Bike Safe Around Transit This Summer and Always: Guest Post from Lindsey Alarcon, RTD

Collage of Bike Safety ElementsIt’s no secret that Coloradans love the great outdoors. As the weather warms up, more people get outside and utilize bikes for recreation and transportation. With more bikes on the road this summer, The Regional Transportation District, (RTD) is encouraging cyclists to ride safely around transit.

RTD bus and train operators see unsafe cyclist behavior daily, some of which leads to near misses—incidents that did not result in injury or damage, but had the potential to do so. This behavior includes ignoring warning devices at rail crossings, passing buses on the right and being distracted by headphones, to name a few.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Our operators are responsible for getting people to their destinations safely. Bike riders are responsible for following the rules of the road, including using caution when riding near buses and trains. Following these tips will ensure cyclists interact with RTD operations in the safest way possible:

• Ride in the same direction as traffic and follow traffic signs and signals.
• Stay alert and avoid using electronics while riding.
• Use hand signals to inform drivers and pedestrians of your movements.
• Avoid riding in bus blind spots—if you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you.
• Always walk your bike through stations and on train platforms.
• Never pass a bus on the right as they frequently pull over to pick up passengers.
• Ride at a 90-degree angle when crossing train tracks.
• Dismount your bike and wait for gates arms to fully rise before crossing train tracks.

RTD invites you to learn more about bike safety this summer. Check out our Bike-n-Ride page for more information or request a bike-safety presentation from me via email. Ride safe out there!

About the Author:

Headshot of Lindsey Alarcon, RTD

Lindsey Alarcon is the Senior Specialist of Safety Communications for the Regional Transportation District (RTD), where she works with metro-area communities to promote transit safety. Before joining the agency, she managed community outreach for Concentra Urgent Care. Lindsey graduated from San Diego State University with a marketing degree. Contact Lindsey at lindsey.alarcon@rtd-denver.com.

A Guide to Cycling in the Northwest Metro Region

Bike to Work Day is almost here which means its time to shift gears and talk about all the amazing cycling resources available in the northwest metro region. From paved to soft-surface paths, bike share, wayfinding and more, our region is a haven for cyclists (and not just because of our unbeatable views!).

The US 36 Bikeway

The Northwest metro region is home to the US 36 Bikeway and with the backdrop of the Flatirons in Boulder, its easy to see why it’s such a popular bike path. The bikeway stretches from the south end of Boulder at Table Mesa Station to 80th Avenue in Westminster. The 18-miles of paved bike path provide the perfect alternative to being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on US 36. This year alone the US 36 Bikeway has already counted over 100,000 trips.

Bike-n-Ride Shelters

Perfect for our commuters who want to take advantage of a multi-modal bus and bike commute, the Bike-n-Ride shelters located across our region provide a safe place to store bikes at RTD stations. Users must apply for an RFID card online to gain access to the shelter. The shelters provide long-term, secure and weather-protected bicycle storage for commuters making connections to and from local or regional transit routes.

Currently, you can find shelters at the following locations:

  • 8th & Coffman, downtown Longmont
  • Hover Street & Highway 119/Diagonal in Longmont
  • US 36 & Table Mesa Station
  • Downtown Boulder Station – Walnut and 14th Street
  • US 36 & McCaslin Station – Superior (Eastbound side)

Later this summer, we will be working with RTD to construct two new Bike-n-Ride shelters: one at US 36 & Broomfield Station and one at US 36 & Sheridan Station.

Wayfinding

A vital element to making our region easily accessible and navigable to cyclists was the implementation and installation of wayfinding signage along the US 36 corridor. Our local governments worked together to make sure that it was easy for residents and visitors alike to explore our region. In December of 2018, the uniformed branded wayfinding sign were installed along the corridor.

Bike Share

Want to explore our region but aren’t ready to commit to buying a bicycle? Give one of our bike share programs a try! Bike share programs such as Zagster and Boulder BCycle are innovative systems that give users the ability to pick-up a bicycle at any of the self-serve bike stations and return the bike to any of the bike stations in the area.

