10.04.17

Progress, worries on environmental issues

When you think of Boulder County, environmental consciousness comes to mind. Its large tracts of Open Space preserve both mountain and prairie.

Bike lanes, bike shares – Longmont opened a bike share program in 2017 – and accommodations for bikes on public buses encourage alternative means of commuting.

Miles of trails offer an invitation to engage with nature on foot or on a bike. However, not everyone takes part. Families with limited ‹nances, unusual work hours or simply a lack of tradition tend not to enjoy the wilderness that surrounds us.

One piece of good news, climate-wise, is that Xcel Energy’s Valmont power plant in Boulder burned its last load of coal in March 2017. Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones says this is one of the positive local environmental developments recently, along with an increase in the number of charging stations for electric vehicles.

The Flatiron Flyer rapid bus transit route between Boulder and Denver has shown a 50 percent increase in ridership compared with the previous bus runs, she added.

“That’s really our bus rapid transit line,” she says.

“Something that’s being forecast is doing arterial bus rapid transit on (Colorado State) Highway 7, the Diagonal and (U.S.) Highway 287.”

Still, more progress is needed. Water consumption is close to the national average.

And despite the many inducements to use alternatives, we still love our cars. In 2015, 111,000 or 66 percent of workers drove alone to work, compared to 77 percent nationally.

 

by Cindy Sutter