OOTS: Boulder Greenway System

When I recently read an OOTS (Out on the Street) post at Wildlife Garden, I knew I wanted to contribute to this fun meme hosted by VP at Veg Plotting. Since I'm still in Boulder, I decided to tell the story of the Boulder Greenways Program.

While not strictly on the street, the program has created an alternative set of paths along the major creeks in the city. Here's what the city website says:

The Greenways Program seeks to coordinate and integrate as appropriate the following management objectives:
  • Riparian, floodplain and wetland protection and restoration;
  • Water quality enhancement;
  • Storm Drainage;
  • Alternative transportation routes for pedestrians and bicyclists;
  • Recreation;
  • Protection of cultural resources. 

Having been in Boulder for more than a month now, I've found that it's often faster to take my bike somewhere than to take the car. Underpasses and a few bridges allow me to avoid traffic lights almost completely. Yet I can get off the path and on a city street at each intersection.

And of course it's more pleasant to walk or bike along a path like this than to be on the street with traffic. You can enjoy the morning sun on the reservoir. 

See how the grasses catch the light. 

Then there's the wildlife. On a recent Saturday I stepped out my front door and started walking. I was on the greenway within 5 minutes, and soon after saw this member of a happy prarie dog colonie: 

This little bunny in the grass along the path. 

This dragonfly in the rushes next to the creek. 

Birds were chirping and tweeting (yes, birds still tweet) and I even managed to catch two who were enjoying the thistle seeds. 

While I personally think there is too much lawn around the houses and office buildings that line the greenway, some do make an effort. Here's an office building with coneflower, rudbeckia, and  a butterfly bush. 

And here's a real butterfly garden planted by a youth group right next to the greenway. 

I know most towns and cities have concerns about too much traffic and flooding, and making room for wildlife in the middle of town is usually not high on the list. But Boulder's approach shows clearly how much you can integrate a town with nature, so you can be out on the street, yet surrounded by wildlife habitat. 



Thanks for sharing this. And kudos to Boulder for committing to such an ambitious project.
Carole said…
I'm so glad you found Barbara's post at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. And this project in Boulder is simply lovely! Just imagine if we started seeind OOTS projects in all open spaces, along highway edges, schools, businesses, vacant lots. Every one of these projects should be celebrated and encouraged. Thanks for sharing yours.
VP said…
This is totally what OOTS is about and what a fantastic place in Boulder!

There are similar schemes here in the UK too, sadly there isn't one near me, but I hope to get some photos of one when I visit my brother in law up north sometime.

Thanks for being inspired, not only by Barbara's post at Beautiful Wildlife Garden but also to join in with OOTS itself :)
This is totally wonderful. I wish Ann Arbor had more bike paths like this--it IS annoying riding in traffic esp. when cars won't share the road. Looks lovely!!
Christine said…
I love it when urban and rural can co-mingle. I'd love to see the results of a stress test between those that drive and those that use this wonderful path.