavement Management Program – Mobility Enhancement Initiative to further improve multimodal safety.
This project strategically combines city and federal funding to provide multimodal enhancements throughout the corridor. The pedestrian crossing and intersection safety improvements near Mesa Elementary and the multi-use path in Bear Creek Park are being funded by a grant from Safe Routes to School, a national program that aims to make it safer for students to walk and bike to school and encourage more walking and biking where safety is not a barrier. Funds for pavement resurfacing and the buffered bike lane come from the city’s Pavement Management Program – Mobility Enhancement Initiative, a strategy that incorporates bicycle and pedestrian facility improvements into annual pavement resurfacing work to help make our streets safer for walking and biking. The funds for the grant local match are from the city’s Capital Improvements Program.
The project took place along Lehigh Street, from just east of Galena Way/Redstone Road to Table Mesa Drive. View this map for more details.
This project is being led by the City of Boulder in partnership with the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). The pedestrian enhancements are funded by a grant from Safe Routes to School, a national organization supporting safe travel to schools nationwide.
As called for in Boulder’s Transportation Master Plan, the city is building out its low-stress network for biking and walking across the city to provide safer routes for community members to get where they need to go. To do this, the city assessed streets for comfort and stress level through the Low-Stress Walk and Bike Network Plan and its related community engagement process. To be considered a low-stress street, pedestrian and bicycling facilities that reduce exposure to motor vehicle paths are recommended.
Lehigh Street was initially assessed to currently as a high-stress street for walking and bicycling in the city’s Low-Stress Walk and Bike Network Plan and was identified as needing multimodal improvements to be included in the city’s low-stress travel network. Lehigh Street was selected to become part of the city’s low-stress network because it is a popular north-south route that connects neighborhoods, schools, parks and OSMP trail access and is a main travel corridor for southwest Boulder. Improving multimodal travel safety on Lehigh is an important step toward creating a safer transportation system across Boulder and reaching our Vision Zero goal of eliminating serious injuries and deaths caused by traffic crashes.
To help make bicycling on the street lower-stress, the project includes installation of a buffered bike lane. Lehigh Street is scheduled to receive annual pavement resurfacing work in 2022, and the buffered bike lane will be installed following resurfacing. This is part of the city’s new Pavement Management Program – Mobility Enhancement Initiative that incorporates bicycle and pedestrian facility improvements into annual pavement resurfacing work.
In addition, two elementary schools are located on or near Lehigh Street: Mesa Elementary and Bear Creek Elementary. More than 300 students bike to the Mesa, Bear Creek and Southern Hills schools, representing 26% of the schools’ enrollment, and many others walk, scooter, and skateboard. The city has heard from parents with students at Mesa and Bear Creek Elementary that Lehigh Street is difficult to cross and that a paved connection is needed through Bear Creek Park. The city partnered with BVSD to develop plans for the project and received funding from the national Safe Routes to School program.
As Lehigh Street is a popular north-south route, this project serves an important role in helping Boulder’s transportation system enable people of all ages and abilities to get where they want to go by foot or bike and creating safer streets for all.
The changes make travel safer and more comfortable on Lehigh Street in several ways. First, the pedestrian crossing treatments will reduce the distance that people crossing the street are exposed to motor vehicles, reducing the risk of a collision. Second, the buffered bike lanes also offer more space dedicated for bicyclists and the buffers on both sides of the bike lanes reduce risk by providing greater separation from parked vehicle doors opening as well as from motor vehicle traffic in the travel lanes. Third, the paved multi-use path through Bear Creek provides a safer crossing through the park, which was previously designated by informal mud trails.
Removal of the center turn lane is necessary to provide enough space for the planned buffered bike lane. Left turns are still allowed from the travel lanes. Buffered bike lanes require additional footage space to ensure users are a safe distance from vehicular traffic. City staff have evaluated travel patterns on the Lehigh corridor and believe the safety benefits of adding the buffered bike lane outweigh possible impacts of not having a center turn lane in this location.
More than 300 students regularly bike to the Mesa, Bear Creek and Southern Hills schools, representing 26% of the schools’ enrollment.