It’s chilly, Boulder. It’s also Wednesday. Here’s the news.

For today, John Herrick covers the North Broadway road reconstruction project. After years of noise, dust and confusing traffic cones, the project is almost done, but not everyone is pleased. Part of the project included a bike lane meant to serve the hundreds of riders who use the street each day. But some residents had higher hopes for the new bike lane. A “raised buffer” put there for protection from passing cars has meant plowing troubles and parking difficulties. City officials responded to some of those concerns during a meeting on Monday night. But for those wanting change, temper your hopes. The bike lane was built to how it was designed almost five years ago, so there probably won’t be any major alterations anytime soon.

Also, outdoors reporter Jenna Sampson covers the Special Olympics event held at Eldora this week. With teams coming in from over 40 counties across the eastern half of Colorado, the event offered an opportunity for athletes to come together to create a broader community.

Finally, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. We love that you read us, and we hope you love the reporting we do. If that’s the case, we also hope you’ll consider a donation to support nonprofit journalism. 💘

— Tim, reporter

What to know today

  • Cold: Relish in the hot cocoa today knowing that the sun and warm temps will soon return. Temps will be in the teens today but will soon jump back up to the 50s. Another reason to stay inside: A winter weather advisory is in effect until early morning tomorrow.
  • Airport input welcome: If you want to provide input for the Boulder Municipal Airport, there will be plenty of opportunities. The City of Boulder is seeking public comment on the future of the Boulder Municipal Airport through the Airport Community Conversation project.
    • The project will involve a community working group, open houses and online questionnaires to gather feedback and ideas on how the airport can fit into the community’s vision for Boulder. The city aims to create a range of possible scenarios for the airport’s future that align with goals identified in the city’s Transportation Master Plan and the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. The first open house is scheduled for March 15, and interested CWG applicants can apply through the project website until Feb. 28.
    • “We’re excited to kick off this dialogue about the role of the airport,” said Boulder Airport manager John Kinney. “A variety of ideas, aspirations and lived experiences will help us understand how the airport fits into the community’s vision for Boulder.”
  • A new library’s groundbreaking: The City of Boulder will soon begin construction on the North Boulder Branch Library, marking a significant milestone for a project over 30 years in the making. The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled to take place today at 11:30 a.m. at 4500 13th St. (As of now, no weather updates have been posted.) The public is invited to join.
    • The $12.5 million project will be funded through various sources — the culture and safety tax, developmental excise tax and impact fees to name a few — and operations costs will be covered by the library district budget. While some plans have yet to be realized due to construction costs, the project received a $700,000 grant to build outdoor amenities. Construction will be handled by Fransen Pittman Construction, and the building was designed by WORKac.
    • “We are excited to be at this pivotal moment,” said Library Director David Farnan. “While construction inevitably creates some temporary inconveniences, we are eager for the result. The NoBo Branch Library will be a beautiful and welcoming space that supports our community’s love of learning, demonstrates our commitment to convenient and accessible public amenities, and celebrates the diverse experiences and cultures in Boulder.”
  • Youth Corps jobs open for applications: Boulder County Youth Corps has announced summer job openings for Boulder County residents ages 14-17. The application deadline is Friday, March 31, at 11:59 p.m.
    • The program offers an opportunity for teens to make a positive impact on the community by working on a variety of conservation and stewardship projects from June 12 to Aug. 2. The teams will work 30 hours per week, Monday through Thursday, and start at $13.56 an hour. The program is also hiring team leaders, with applications for those positions to be posted soon. For the first time, the program is fielding single-identity affinity crews to support communities historically underserved in the outdoor space. The affinity crews include an all-girls crew and an LGBTQ+ crew.
  • No tax on TABOR refunds: The Polis administration voiced its pleasure with the recent announcement by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that expedited tax refunds will not be taxed. The refunds were overwhelmingly approved by the legislature and signed by Gov. Polis, and were not subject to federal income tax in accordance with a 30-year precedent.
    • The decision, which followed Governor Polis urging the IRS Commissioner to avoid taxing the refunds, is good news for Coloradans who have already filed their tax returns, and the state will continue to advocate that TABOR refunds not be taxed in future years. Colorado has been refunding excess sales tax revenue under TABOR for 30 years, and it has never been taxed.
  • Bees love Louisville: Boulder’s neighbor has become the third city in Colorado to be designated a Bee City USA affiliate, aimed at promoting a pollinator-friendly environment. Bee City USA, initiated by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, intends to support communities in sustaining pollinators by providing a healthy habitat rich in a range of native plants and free of insecticides.
    • The certification indicates a commitment to create sustainable habitats for pollinators by enhancing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites, and decreasing pesticide use. The City of Louisville has been conserving pollinators and their natural environments through initiatives like planting pocket prairies, reducing herbicides through an Integrated Weed Management Plan, and increasing the number of native plants on public lands.
    • The official designation is both “an honor and a responsibility,” a press release said.

