Photos: How Boulder bicycle plan is turning city into living cycling laboratory

Many cities are trying to become more cycling-friendly. But drivers and cyclists continue to be at odds, with sometimes fatal results.

With that in mind, Boulder has launched "Living Laboratory," a plan to experiment with innovative treatments and pilot programs in order to come up with ways to improve car-bicycle interactions. Here, senior transportation planner Marni Ratzel, aided by Boulder Complete Streets graphics, takes us through seven new approaches coming soon to Boulder -- and, perhaps, to your hometown.

Back-in angled parking on University Avenue from Broadway to 17th Street

-- Installation scheduled for August 2013 Ratzel: "Currently there's angled parking on the south side of the street; the north side has parallel parking, and it will remain the same. But the reason we're testing this is because the bike lane on University is adjacent to the angled parking, and there's some conflict between cyclists traveling in the bike lane and the angled parking. Essentially, it's that people are backing out blindly and have another vehicle next to them, so they might not be able to see the cyclist, and vice versa.

"The idea is to see if we can address some of the safety issues between cyclists and cars by having the cars back in. That way, they'll be able to see if there are any bikes coming by looking in the rear-view mirror. And then, when they're leaving, they'll already be facing out, so they'll have a better view; it should reduce some of the sight obstruction if there's a cyclist coming.

"Another thing interesting about backing into the spaces is that there are some efficiencies for occupants of the vehicles, and safety improvements for them. Somebody opening a car door can go straight back from their car to the sidewalk, and that can be especially important if you have kids. Parents can open their car door and tell kids to go straight to the sidewalk."

Continue for more examples of how the Boulder bicycle plan is turning the city into a living cycling laboratory.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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