spoiler: if you don't bike in Boulder, this might/won't be interesting at all
I travel in Boulder predominantly on bicycle and secondarily on motorcycle or in car. I also frequent the section of Folsom featuring the new protected bike lane. Even as a cyclist, I try to put the proposal into a broader context and have some real doubts as to its objective long-term benefit for everyone:
— Bikes don't outnumber cars collectively in any 24 hour period on Folsom. The existing road format has always been able to handle the total volume of bicycle and vehicle traffic. Until the tide turns and there are literally more bikes than cars in Boulder, I don't think vehicle traffic should be penalized. I'd support the addition of bike lanes to roads such as Arapahoe and Canyon where they are desperately needed rather than the elimination of vehicle lanes on roads where traffic should continue to flow freely.
When a road in Boulder has relatively low congestion (or none at all), it's a really good thing. This means the road can handle an increase in traffic during rush hour, holidays, and in the years to come as the population in Boulder drastically increases. Taking away a lane based on the notion that there isn't enough [perceived] vehicle traffic is short-sighted as it fails to acknowledge the broader reality.
— Folsom is a MAJOR North/South artery in Boulder. It is the only road with freely flowing traffic between the University and Iris for those who live in the North East area of town. It's a model road for Boulder: two traffic lanes and a bike lane each way. In my opinion there is nothing to improve upon here.
— I could be wrong (and there's probably data to show it), but I suspect that the real threat cars pose to cyclists revolves almost exclusively around intersections. I don't personally ever feel unsafe as a cyclist when I'm inside of a clearly marked bike lane traveling in the same direction and parallel to vehicles. The only time I've ever been hit was when a car turned into me at an intersection (on a road with no bike lanes)(in Philadelphia). Successful solutions have been developed in recent years to make intersections safer for cyclists.
— Cyclists (and pedestrians at large) in Boulder are incredibly entitled. I have slammed on my brakes while driving for countless cyclists and pedestrians when I am well within the speed limit, observing the right of way, and obeying traffic signals. There is this crazy mentality in Boulder that you can bike on sidewalks, go the wrong way on one-way streets, not use bike lights or hand signals, blast through stop signs, or enter any road at any time in any direction without consequence. Unfortunately, (a large population of) cyclists in Boulder create an environment for themselves that is unsafe.
— Those green posts which are planted about every two feet are ugly as hell. What used to look like a quiet neighborhood now looks like a permanent construction zone. I think a reflective green line painted on the road surface next to the solid white would be equally effective, especially since the posts don't provide a physical barrier between a stray vehicle and bicycles.
I have been wondering for the last few weeks if there was any story or data behind this change, so thanks for sharing that link @lucian I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out, and am encouraged to see Boulder treating this project as an experiment and inviting feedback rather than just diving in without gathering data first.