Traveling from Denver to Boulder, Ways to Get Around

Whether you’re commuting from Denver to Boulder, or going for a fun afternoon activity, there are multiple ways to get there. From riding the bus, riding your bike, or taking a carshare ride, you can travel along US 36 more sustainably!

Riding Your Bike Along the US 36 Bikeway

If you want to op-out of taking your car, another great option is a longer bike ride! Cycling to work is one of the most powerful ways to positively impact our region’s traffic congestion and air quality.

It’s never been easier with resources such as the US 36 Bikeway and the Bike Northwest Interactive Map!

Before you hit the road, follow these tips:

  • Map your route – map your route then trace those steps as a pedestrian or in a car.
  • Gear up – Set yourself up for success and enjoy your ride with the proper gear! Head to your local bicycle shop where employees can help you pick the perfect gear.
  • Safety – Learn the proper hand signals and how your helmet should fit before hitting the road.
  • Find a safe place for your bike – Ensure there is a bike rack you can use once you reach the office or be able to store it inside the building.

Combining Bicycling and Public Transit Along US 36

Want to use both your bicycle and public transportation? Bike-n-Ride Shelters at RTD stations can help you achieve your goal!

Bike-n-Ride Shelters provide long-term, secure and weather-protected bicycle storage for commuters making connections to and from local or regional transit routes. The Bike-n-Ride program makes it easy to combine bus trips and bike rides by using the shelter to complete the first or final mile of your commute.

To use a shelter, visit Commuting Solutions’ Bike-n-Ride webpage to apply today!

Along the US 36 corridor, there are multiple Bike-n-Ride Shelters:

  • Broomfield (Westbound US 36 & Broomfield) OPENS 2021
  • Westminster (Eastbound US 36 & Sheridan) OPENS 2021
  • Superior (US 36 & Eastbound McCaslin)
  • Louisville (US 36 & Westbound McCaslin)
  • Hover Street & Highway 119/Diagonal in Longmont
  • 30th Street & Diagonal Hwy, North Boulder
  • 8th & Coffman, downtown Longmont
  • US 36 & Table Mesa Station (near gate C)
  • Downtown Boulder Station – Walnut and 14th Street

Take the Flatiron Flyer

If you prefer to sit back and enjoy the scenery, or get some work done, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) has you covered!

RTD’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service, the Flatiron Flyer is the first BRT to connect Denver with the northwest metro region’s businesses, federal institutions and the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Riders have access to downtown Boulder, downtown Denver, the Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver International Airport and many more connections!

The Flatiron Flyer offers commuters a reliable ride every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 15 minutes off-peak, Monday through Friday. On the weekends, the Flatiron Flyer offers commuters a reliable ride every 15 minutes during peak hours on Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sunday.

The 2021 Flatiron Flyer fares are:

  • $3 for a local three-hour pass
  • $5.25 for a regional three-hour pass
  • All trip fares can be calculated online with RTD

Flatiron Flyer Routes include:

  • Route FF1 – travels between Union Station and Downtown Boulder station.
  • Route FF3 – Travels from Broomfield to Union Station with stops at US 36 & Church Ranch Station and US 36 & Sheridan Station.
  • Route FF5 – Downtown Boulder Station to Anschutz

Currently, Routes FF2, FF4, FF6 and FF7 are suspended.

Using RTD’s Trip Planner also allows riders to plan their trips and provides real-time updates on the services.

Sharing Your Route

Whether you’re driving your car, being picked up by your co-worker, sitting in a van or using an app to order your ride, there are multiple options to get from home to work.

Carpool allows you to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in the northwest metro region! Carpooling not only benefits the environment but benefits you! Sharing a ride saves you time, money and reduces stress.

Resources such as MyWaytoGo.org can help you find registered users who are part of an existing pool or looking for a carpool buddy. More than 10,000 people are currently registered!

Vanpools are the perfect commute option for commuters who travel more than 15 miles to work one-way. Passengers share the ride in a van, which can seat up to 15 people, and pay a monthly fee that covers the cost of fuel, insurance and vehicle maintenance.

