Study sheds light on Lafayette‘s existing multimodal conditions

Most of Lafayette‘s through streets are uncomfortable for cyclists to ride along due to the high-speed traffic and narrow buffers, according to a study examining the city‘s current multimodal conditions, which sheds light on some of the obstacles facing the city‘s far-reaching transit and pedestrian goals.

The study, conducted over the last four months by Stephanie Ball, of the University of Colorado‘s College of Architecture and Planning Urban and Regional Graduate Program, comes ahead of the city‘s future plans for a multimodal comprehensive design.

Such a plan typically includes a framework for widening arterials and creating safer passages for cyclists, as well as encouraging residents to utilize public transport more through the use of incentives and the creation of more park-n-rides and bus stops nearer to higher concentrations of residential areas.

Similar frameworks exist in Westminster‘s mobility action plan and Envision Longmont Multimodal and Comprehensive Plan, both created in 2016. Boulder County created a similar transportation master plan in 2012.

Among some of the more notable conclusions: sidewalks along the city‘s main thoroughfares, including South Boulder and West Baseline roads are uncomfortable to walk on due to no buffers from fast-moving nearby cars.

Furthermore, most streets in Lafayette are not “bicycle friendly,” according to the study.

“The biggest issue I see is especially around 95th Street,” Zach Sharp, the owner of Domestique Mobile Bike Shop in Lafayette said Friday. “There‘s not much shoulder headed north on that street and that is a huge cycling area. It‘s the same with Isabelle Road headed east from 95th Street, it‘s super narrow, and traffic-wise, people drive very fast.

“I would love to see the shoulders a little bit wider and have more signage put up for riders,” he added.

On the transit side, the study says that only 210 Lafayette residents — roughly 2 percent — use a park-n-ride in the city.

It adds that most Lafayette residents are driving to park-n-ride lots outside of the city: roughly 50 percent of residents use park-n-rides at either the U.S. 36 and Broomfield station, or at the U.S. 36 McCaslin station.

“So that kinda tells us that people would prefer to drive to those (lots) and get on the Flatiron Flyer rather than use the transit services (in Lafayette),” Ball said.

Study‘s key findings:

Pedestrian network

•Sidewalks on arterial roads including South Boulder Road and West Baseline Road are uncomfortable to walk along: speeds range from 30-40 mph and sidewalks do not have buffers.

•Some neighborhoods are disconnected from community amenities due to high traffic arterials.

•Neighborhoods west of U.S. 287 cannot access a grocery store within a 10 minute walk.

Bicycle network

•Most of Lafayette‘s through streets are arterials which are not “bicycle friendly”

Chet Hilkert looks for oncoming traffic before crossing the road Wednesday as he travels down S. Public Road on his electric self-balancing wheel device at the Lafayette Park-n-Ride. ()

•The narrow bicycle lane on South Boulder Road is uncomfortable for most types of cyclists

•The Walk and Wheel route becomes difficult to follow in the southeast part of the city due to lack of wayfinding

•It is difficult to access the Lafayette park n ride without biking on an arterial street

•Regional trails provide good recreational access to the south portion of the city

Transit network

•Most bus stops are on arterial streets and can be uncomfortable to walk to and wait for the bus

•Pedestrian improvements such as wider sidewalks with buffers should be prioritized around bus stops

•Bus stops with the highest average daily boardings could use additional amenities including shelters and benches

This assessment will be available to serve as a framework for a future comprehensive multimodal plan.

It‘s unclear when, or if, Lafayette will embark on crafting and adopting such a comprehensive plan.

“At this time,” Lafayette spokeswoman Debbie Wilmot said, “a comprehensive plan of this type has not been assigned a budget or priority.”