Zagster is currently operating throughout the city of Longmont, while Boulder B-Cycle operates in the city of Boulder. It’s a great way to get out and explore a new city while getting some exercise!

Bike Northwest Map

Before heading out for a ride, make sure you know where you’re going with our Bike Northwest Map. This map is the result of a collaboration with our local governments in an effort to make a regional bike map that spans from Westminster all the way to Longmont.

The online version of the map comes with layers that you can play with to find your perfect ride. Do you want paved paths or maybe you want to avoid street riding? Just choose the layers that work for your perfect ride and the map will do the rest from there.

Bike to Work Day

In 2018, our region cycled 610,661 miles and saved 265 TONS of CO₂. Help us shatter our record by participating in 2019 Bike to Work Day! There are breakfast stations to stop by throughout the region where you can get a free breakfast and cup of coffee while getting to celebrate all the cyclists in our region. We can’t wait to see you out there!

Top 8 Reasons We Love Transit in the Northwest Metro Region (And You Should Too!)

There are so many reasons to love where we live. The unparalleled access to nature, the booming economy, the amazing local culture… the list goes on. One of the lesser mentioned reasons is that we have an amazing and varied transit system. While we are primarily served by the Regional Transportation District and their services, we benefit from local services in Boulder, the FLEX service by TransFort and so much more. Take a look at why we love transit in our region!

The Flatiron Flyer:

There is no easier, quicker or relaxing way to go from Boulder to Denver or vice versa than the Flatiron Flyer. Between the schedule-free service, the comfortable seats and the US 36 Express Lanes, there is no longer any reason to deal with driving alone on US 36. Another perk of the Flatiron Flyer? With ample parking available at the stations along the corridor, you no longer have to worry about finding a parking spot at your final destination, which for those of us who hate parking in Denver is the most invaluable perk of all.

SportsRide: BuffRide, BroncosRide & More:

When planning to attend any major sporting event, professional or college, there is the inevitable discussion surrounding who’s going to drive and where to park that won’t cost an arm and a leg. With RTD’s variety of game day services, the only question that needs to be asked is what time are we catching the bus. It’s a great way to enjoy the region’s diverse sporting activities without worrying about how you’re going to get there.

The On-Demand FlexRide Service:

One of the best services that RTD has to offer in the northwest metro region is the FlexRide service. It’s RTD’s reimagining of the former Call-n-Ride service. You can now order a ride up to 10 minutes in advance or schedule a regularly occurring trip. All of the vehicles are fully accessible, and the service continues to provide seamless connections between services and final destinations.

 

RTD & Innovation:

We are fortunate to be served by RTD, an organization that wants to bring the best and newest innovations to its users. That’s why this year alone RTD has announced partnerships with Lyft and Uber, that will allow users of the app to see transit options in the Lyft and Uber This will make it easier to plan and pay for multimodal trips throughout the region. RTD has also launched its first Autonomous Vehicle (AV) pilot program to work on integrating the new technology into their service offerings.

SkyRide to DEN:

Next time you have a trip planned, let RTD take care of getting you to the airport. The AB, AA, AT and A-Line services connect travelers from all over the Denver metro region to DIA with ease. For the northwest metro region, there is no faster way to get to the airport than by hopping on the AB service and letting RTD do the driving. You get to avoid traffic and paying for parking. Plus, you are dropped off right at the terminal. It couldn’t be easier!

The B-Line:

The B-Line is the first commuter rail service to connect Union Station in Denver and Westminster Station, constructed as part of the RTD FasTracks project. Westminster Station is located at 69th Avenue and Grove Street with the station and transit plaza designed to be the central hub within the surrounding 135-acre transit-oriented development area. The service serves nearly 1800 riders a day and is an easy way to commute into Denver.

