It’s not often an overnight project involving the use of plungers is met with excitement, but that’s exactly what happened today in Boulder after bicycle commuters on 30th Street found someone had created a makeshift “protected” bike lane using plungers.
About 100 wooden-handled plungers lined both shoulders on 30th Street between Arapahoe Avenue and Baseline Road, forming a MacGyvered barrier between vehicles on bicyclists to call attention to creating safer conditions for cyclists.
Jamie Pfahl was riding to work at about 7 a.m. when she came across the ad-hoc bike lane on 30th, which has been referred to as one of the more dangerous stretches of road in Boulder.
“It was a dream come true,” Pfahl said. “It was like Christmas morning, but in a family where the gifts are not that great.”
I’m a firm believer that if you gripe about something long enough on the internet somebody will eventually get around to fixing it but this is just beyond expectation. #bikes #bikecommute @CommunityCycles @bouldergobldr @bouldercolorado pic.twitter.com/6XsLxWvqeU
— Jezebel (@jamie_jezebel) August 28, 2019
Pfahl is active online when it comes to bike advocacy, so she was probably not as shocked to see plungers adhered to the road as some people might have been. Plungers have been used elsewhere in the country to call attention to protected bike lanes, and in some cases have even resulted in more permanent structures being installed.
“I knew immediately what they were,” Pfahl said about seeing the plungers in Boulder.
“I was really excited that someone did something about it,” she said. “Someone finally took action.”
But while the idea of a protected bike lane, even one made up of plungers, appealed to Pfahl, she said it does not solve all of the problems cyclists face on the narrow shoulder of 30th.
“Some people tell me I have a death wish biking down 30th,” she said. “The really telling thing would be to see how many are run over by the end of the day.”
Sure enough, by mid-morning several stretches of the road that had been flush with plungers earlier in the day had already been cleared out or snapped.
No group or person has claimed responsibility for the plungers, and Boulder officials have not yet returned requests for comment on what, if anything, the city will do about them.