Here we are at another Friday, Boulder. And there’s news to report.
For today, John Herrick reports on the first public statement made by the City of Boulder on Governor Polis’ landmark housing legislation. The bill, meandering its way through the state legislature, seeks to increase the supply of housing in cities and towns through changes to zoning and land-use policies. Does the City of Boulder currently support it? Yes. But also no. It’s complicated. One source of friction could be around occupancy limits.
Also, it’s official: On May 28, RTD is bringing back its speediest bus. The FF2, which has been out of commission since the early days of the pandemic, is returning to cart you, quickly!, to Union Station with few stops along the way. Finally, Louisville and Lafayette are funding e-bike rebates (though with a scant budget).
Have a great weekend. I’ll see you back here on Monday.
— Tim, reporter
CU’s Center for Environmental Journalism is excited to announce the return of the Ackland Lecture in Environmental Journalism Series. Named after the center’s founding director, the series invites journalists to address environmental and journalism topics. This year, the Ackland Lecture is a special feature of the 2023 Conference on World Affairs. Events are free; view the complete schedule and register.
What to know today
- Gorgeous: Sun and 60s today will be followed by a weekend nearly as nice. Wind, what little there is, will hopefully remain closer to a breeze. Next week could touch 80, so if you put away your short shorts, now’s a good time to dig them out.
- FF2 coming back. The RTD board of directors unanimously approved a service change that will bring back the FF2 express route from downtown Boulder to Union Station in Denver. On May 28 — after a three-year pandemic-related suspension — the bus is scheduled to depart Boulder at 7:07 a.m., 7:37 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. and Union Station at 7:45 a.m., 4:45 p.m. and 5:20 p.m.
- As we reported in February, RTD is also proposing to add a FF5 bus from Downtown Boulder Station to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
- Louisville and Lafayette to provide e-bike rebates: Louisville and Lafayette are teaming up to launch a pilot e-bike rebate program with the goal of promoting biking as “a main form of transportation within the community.” The program allows residents to receive point-of-sale rebates at participating retailers to cut the price of e-bikes. To simplify the invoicing process for retailers, Lafayette will send an invoice to Louisville for the total program budget of $6,000, and Lafayette will handle the payment of rebates directly to the retailers on behalf of both cities.
- Mental health training for anyone who wants it: The City of Boulder and Mental Health Partners are teaming up to offer mental health trainings to interested Boulder residents. These trainings, which come amid declining mental health across the country, aim to provide Boulderites with tools to recognize and respond to mental distress and substance abuse, as well as how to handle someone in a suicide crisis.
- With $30,000 in funding from the City of Boulder, Mental Health Partners will offer the trainings free to people living or working in the city. To register, interested participants should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited, so if you’re interested, don’t wait to secure your spot.
- “A lot of people hesitate to talk about suicide because they don’t know how to help or what’s truly helpful,” said Jay Winstead, a Mental Health Partners facilitator and trainer. “Question, Persuade, Refer [the suicide prevention training] teaches simple skills that anyone can use to help a person who’s thinking of suicide. Start the conversation, and you can save a life.”
- Video chat with the police: The City of Boulder’s Police and Fire Communications Center has become one of the first in Colorado to be able to accept live videos from residents. The service, called Prepared 911, can help first responders “respond quickly and appropriately to situations ranging from an active shooter to a wildfire to domestic violence,” the city said. After receiving a 911 call or text, dispatchers can send a link to a caller’s phone to be able to see and hear their video. Callers must click approve to give permission.
- “Prepared 911 takes out some of the guesswork in what’s happening,” Communications manager Brad Riggin said. “Callers giving dispatchers the ability to actually see what they’re seeing in real time will help us better describe suspects, locations and what’s going on as police, fire and EMS are actively responding to the scene.”
- Prepared 911 also allows dispatchers to see the location of the caller in case those in distress are unable to provide one. The service “doesn’t cost the community anything,” the city said.
Boulder isn’t opposing Polis’ sweeping housing legislation, unlike most of its neighbors
By John Herrick
April 7, 2023
In the last week, city councilmembers in Broomfield, Lafayette, Longmont and Louisville have all voiced some level of opposition to a Colorado bill backed by Gov. Jared Polis that would rein in their power over local zoning and land-use policies.
Unlike most of these local governments, the governor’s hometown of Boulder has decided to not yet oppose the bill outright. But city officials and councilmembers have raised major objections.
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🌎 Celebrate Earth Month: Boulder County Commissioners have deemed April Earth Month in Boulder, as it is in many places. Appropriately, there are many ways to show your appreciation for the only planet most of us will ever enjoy. A number of composting workshops will take place this month and next, hazardous material recycling events will pop up at most towns in Boulder County, and Earth Day itself — April 22 — will sport a variety of events. Check out the full offerings on the county’s website.
🥾 Comment on Nederland trails: On April 13, Boulder County Commissioners will hold an open house at the Nederland Community Center at 5:30 p.m. With the trails along the Front Range gaining traffic — especially those in Nederland during the summer months — the county is offering a presentation on trail overcrowding and opening themselves to feedback.
🎨 Boulder Arts Week: Today is the beginning of Boulder Arts Week for 2023. There will be art to look at, but there are also workshops to inspire the art-creating curious to embark on their own artistic journey. Events run through April 15.
For more ideas on what to do this week, check out BRL’s Local Events page.
- Boulder residents launch ballot measure petition for faster removal of tents, propane tanks. The petition, the first to be submitted ahead of the Nov. 7 election, comes as the City of Boulder ramps up its enforcement of laws prohibiting sleeping in public spaces and possessing a tent or propane tank.
- Going solar in Boulder? Brace for a possible wait of ‘many months’ amid Xcel Energy delays. Solar installations in Boulder and across the state have been hindered by slow Xcel Energy approvals, creating problems for local solar businesses and residents. A Colorado lawmaker is proposing an amendment to speed up the approvals process by levying fines. ‘We will probably be taking action on that topic this session,’ State Senator Steve Fenberg said.
- Sanitas gets a haircut: City thins trees to reduce fire risk while creating wildlife habitat. Other areas scheduled to receive a thinning treatment this summer are the Shanahan Ridge area, Sunshine Canyon and up Flagstaff Road.
- SNAP cuts and Medicaid eligibility renewals add to ‘new normal’ of uncertainty for many in Boulder County. With Medicaid recertification beginning shortly, Colorado officials are urging recipients to update their information on the Colorado PEAK website and find their renewal dates. Even though annual income limits will increase April 1, some will find they no longer qualify for Medicaid, yet their income isn’t high enough to afford private insurance.
- Read previous editions of BRL Today. Get up-to-date with the latest news from Boulder.