FLEX Your Commute:

Another great service available to commuters in the northwest metro region is the FLEX route which connects Fort Collins to Boulder. The bus comes equipped with WiFi, charging ports and only cost $1.25 one-way! The route stops in Loveland, Longmont and Berthoud. For your next trip between the two cities, give the FLEX a go!

Bustang on I-25:

The Bustang is CDOT’s Interregional Express (IX) bus service, connecting commuters along the I-25 corridor from Fort Collins all the way to Denver on its North Line. Each Bustang coach is equipped with a restroom, bike racks, free WiFi, power outlets and USB ports.

 

Going Dockless: The Future of Bike Share

David “DK” Kemp has been putting people on bikes since 1997. Following an illustrative career as a bike shop salesman, DK moved on to conceptualize and implement the Tour de Fat event series with New Belgium Brewing from 2000-2004.  From 2006-2012, DK served as the Bicycle Coordinator for the City of Fort Collins and helped move the community from a silver to platinum level bicycle friendly community.   In 2012, DK moved to Davis, CA to become the city’s first Active Transportation Planner.  DK moved back to Colorado in late 2014 to serve as a Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Boulder where he now specializes in multimodal infrastructure design and programming and was instrumental in bringing dockless bike share to Boulder.   

What is Dockless Bike Share?

Dockless bike share is a start-up bike share system where people can rent bikes without having to check them in or out of an established docking facility, similar to today’s Boulder’s B-Cycle system. Bikes can be rented wherever they are found by using a smartphone app or digital screen located on the bike. After an individual is done riding a bike, they park it at their location and check it out to make the bike available to others.

The advent of dockless bike share technology has recently taken the U.S. by storm and the industry is very quickly evolving and changing each day.  Cities throughout the U.S. have scrambled, and in some cases, even struggled with how to regulate this fast paced industry.

While in theory, the concept of dockless bike share makes sense in order to provide people greater accessibility to bicycles; however, the ability for a bike to be parked in, or moved into, the public right of way without a managed approach presents significant issues in the way of safety for pedestrians and other cyclists.  Some dockless bikes can be parked and left anywhere, and that’s precisely the issue- they can be parked anywhere.

Dockless bike share technology can be separated into two fundamental categories:  “self-locking” and “lock-to.”  Self-locking technology enables the bike to lock only to itself before and after each use.  Lock-to technology incorporates an integrated locking mechanism that enables the bike to be locked to a fixed structure, such as a bike rack.

Bringing Dockless Bike Share to Boulder

In 2017, numerous dockless bike share operators hoping to conduct business in the city approached the City of Boulder.  Following an extensive research process and coordination with the National Association for City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the City of Boulder adopted an ordinance in June 2018 to regulate the industry in Boulder through a licensing program.  The ordinance requires all operators provide “lock-to” technology on their bicycles and the bicycles to be locked to a bike rack before and after each use.  To offset existing public bike parking, the ordinance also requires that one bike rack per bike deployed be provided.

This approach greatly avoids the potential safety issue associated with bikes parked freely in the public right of way while taking advantage of the benefits associated increased accessibility to bike share for community members. As is stands today, some operators are able to adhere to the City of Boulder’s regulations, while others are not.

In July 2018, NACTO released, “Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation.”  This comprehensive guide provides information for agency officials who are exploring the merits and feasibility of dockless bike share in their community: https://nacto.org/home/shared-active-transportation-guidelines/

For more information on the City of Boulder’s program, please visit: https://bouldercolorado.gov/transportation/dockless-bike-share

Or, contact Dave “DK” Kemp, Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Boulder

dk@bouldercolorado.gov

 

 

E-Bikes to Extend Access to US 36 Bikeway and Beyond

 

Electronic bikes (e-bikes) are positively impacting the ability for commuters to cycle to work every day. At the beginning of 2016, Commuting Solutions convened government staff from Boulder, Boulder County, Louisville, Superior, Broomfield and Westminster to encourage local communities to adopt electronic bike ordinances that would enable e-bikes to be used along the US 36 Bikeway and other local cycling facilities. Commuting Solutions supports e-bikes due to the ability to ride further, tackle tougher terrain and increase accessibility to the US 36 Bikeway for all ages and abilities.

