Boulder YIMBY vs NIMBY: finding common ground

There is some common ground between Boulder YIMBY and NIMBY: the dislike of vehicular congestion. The division arises from their principle areas of concern (highways vs streets) and what the optimal solution is (density vs exclusion).

Now that I live in the city limits, there is one more young-ish YIMBY who will be voting for smart re-zoning, inclusive housing policies which will increase density and enable more folks across the front range to live close to where they bike or walk to work.

The fallacy of NIMBY lies in the belief that pushing something outside of your sphere of existence stops it from affecting you. As if we live in hermetically sealed bubbles as if we are not one people on one planet.

Boulder’s regulatory courage seems to be limited to taxing sugar and plastic bags; why can’t we tax suboptimal vehicle or land utilization and give tax credits to those who take actions to reduce congestion?

Every day I go past my neighbor’s yard full of inoperable vehicles and wish it was vibrant co-housing. The rusting “collector vehicles” are exempt from being considered a public nuisance and occupancy limits make the co-housing illegal.

Every day my family plays in mostly abandoned playgrounds because living here is nearly impossible for most young families who aren’t incredibly privileged and/or wealthy.

Every day I drive to work I’m disappointed by my laziness, every day I bike I feel fantastic. How about a property tax credit for leaving my car off the road, offset by taxes on investment properties and over-sized under-occupied McMansions?

The worst NIMBY solution to congestion is to try to reduce employment, to force companies to leave town by fostering unfavorable business conditions. There is a big contingent of wealthy Boulder elites who seemingly prefer blight and neglect to the vibrant growth of the community.

I love Boulder even if it could use a few upgrades. Rewarding productive land use and redevelopment could make it better. I would suggest embrace “Kaizen”: continuous improvement, but for now, the status quo seems to be more popular.

The 60,000 “migrant workers” who commute to Boulder every day contribute immensely to our thriving community, but they are not represented by Boulder government. They treated as pests, not assets. This dynamic is at the root of our housing and transportation crises.

Boulder’s climate emergency could become a common ground between YIMBY & NIMBY, but the declaration cannot be taken seriously unless we find a way to house our people. The massive daily ingress & egress of tens of thousands is unhealthy and unsustainable.

(Originally posted on Twitter)