Down with Commuting

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By: Sarah Ditton — Development & Operations

According to a 2019 Boulder Community Profile, “an estimated 58,000 people travel into the city of Boulder every day for work, as commuters make up 60% of the local workforce.” More than half the people that work in the City of Boulder don’t live in the City.

Boulder’s Commuting Problem

There are many reasons for this massive rate of in-commuting. One clear reason is that the costs of living in Boulder are too high for those working here. “They have to commute in from further and further away. First it was Louisville and Lafayette and now it’s Erie and it’s Frederick and Dacono and way out East and Northeast. Our lack of housing affordability, that inequity in our system and our steadfast refusal to provide enough housing supply for the jobs that we have, has created this enormous in-commuting problem,” says Kurt Nordback, Boulder native and BHC Board Member. Kurt has experienced firsthand the great transformation taking place in the front range. Parts of what he sees worry him. 

Our in-commuting is causing a “vast amount of pollution every day. Not to mention people’s time and the safety and health aspects of that,” he says. Kurt understood that transportation, pollution, and the way we organize our cities are deeply interconnected. That is one reason he joined the BHC Board, so he can contribute to developing the type of housing that enables people to actually live where they work. 

Live Where You Work

Cooperative housing is more affordable than other housing types because people are sharing their space, resources, and buying power. This affordability, especially in Boulder, makes it so people — teachers, grocery store associates, assistant managers, local reporters, researchers, graduate students, entrepreneurs, government administrators, healthcare workers, and all the other operatives that make our city thrive — can live here. 

It’s inhumane that people have to commute so far to work in our amazing city. It hurts our environment. It hurts individuals’ budgets (as they have to pay for cars and gas to get here). It hurts our communal mental health. 

Kurt says, “I’ll look over it on the other side of the diagonal and I’ll see bikes passing the cars sitting there. When I was growing up here, that was not the case at all. You’d hardly see another car on the diagonal when I was a kid.” It can be another way. 

A More Affordable Boulder is a Cleaner Boulder

If we can make Boulder more affordable, we can clean up our air, save money and time, and enhance our community. Cooperatives help achieve all of this by providing affordable housing. Affordable Housing allows more people to live within the city instead of their car.

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