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Pay Phones On Boulder's Pearl Street Mall To Disappear

Katina Rogers
Flickr - Creative Commons

In what may be a sign of the times, Boulder is disconnecting from its downtown pay phones.

When is the last time you even remember seeing a phone on Pearl Street? With most people using cellphones these days, city leaders say keeping the four pay phones on the Pearl Street Mall doesn’t make sense. 

Molly Winter, Boulder’s director of Downtown and University Hill Management and Parking Services, told thethe Daily Camera the city had worked with an independent company to have the pay phones installed but is now terminating the contract.

Winter says she doesn't know exactly how much revenue the city has raised from pay phone use but calls it “minuscule.”

Credit Inderwies / Flickr - Creative Commons
Flickr - Creative Commons
Do you even notice the pay phone in this picture? It will soon be gone... (hint: it's above the 'a')

Boulder city leaders hope to have the phones removed by May, when they plan to install an interactive, touch-screen kiosk on the western end of the mall.

What Boulder is doing isn't exactly a new phenomenon. Cities and phone companies have been abandoning the shrinking pay phone market for years.

If the idea of ripping out these old-school devices has you suddenly feeling nostalgic, you may want to check out a site called The Payphone Project

There are photos of pay phones from around the world, stories of odd items found in phone booths, and handy lists of phone numbers for those inclined to call and see who picks up. (Sadly for pranksters, many pay phones no longer accept incoming calls.)

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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