The US 36 Bikeway is 18 miles long and connects communities throughout the northwest metro region. Not only does it connect businesses to their employees, but makes cycling to work a safe commute option. E-bikes allow cyclists to travel farther than they normally would and eventually play a leading role in encouraging more commuters to try commuting by e-bike along the US 36 Bikeway, creating another viable commute option.

E-bikes not only help commuters travel further, it also increases a rider’s ability to travel across challenging terrain that would otherwise be too difficult. To put this into perspective, the US 36 Bikeway has a 700-foot elevation gain when riding Davidson Mesa going in and out of Boulder. This can be a challenging climb for an experienced rider and daunting task for a novice cyclist. E-bikes allows cyclists to decide when they want to pedal and when they need an extra power boost.

Expanding city ordinances along the US 36 Bikeway to allow e-bikes would mean increasing access to cycling for all ages and abilities. The northwest metro region is nationally recognized for the progress along the US 36 Corridor and this includes the US 36 Bikeway. The US 36 Bikeway is an incredible treasure for our communities. Commuting Solutions is committed to increasing access to the bikeway so more people can not only enjoy their ride, but connect to our communities along the way.

We are pleased that Louisville city council recently approved an e-bike ordinance and the jurisdictions of Broomfield, Westminster and Boulder County are in the process of doing the same.  In addition, a state bill passed the legislature this session which enables e-bike usage unless a community opposes it.  This is exciting progress for the state and for the cycling industry to make Colorado more accessible for all users.

For more information about the US 36 Bikeway and to view our online map, visit commutingsolutions.org.  The 2017 Bike Northwest print map will be available in June; email us at info@commutingsolutions.org to have a map mailed to you.  Ride on!

Commuter to Watch: Brianna Connelly

Brianna lives in Wheat Ridge and commutes to Broomfield using the Flatiron Flyer and her bicycle. Her employer made it easy to hop on board with an EcoPass. One day, her bus driver pulled over unexpectedly to re-secure her bicycle on the bus rack – a thoughtful move that kept her bike from becoming road kill. Brianna adds, “When I ride the bus I can read, relax, and crochet. Best of all, there’s no road rage!”

Commuter to watch: Pietro Simonetti

blog_1200x745_pietro

Pietro lives in Westminster and commutes to Superior, riding the US 36 Bikeway three to four times a week. When the cars on US 36 are backed up and he’s going faster than all of them, you can bet he’s got an ear-to-ear, bugs-on-teeth grin as he pedals ferociously. Adds Pietro, “There’s nothing better than riding to work on a crisp day with the sun over the horizon and the white mountains in the distance. Everyone should join in!”

Improving the Speed of Transit one Bike-n-Ride Shelter at a Time


You may be wondering, “But wait, I am a non-cycling transit rider, how do Bike-n-Ride shelters affect me?” These secure, covered structures keep the wheels of transportation moving by eliminating (or significantly decreasing) the need to load bikes on buses and thus increase overall operations.

Cycling is one of the best ways to make a first-and-final mile connection – it’s environmentally friendly, cost-effective and provides remarkable health benefits, but what happens as more people opt for this connection?  Racks on buses will become overcrowded (meaning cyclists have to wait for the next bus) and the loading/unloading process will delay service for all passengers.

Bike-n-Ride shelters are key to maintaining a consistent schedule and offer a unique opportunity for cyclists. Just imagine being able to park one bike at the US 36 and Sheridan Station, bus to Boulder and pick up a second bike at the US 36 and Table Mesa station. With Bike-n-Ride shelters at each US 36 station, options such as these will soon become a reality.

With all of these pluses, it is no wonder that Bike-n-Ride shelters are the number one recommendation from the US 36 First and Final Mile Study (2013) – a study that assesses what enhancements could be made to improve US 36 transit connectivity. The study has guided our efforts for the past three years and currently has us working alongside RTD to secure funding for seven Bike-n-Ride shelters in Broomfield, Westminster and Boulder.

Bike-n-Ride shelters are key to streamlining and expediting service for the over 14,000 transit riders who travel the corridor each day. Without a consistent level of service that is frequent and reliable, it is likely those numbers will decrease. So, the next time you are on the bus, take a mental note of the time spent loading/unloading bikes and calculate how much faster the service would be with this one simple elimination, I think you will be surprised.

Bike to Work Day in the US 36 Corridor

There’s still time to volunteer, register and support this great community event

June 6, 2016

Louisville, Colo. – Last year’s Bike to Work Day boasted more than 32,800 cyclists in the Denver metro region. With an average commute of 9.2 miles, these cyclists rode an estimated 603,612 miles and prevented 274,613 pounds of CO2 from being emitted into the air!

This year’s Bike to Work Day will be held on Wednesday, June 22 and over 10,000 cyclists have registered so far. For those who have not yet registered, there is still plenty of time to register and find the route that works best for you. This year’s festivities will include breakfast stations (from 6:30 to 9 a.m.), water stations (from 3:30 to 6 p.m.) and parties throughout the afternoon. For a full list of breakfast stations, group rides and bike route maps visit biketoworkday.us.

Commuting Solutions will host two breakfast stations along the US 36 corridor (one at Paul’s Coffee & Tea in Louisville and another at Interlocken East Park in Broomfield). The latter was the second largest station in the Denver metro region in 2015, seeing over 300 cyclists pass through. Commuting Solutions represents more than 190,000 employees along the corridor and is coordinating Bike to Work Day for the US 36 corridor in partnership with the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG).

For those who want to help on Bike to Work Day but cannot commit to hosting a station, there are opportunities for sponsorship and volunteering. Businesses and organizations that are interested in hosting a Bike to Work Day breakfast station or sponsorship can contact Commuting Solutions at info@commutingsolutions.org. Individuals who are interested in volunteering can contact the Bike to Work Day station nearest to their home or office.

To register for Bike to Work Day and for more information visit biketoworkday.us.

About Commuting Solutions:
Commuting Solutions is dedicated to delivering innovative transportation options that connect commuters to their workplaces, businesses to their employees, and residents to their communities. Through advocacy for infrastructure and transportation improvements, partnerships and education, we create progressive, flexible transportation solutions. Be part of the progress along US 36, visit commutingsolutions.org.

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Colorado Plans to Become “the Best State for Biking”

October 28, 2015

Audrey DeBarros
Commuting Solutions Executive Director Audrey DeBarros

In September Gov. John Hickenlooper announced a plan to spend more than $100 million over the next four years to make Colorado “the best state for biking.” This is great news for the state and for our region and is the result of years of hard work by many advocacy groups. Additionally, the environmental perspective and commitment of our millennial generation cannot be underestimated as we see funding such as this come to fruition. Maybe the excitement of the new US 36 Bikeway also was a factor in this important decision. And with a fresh approach under new executive director Shailen Bhatt, CDOT is supporting more bike innovation in all its projects.

Hickenlooper says the four-year initiative, dubbed the Colorado Pedals Project, will fuel the state’s economic growth and tourism, benefit the environment and help cement Colorado’s status as one of the healthiest states in America.

The plan calls for $60 million to develop bike and pedestrian infrastructure, using CDOT and federal Transportation Alternatives Program and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program funds. An additional $30 million will come from Great Outdoors Colorado’s new push for trail connectivity with grants that develop bike and pedestrian infrastructure. About $10 million will go toward sustaining and growing the state’s Safe Routes to School program.

Warm Regards,

Audrey DeBarros