Vanpools help reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and allows the riders to ride the US 36 Express Lanes for free!

Resources such as MyWayToGo.org can help you find registered users who are part of a pool or looking for a buddy! My Way to Go Vanpools operate through Commute with Enterprise.

If you’re ordering your ride through a mobile app with Uber or Lyft both allow riders to reduce costs and carbon emissions by sharing a ride with someone going the same direction.

Uber POOL provides riders a carpooling service which helps reduce the cost of travel as well as carbon emissions by sharing a ride.

If you want to use a car, but don’t own one, an option is to use a car-share service!

Colorado Carshare is a local 501(c)(3) car-sharing organization which provides alternatives to individual car ownership.

Incentives to Commuting

Did you know there are incentives to commuting with others? Check out Commuting Solutions’ blog post about commuter benefits, transit benefits!

Resources:

RTD’s fare calculator
RTD’s Flatiron Flyer
FF1 Schedule
FF3 Schedule
FF5 Schedule
US 36 Bikeway
Bike-n-Ride Shelters
Boulder County Bike Map
Denver Bike Map
MyWaytoGo.org
Commute with Enterprise
Innovations in Transportation

Employee Trip Reduction Program Rulemaking Process

The Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) will discuss the Employee Trip Reduction Program (ETRP) on Thursday and determine whether there will be a rulemaking hearing this summer.

The ETRP is a new rule that is being proposed by two organizations, the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) and Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), and was included in Gov. Jared Polis’ Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap.

This rule would set goals for large employers to achieve reductions in the number of employees who drive alone, or “single-occupant vehicle” (SOV) employee commutes. A program that offers telecommuting, public transit, ridesharing or other means not only benefits air quality, it can also improve employee wellness, retention and company culture. The Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) will take the rule under consideration in May 2021, requesting a rulemaking hearing be set for August 2021.

Ways to Celebrate Earth Day 2021

Earth Day 2021 ChallengeWe’re halfway through the month of April, which means it’s almost Earth Day! At Commuting Solutions, we pride ourselves on providing progressive, flexible and sustainable transportation solutions that also reduce emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

To celebrate Earth Day, Commuting Solutions is hosting a virtual challenge!

During the week of April 19-23, leave your car at home and take a bike ride, a walk, telework, carpool or use public transportation!

Anytime you leave the car at home, send us your selfies with the hashtag, #CSEarthDay2021. During the week, Commuting Solutions staff will share their photos to encourage everyone during the challenge!

We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Want more ways to celebrate?

Some local jurisdictions are celebrating Earth Day as well!

On April 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. the City of Louisville is showing Kiss the Ground, an inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals a viable solution to our climate crisis: the soil.

Registration is required and can be done online.

On April 22, the City of Westminster is participating in the Great Global Cleanup. The clean-up can take place between April 22 and April 30. The city will provide supplies and disposal of full trash bags.

The City and County of Broomfield is hosting a week long Community Earth Day Scavenger Hunt! The event will kick off on Saturday, April 17, with the City of Broomfield’s Earth Day celebration at the public library.

Registration is required by April 17 and can be done online.

To register, contact Kristen May at kmay@cityofwestminster.us or call 303.658.2191.

With Commuting Solutions, you can become a part of the Workplace Commute Ambassadors! The program helps employees in the northwest metro region encourage their co-workers to choose sustainable transportation options, such as carpooling, riding transit, bicycling, vanpooling, teleworking and walking.

Learn more about the program by emailing Jillian at jillian@commutingsolutions.org.

Bike Northwest Interactive Map FAQ

What is the Bike Northwest Map?

The Bike Northwest Map allows people to plan out their bike route. Whether you’re riding along the US 36 Bikeway, or through Boulder, the interactive GIS map will allow you to see what type of routes are available!

The map is a collaborative effort with Boulder County, City of Boulder, City of Lafayette, City of Longmont, City of Louisville, City of Westminster, City and County of Broomfield and Town of Superior as well as Way to Go, Esri and Commuting Solutions!

What does the Bike Northwest Interactive Map feature?

By using the Bike Northwest Interactive Map, you can:

  • Use links to other useful bicycle-related content
  • Find what type of bike paths are available in the area
  • Customize the map view to show bike routes, RTD bus station locations, RTD Park-n-Ride locations, RTD bus routes or RTD Call-n-Ride services areas, or all of the above
  • Customize the map by choosing a background including satellite images, topographic and terrain maps, aerial views and more
  • Use tools to measure distances, area and get precise latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates
  • Share specific map views through email, Facebook or Twitter

How do I get started using Bike Northwest Interactive Map?

Whether you’re riding to work, or going for a weekend cruise, the Bike Northwest Interactive Map is easy to use!

You can start by mapping your route with the map, then trace your steps either as a pedestrian or in a car. It’s good practice to know your route before getting started!

Then head over to the map!

Where can I ride to using the Bike Northwest Interactive Map?

With the Bike Northwest Map, the possibilities are endless!

The US 36 Bikeway has 18 miles connecting the US 36 & Table Mesa Station in Boulder to 80th Avenue in Westminster. There are 12-foot-wide paved way to provide bicyclists throughout the northwest metro region.

The bikeway allows riders to connect to home, work and businesses along the corridor.

The bikemap features roads with multi-use paved paths, bike routes (paved shoulders) bike routes, bike lanes, one-way bike lanes, multi-use path soft surfaces, and bike lane contra-flows.

You can search for specific locations within the map, or just scroll through it to find your next route!

Enjoy your ride!

Be Bike Ready!

The weather is warming up and soon the Colorado blue skies will shine bright. Now is the time to dust off the bike and get it ready for the season. Don’t worry we have you covered with a Top 10 list to prep your bike before your ride.

  1. A Good Washing –Simply hosing it down to remove dirt and mud is a great place to start
  2. Check the tire pressure –It’s likely you’ll need to add air because all bikes’ tires lose air pressure if they sit for a while. Stick to the tire manufacturer’s recommended pressure level. Invest in a quality air pump with a wide base to stand on, and large gauges that are easy to read.
  3. Adjust the seat – A loose seat can lead to trouble and an uncomfortable ride. Tighten and adjust your bike seat before using it for the first time.
  4. Check your chain – To check your bicycle chain tension, press your fingers against the top chain, it should not move more than 1/4 to 1/2-inch. If your chain is too loose, it will come off while riding — a dangerous situation to suddenly find yourself in. Over time chains can stretch, so replace your chain if needed. If the chain is too tight it can bind and damage your gears. Loosen the rear wheel nuts on each side to pull the rear wheel back to take slack out of the chain.
  5. Apply dry lube – Apply a dry lubricant to the rear cog (set of gears), chainring (front gears), chain and all moving parts of the crankset. Also, hit the front and rear wheel bearings on each side with a bit of lubricant. Avoid using WD-40 and standard 3-in-1 oil as it will attract dirt which is something you don’t want on these moving parts.
  6. Check your brake pads – When activated, the length of your brake pads should press against your rim. The brake pads should not wiggle or be loose. Replace worn brake pads immediately and adjust the cable if they are too far from the rim.
  7. Check your brake levers, cables and housing – Pull on your brake levers and make sure they engage both sides of the brake pads on each wheel. The brakes should not stick and should fully stop the wheel in motion. If the pull on the lever is too long, unscrew the barrel adjuster a few turns and test it.
  8. Check Spokes – Wheel spokes keep your wheels true (straight), so you should occasionally check to make sure they are all tight. It’s a good idea to check your spokes every few months, even if you don’t notice anything wrong.
  9. Check Safety Gear – Check the condition and batteries of your bicycle lights and reflectors. If you don’t have front and rear lights, it’s time to get some. Do everything you can to make yourself visible to drivers.
  10. Check your saddlebag – Check that your saddleback is not loose and tightly attached to your seat. Only bring the essentials such as a spare tube, take the tube out of the box and keep the elastic band wrapped around to keep it tightly together, tire levers, CO2 cartridge and inflator and/or hand pump and multi-tool. And of course, don’t forget a snack and a filled water bottle!

Want to feel super confident and know that your bike is ready, check out your local bike shop. They will have all the parts and equipment you need and are more than happy to make your bike road-ready.

Need a new bike route, or not sure where to ride? We have the solution for you. Check out the Bike Northwest Interactive Map to plan your next route!

Commuter Benefits, Transit Benefits FAQ

People in Car Driving to WorkWhat is a pre-tax commute benefit?

The IRS Code, section 132(f), allows employees to use pre-tax salary towards their transit and vanpool commuting costs.

Commuter benefits, or transit benefits, are an employer-provided package that helps offset the cost for employees to get to work. Like a Health Savings Account, retirement plan and other benefits, commuter benefits are a tax-savvy, morale-boosting, mobility-centric way for employees and employers alike to choose smarter commute options and save money.

Commuter benefits include parking benefits, transit benefits, vanpool benefits and bicycle commuting benefits.

How do commuter benefits work?

When an employee enrolls in a pre-tax commuter benefits program, they will provide the amount of their monthly commuting cost for transit and/or commuting-related parking up the monthly limits.

The tax-free commuting dollars are provided to the employee in a product, such as a voucher, smart card, debit card, etc., to cover all commuting options. Currently, employees can use up to $270 a month for transit, and the same amount for commuter-related parking.

Can commuter benefits also benefit the employer?

Yes, commuter benefits also benefit the employer! By offering employees a pre-tax commuter benefits program, the cost of commuting deducted for employees reduces the amount of payroll being taxed.

What qualifies as transportation fringe benefits?

  • Commuter transportation in a commuter highway vehicle
  • Transit passes
  • Qualified parking
  • Qualified bicycle commuting expenses.

Are commuter benefits a tax write-off?

No, commuter benefits are not a tax write-off.

Is the pre-tax transit and vanpool benefit the same as a transit or vanpool subsidy?

No. The pre-tax transit and vanpool benefit uses the employee’s own salary before taxes to pay toward the commute funding. A transit or vanpool subsidy is when the employer provides employees with a transit or vanpool benefit above and beyond the employee’s salary.

Are there benefits for cycling?

Earlier this year, a revamped Bicycle Commuter Act was introduced in the US House of Representatives. It would ensure bike commuters get pre-tax commuter benefits similar to those who drive and park or take public transportation to work.

In 2017, Congress eliminated a tax credit for bike commuters which allowed employers to reimburse workers as much as $20 per month, pre-tax, for bike commuting expenses.

If the bill passes, it will make the benefit a pre-tax benefit, allow employees to receive a bicycle benefit of up to 30% of the parking benefit, allow the bicycle benefit to be used in concert with the transit and parking benefits and add bike-shares as eligible for the benefit, clarifying that e-bikes are eligible.

What is vanpooling?

Vanpool is a perfect way to get to and from work for those who travel more than 15 miles to work one-way. Passengers share a ride in a van that seats five to 15 people and pay a monthly fee that covers the cost of fuel, insurance and vehicle maintenance.

Vanpooling helps reduce the number of vehicles on the road!

Is there a pre-tax benefit for vanpooling?

Yes! The IRS allows employers to withhold a set amount of employee’s pre-tax income for vanpool commuting costs. This lower’s the employee’s taxable income, which puts more money into their pocket.

Employees may also provide a monthly fare subsidy as part of the qualified IRS Transportation Fringe Benefit, under section 132(F) of the IRS tax code.

What are the tax benefits for Boulder County residents?

  • The University of Colorado-Boulder offers a $25 monthly incentive for employees who vanpool.
  • The City of Boulder offers a $20 monthly incentive for Boulder residents or employees who vanpool.
  • Boulder County offers a $70 monthly incentive for Boulder County employees who chose to vanpool as well as offering priority parking.
  • For vanpoolers within the North Front Range, and use VanGo, can receive up to $260 for commuting costs. The cost will be taken out of the paycheck prior to taxes.

What are the tax benefits for Broomfield County residents?

The City and County of Broomfield offers voluntary pre-tax savings plans to full-time and eligible part-time employees for health, dependent care and transportation expenses.

  • Broomfield County offers up to $225 per month, with no annual max, for vanpool or bus passes for its maximum annual contribution. Employee contribution is up to $225 per month.
  • For vanpoolers within the North Front Range, and use VanGo, can receive up to $260 for commuting costs. The cost will be taken out of the paycheck prior to taxes.

 

Commuting Solutions can help your business get started with a vanpool! For more information, contact us at info@commutingsolutions.org.

Resources:

Internal Revenue Service Taxable Fringe Benefit Guide

132(F) of the IRS tax code

24-Hour Flex

Bike Safe Around Transit This Summer and Always: Guest Post from Lindsey Alarcon, RTD

Collage of Bike Safety ElementsIt’s no secret that Coloradans love the great outdoors. As the weather warms up, more people get outside and utilize bikes for recreation and transportation. With more bikes on the road this summer, The Regional Transportation District, (RTD) is encouraging cyclists to ride safely around transit.

RTD bus and train operators see unsafe cyclist behavior daily, some of which leads to near misses—incidents that did not result in injury or damage, but had the potential to do so. This behavior includes ignoring warning devices at rail crossings, passing buses on the right and being distracted by headphones, to name a few.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Our operators are responsible for getting people to their destinations safely. Bike riders are responsible for following the rules of the road, including using caution when riding near buses and trains. Following these tips will ensure cyclists interact with RTD operations in the safest way possible:

• Ride in the same direction as traffic and follow traffic signs and signals.
• Stay alert and avoid using electronics while riding.
• Use hand signals to inform drivers and pedestrians of your movements.
• Avoid riding in bus blind spots—if you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you.
• Always walk your bike through stations and on train platforms.
• Never pass a bus on the right as they frequently pull over to pick up passengers.
• Ride at a 90-degree angle when crossing train tracks.
• Dismount your bike and wait for gates arms to fully rise before crossing train tracks.

RTD invites you to learn more about bike safety this summer. Check out our Bike-n-Ride page for more information or request a bike-safety presentation from me via email. Ride safe out there!

About the Author:

Headshot of Lindsey Alarcon, RTD

Lindsey Alarcon is the Senior Specialist of Safety Communications for the Regional Transportation District (RTD), where she works with metro-area communities to promote transit safety. Before joining the agency, she managed community outreach for Concentra Urgent Care. Lindsey graduated from San Diego State University with a marketing degree. Contact Lindsey at lindsey.alarcon@rtd-denver.com.

A Guide to Cycling in the Northwest Metro Region

Bike to Work Day is almost here which means its time to shift gears and talk about all the amazing cycling resources available in the northwest metro region. From paved to soft-surface paths, bike share, wayfinding and more, our region is a haven for cyclists (and not just because of our unbeatable views!).

The US 36 Bikeway

The Northwest metro region is home to the US 36 Bikeway and with the backdrop of the Flatirons in Boulder, its easy to see why it’s such a popular bike path. The bikeway stretches from the south end of Boulder at Table Mesa Station to 80th Avenue in Westminster. The 18-miles of paved bike path provide the perfect alternative to being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on US 36. This year alone the US 36 Bikeway has already counted over 100,000 trips.

Bike-n-Ride Shelters

Perfect for our commuters who want to take advantage of a multi-modal bus and bike commute, the Bike-n-Ride shelters located across our region provide a safe place to store bikes at RTD stations. Users must apply for an RFID card online to gain access to the shelter. The shelters provide long-term, secure and weather-protected bicycle storage for commuters making connections to and from local or regional transit routes.

Currently, you can find shelters at the following locations:

  • 8th & Coffman, downtown Longmont
  • Hover Street & Highway 119/Diagonal in Longmont
  • US 36 & Table Mesa Station
  • Downtown Boulder Station – Walnut and 14th Street
  • US 36 & McCaslin Station – Superior (Eastbound side)

Later this summer, we will be working with RTD to construct two new Bike-n-Ride shelters: one at US 36 & Broomfield Station and one at US 36 & Sheridan Station.

Wayfinding

A vital element to making our region easily accessible and navigable to cyclists was the implementation and installation of wayfinding signage along the US 36 corridor. Our local governments worked together to make sure that it was easy for residents and visitors alike to explore our region. In December of 2018, the uniformed branded wayfinding sign were installed along the corridor.

Bike Share

Want to explore our region but aren’t ready to commit to buying a bicycle? Give one of our bike share programs a try! Bike share programs such as Zagster and Boulder BCycle are innovative systems that give users the ability to pick-up a bicycle at any of the self-serve bike stations and return the bike to any of the bike stations in the area.

Zagster is currently operating throughout the city of Longmont, while Boulder B-Cycle operates in the city of Boulder. It’s a great way to get out and explore a new city while getting some exercise!

Bike Northwest Map

Before heading out for a ride, make sure you know where you’re going with our Bike Northwest Map. This map is the result of a collaboration with our local governments in an effort to make a regional bike map that spans from Westminster all the way to Longmont.

The online version of the map comes with layers that you can play with to find your perfect ride. Do you want paved paths or maybe you want to avoid street riding? Just choose the layers that work for your perfect ride and the map will do the rest from there.

Bike to Work Day

In 2018, our region cycled 610,661 miles and saved 265 TONS of CO₂. Help us shatter our record by participating in 2019 Bike to Work Day! There are breakfast stations to stop by throughout the region where you can get a free breakfast and cup of coffee while getting to celebrate all the cyclists in our region. We can’t wait to see you out there!

Top 8 Reasons We Love Transit in the Northwest Metro Region (And You Should Too!)

There are so many reasons to love where we live. The unparalleled access to nature, the booming economy, the amazing local culture… the list goes on. One of the lesser mentioned reasons is that we have an amazing and varied transit system. While we are primarily served by the Regional Transportation District and their services, we benefit from local services in Boulder, the FLEX service by TransFort and so much more. Take a look at why we love transit in our region!

The Flatiron Flyer:

There is no easier, quicker or relaxing way to go from Boulder to Denver or vice versa than the Flatiron Flyer. Between the schedule-free service, the comfortable seats and the US 36 Express Lanes, there is no longer any reason to deal with driving alone on US 36. Another perk of the Flatiron Flyer? With ample parking available at the stations along the corridor, you no longer have to worry about finding a parking spot at your final destination, which for those of us who hate parking in Denver is the most invaluable perk of all.

SportsRide: BuffRide, BroncosRide & More:

When planning to attend any major sporting event, professional or college, there is the inevitable discussion surrounding who’s going to drive and where to park that won’t cost an arm and a leg. With RTD’s variety of game day services, the only question that needs to be asked is what time are we catching the bus. It’s a great way to enjoy the region’s diverse sporting activities without worrying about how you’re going to get there.

The On-Demand FlexRide Service:

One of the best services that RTD has to offer in the northwest metro region is the FlexRide service. It’s RTD’s reimagining of the former Call-n-Ride service. You can now order a ride up to 10 minutes in advance or schedule a regularly occurring trip. All of the vehicles are fully accessible, and the service continues to provide seamless connections between services and final destinations.

 

RTD & Innovation:

We are fortunate to be served by RTD, an organization that wants to bring the best and newest innovations to its users. That’s why this year alone RTD has announced partnerships with Lyft and Uber, that will allow users of the app to see transit options in the Lyft and Uber This will make it easier to plan and pay for multimodal trips throughout the region. RTD has also launched its first Autonomous Vehicle (AV) pilot program to work on integrating the new technology into their service offerings.

SkyRide to DEN:

Next time you have a trip planned, let RTD take care of getting you to the airport. The AB, AA, AT and A-Line services connect travelers from all over the Denver metro region to DIA with ease. For the northwest metro region, there is no faster way to get to the airport than by hopping on the AB service and letting RTD do the driving. You get to avoid traffic and paying for parking. Plus, you are dropped off right at the terminal. It couldn’t be easier!

The B-Line:

The B-Line is the first commuter rail service to connect Union Station in Denver and Westminster Station, constructed as part of the RTD FasTracks project. Westminster Station is located at 69th Avenue and Grove Street with the station and transit plaza designed to be the central hub within the surrounding 135-acre transit-oriented development area. The service serves nearly 1800 riders a day and is an easy way to commute into Denver.

FLEX Your Commute:

Another great service available to commuters in the northwest metro region is the FLEX route which connects Fort Collins to Boulder. The bus comes equipped with WiFi, charging ports and only cost $1.25 one-way! The route stops in Loveland, Longmont and Berthoud. For your next trip between the two cities, give the FLEX a go!

Bustang on I-25:

The Bustang is CDOT’s Interregional Express (IX) bus service, connecting commuters along the I-25 corridor from Fort Collins all the way to Denver on its North Line. Each Bustang coach is equipped with a restroom, bike racks, free WiFi, power outlets and USB ports.

 

Going Dockless: The Future of Bike Share

David “DK” Kemp has been putting people on bikes since 1997. Following an illustrative career as a bike shop salesman, DK moved on to conceptualize and implement the Tour de Fat event series with New Belgium Brewing from 2000-2004.  From 2006-2012, DK served as the Bicycle Coordinator for the City of Fort Collins and helped move the community from a silver to platinum level bicycle friendly community.   In 2012, DK moved to Davis, CA to become the city’s first Active Transportation Planner.  DK moved back to Colorado in late 2014 to serve as a Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Boulder where he now specializes in multimodal infrastructure design and programming and was instrumental in bringing dockless bike share to Boulder.   

What is Dockless Bike Share?

Dockless bike share is a start-up bike share system where people can rent bikes without having to check them in or out of an established docking facility, similar to today’s Boulder’s B-Cycle system. Bikes can be rented wherever they are found by using a smartphone app or digital screen located on the bike. After an individual is done riding a bike, they park it at their location and check it out to make the bike available to others.

The advent of dockless bike share technology has recently taken the U.S. by storm and the industry is very quickly evolving and changing each day.  Cities throughout the U.S. have scrambled, and in some cases, even struggled with how to regulate this fast paced industry.

While in theory, the concept of dockless bike share makes sense in order to provide people greater accessibility to bicycles; however, the ability for a bike to be parked in, or moved into, the public right of way without a managed approach presents significant issues in the way of safety for pedestrians and other cyclists.  Some dockless bikes can be parked and left anywhere, and that’s precisely the issue- they can be parked anywhere.

Dockless bike share technology can be separated into two fundamental categories:  “self-locking” and “lock-to.”  Self-locking technology enables the bike to lock only to itself before and after each use.  Lock-to technology incorporates an integrated locking mechanism that enables the bike to be locked to a fixed structure, such as a bike rack.

Bringing Dockless Bike Share to Boulder

In 2017, numerous dockless bike share operators hoping to conduct business in the city approached the City of Boulder.  Following an extensive research process and coordination with the National Association for City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the City of Boulder adopted an ordinance in June 2018 to regulate the industry in Boulder through a licensing program.  The ordinance requires all operators provide “lock-to” technology on their bicycles and the bicycles to be locked to a bike rack before and after each use.  To offset existing public bike parking, the ordinance also requires that one bike rack per bike deployed be provided.

This approach greatly avoids the potential safety issue associated with bikes parked freely in the public right of way while taking advantage of the benefits associated increased accessibility to bike share for community members. As is stands today, some operators are able to adhere to the City of Boulder’s regulations, while others are not.

In July 2018, NACTO released, “Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation.”  This comprehensive guide provides information for agency officials who are exploring the merits and feasibility of dockless bike share in their community: https://nacto.org/home/shared-active-transportation-guidelines/

For more information on the City of Boulder’s program, please visit: https://bouldercolorado.gov/transportation/dockless-bike-share

Or, contact Dave “DK” Kemp, Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Boulder

dk@bouldercolorado.gov