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'20 is Plenty' did not significantly reduce vehicle speeds in Boulder, new report shows

New report provides insight on '20 is Plenty' initiative
'20 is Plenty'
Posted at 5:25 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 19:38:18-05

BOULDER, Colo. — The City of Boulder approved the "20 is Plenty" initiative in June of 2020, replacing more than 400 speed limit signs on residential streets in the hope that it would change reckless driving habits. Since then, many feel as if nothing has changed.

“It feels like things have gone unnoticed in my world,” said Sophie Salin, who lives in Boulder.

In a report, Boulder’s department of transportation says "20 is Plenty" did not reduce vehicle speeds but does confirm local streets is not where the majority of severe crashes happen.

“About two-thirds of our crashes occur on our arterial streets, which make up about 16% of our total lane miles within the city,” said principal traffic engineer with the City of Boulder, Devin Joslin.

Joslin says the city’s focus is now on how they can make major streets safer.

“We also found that street design is one of the most effective ways to slow speeds. We found that our local streets that are wider and have a yellow painted center line tend to see higher speeds than our local streets that are narrower and don’t have a marked center line,” said Joslin.

For membership director and advocacy effort manager with Community Cycles, Alexey Davies, there are clear steps the city can take.

“Boulder needs separated bike facilities so that could be raised or just on the northern part of Folsom, north of Spruce, they put in some curbs with pylons and I feel a lot safer there. That is the kind of infrastructure we need around this town,” said Davies.

Boulder’s results from "20 is Plenty" didn’t necessarily come as a surprise either.

Other cities like Portland and Seattle, which also decreased speed limits, saw similar results.

“We’re setting the expectation that people are not supposed to speed in the neighborhood. Yes, people still do and setting that expectation really allows us to address the issues,” said Davies.

City council will hear the results of the report during a study session on Tuesday.