Go deeper

North Broadway reconstruction nears completion, bringing a new bike lane with mixed reviews

By John Herrick

February 15, 2023

Following two years of near-constant road work, the North Broadway reconstruction between Violet Ave. and U.S. 36 is nearly complete. A new traffic signal hangs above the intersection at Yarmouth and a concrete path dips under the busy road at Fourmile Canyon Creek. 

The $11 million project also includes a highly anticipated bike lane. The 5-foot-wide path is separated from passing vehicles by “mountable curbs” designed to provide a greater level of protection to the hundreds of cyclists who ride the road on any given day. North Broadway previously had a simple painted line to indicate the bike path. 

But the half-mile-long bike lane has not lived up to some residents’ expectations. 

Since it was opened to cyclists in December, snow and ice has piled up in the parking spots, resulting in drivers parking their cars in the bike lane. Cyclists must swerve into traffic to avoid them. Some residents argue the city should have made the bike lane wider and more protective, specifically in light of its commitment to make streets safer for people on bikes. 

In response to these concerns, the Transportation Advisory Board, a five-member board that advises the Boulder City Council on transportation issues, met this week to hear from city officials about what could be done to improve the project. 

Continue reading…

Special Olympics athletes and community come together at Eldora Ski Area for Front Range Winter Games

By Jenna Sampson

February 15, 2023

When Kohlor Von Eschen ended his run down the giant slalom course at Monday’s Special Olympics event at Eldora ski resort, he made sure to give spectators a big spray of snow to mark his finish. This seemed to be an unspoken side competition among the racers: to see who could make their hard stop whip snow farthest into the crowd. 

“Did that get you?” Onlookers were often questioned. 

Von Eschen’s team of about 12 competitors, ages 13 to 45, is organized by Expand, a City of Boulder-run program offering people with disabilities a way to build community through recreation. The Monday event brought together teams from more than 40 counties across the eastern half of Colorado. After the regional events this week, a statewide competition at Copper Mountain closes out the season for anyone who participated in regionals. 

Continue reading…

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BRL picks

🤣 Second City at Boulder Theater: Next Monday, Feb. 20, the Chicago-based improv troupe will present “The Second City Swipes Right: An Incomplete Guide to The Ultimate Date Night.” In roughly 90 minutes, comedians will “annihilate everything that turns us on—and off—about love, dating, relationships, and everything else in-between the sheets!” Tickets start around $30.

🎉 Mardi Gras at the St. Julien: This Friday and Saturday nights, from 6 to 9 p.m. the St. Julien will be hosting a celebration for those wanting a New Orleans experience. Live New Orleans-themed music will couple with food and drink of the same variety. Festive attire is encouraged.

💀 Don’t Fear the Reaper: Stephen Graham Jones will be speaking about and signing his latest book, “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” at a live recording of the Boulder Bookstore and KGNU Radio Book Club on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Boulder Bookstore. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” is the sequel to “My Heart Is a Chainsaw” and follows the story of Jade Daniels, who is released from prison only to face danger as a convicted serial killer seeks revenge.

For more ideas on what to do this week, check out BRL’s Local Events page.


Tim Drugan

Tim Drugan is the climate and environment reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering wildfires, water and other climate-related issues for Boulder with a focus on explanatory and solutions journalism. He also is the lead writer of BRL Today, our morning newsletter. Tim grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from UNH with a degree in English/Journalism. Email: