A Time for Thanks

A Time For Thanks

As we near the Thanksgiving holiday, it is traditional to look back at the year and think about what we’re thankful for. At Commuting Solutions, we have had a year full of partnerships, programs and people that we are so thankful to work with. 2018 involved much collaboration around our advocacy work.

Collaboration in Advocacy

We kicked off the year with a massive partnership to host our Transportation Matters Business Initiative with local chambers of commerce and economic development partners in the communities in the northwest metro region. It was an amazing opportunity to build relationships with business leaders and residents and to hear their input to the Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS).

Building on this momentum, Commuting Solutions continued to work with and collaborate with the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition (US 36 MCC) to advocate for the northwest metro region. When the Let’s Go, Colorado campaign and CDOT announced they were making a list of projects throughout Colorado that would receive funding if Proposition 110 passed in November, they fought for the northwest metro region. The Coalition worked tirelessly to ensure that our projects would be on the list because the northwest metro region hasn’t gotten our fair share of transportation investments.

As we move past the 2018 midterm elections and continue to look for ways to fund vital transportation infrastructure investments in our region, we continue to be grateful to have such a strong and dedicated partner in the US 36 MCC. While it will be a rough road ahead, we have no doubt that together we can accomplish our goals and bring innovative and sustainable transportation options to the northwest metro region.

Our Guiding Force

We are also grateful to our Board of Directors who bring together public and private sector individuals who are passionate about our mission. It is with their wisdom, dedication and guidance that Commuting Solutions’ continues to be an invaluable resource for the northwest metro region. We were reminded of their commitment at our annual strategic planning retreat in October. Together, they planned for the next three years and set the stage for our capacity building priorities.

Last, but certainly not least, we are grateful and thankful every day for you, our members, the commuters and residents of the northwest metro region. Without you, we would have no inspiration or motivation for the work we do to improve traffic congestion, air quality and the lives of everyone who lives here. So thank you for you continued support and we promise to continue advocating for our region and to bring innovative transportation solutions to all who live here.

 

Why We’re Voting For Proposition 110 (And You Should Too!)

 

Why #voteYESon110 This November

It’s midterm election season and we are all being bombarded with campaign messages telling us to vote yes or no on different propositions or who to support for governor. It can be overwhelming and sometimes those messages don’t always tell us what we need to know to make the most informed decision possible when we vote.

This year, you’ll be faced with two diametrically opposed propositions for how transportation in Colorado should be funded in the coming years: Proposition 109, or Fix Our Damn Roads, and Proposition 110, better known as Let’s Go, Colorado.

The Propositions Summed Up

Proposition 109 asks voters to approve bonding $3.5 billion to fund specified road and bridge expansion, construction and maintenance and repair projects throughout the state. This money would be repaid by taking money out of the state budget.

In contrast, Proposition 110 asks voters to approve a 0.62% sales tax increase that would sunset in 20 years to start working on the $9 billion backlog of transportation projects throughout the state of Colorado. The revenue from the sales tax would be divided between state and local governments. 45% would go to the Colorado Department of Transportation and the State Highway Fund, 20% would be allocated to county governments, 20% to local governments, and 15% would go towards a state multimodal fund.

Why 110?

When looking at each proposition, it does initially appear as if both could remedy the transportation problems we have in the state of Colorado. However, Proposition 110 provides a much more holistic approach to addressing the funding issues we’re currently facing.

Proposition 110 not only seeks to fix the current problems we’re facing with our transportation infrastructure but seeks to provide our state with funding to address our growing population and our needs for the next 20 years. Proposition 109 only provides enough funding to repair our small percentage of our current roads and build new lanes. That is not going to be enough to keep up with our growing population and increased road use.

The allocation of funding that Proposition 110 suggests is an intentional way of addressing that different cities and counties throughout the state have vastly different transportation needs and priorities. In the northwest metro region, we are looking to improve our transit and other multimodal options and increase the capacity of our roads to address our drastically growing population. In other regions of the state, they need to make essential repairs to their existing roadways.

Sean Duffy, a spokesperson for the Let’s Go, Colorado campaign, emphasized this point, telling the Westword publication that, “That’s why we’re trying to reach folks all over the state, whose needs have been neglected for too long and have to be addressed. This has social and economic and quality-of-life impact, and we’ve got to get serious about it.”

CDOT has a statewide approved project lists that would receive funding if the ballot measure is passed. For the northwest metro region, the list includes State Highway 119, State Highway 7, State Highway 287 and the US 36 & Sheridan Underpass. These are just the projects on the statewide project list; local and county governments will have funds to allocate to their own projects. The US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition proposed projects to the statewide list that had been approved in 2014 through the Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS).

Proposition 110 also takes into consideration that Colorado residents aren’t the only drivers using our roadways. A sales tax would draw in revenue for transportation funding from the over 30 million visitors who come to our state every year.

For residents of the northwest metro region, being asked to approve another transportation tax following the disappointment over the lack of progress of Northwest Rail after passing the 2004 FasTracks initiative, can be a difficult pill to swallow. However, there is an important distinction between Proposition 110 and FasTracks. The revenue from the FasTracks tax was overseen by the Regional Transportation District (RTD), whereas the revenue from Proposition 110 will be overseen and distributed by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

What Next?

Until Election Day on November 6, Commuting Solutions will be busy advocating for Proposition 110 and all the benefits it will bring to our region. You can get involved in a few ways:

  • Engage with us on social media. We’re on Facebook as Commuting Solutions and on Twitter as commutingsltns. Like, share and comment on our posts related to the campaign.
  • Grab a yard sign and put it out for all your neighbors to see. Commuting Solutions has a supply of Let’s Go, Colorado yard signs and we’d love to give you one. Email us at info@commutingsolutions.org to request one.
  • Ask Commuting Solutions to speak at your next event. We would love to come speak to your business or organization about Proposition 110 in depth. Email us at info@commutingsolutions.org to request a speaker!

 

Looking Back: The Start of the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition

Will Toor is director of the transportation program at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), a Colorado based nonprofit that advocates for energy efficiency in six southwestern states. In this role he works to advance both smart growth transportation strategies and electric vehicles. Prior to working at SWEEP, Will spent 15 years in local government, as mayor of Boulder, Colorado , as Boulder County Commissioner, and as chair of the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG).  He serves on the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission and the Mobility Choice Blueprint board of directors.

Roots in Conflict

I still remember attending my first meeting of the US 36 Major Investment Study (MIS) back in 1998, with my infant son slung across my chest in a Baby Bjorn, soon after I was first elected to Boulder’s city council. Life with an infant was exciting but chaotic – which kind of described the 36 MIS debates. There were so many different perspectives – “We need rail! No, we need to expand US 36 to ten lanes! No, we need HOV lanes and better bus service!”  – coming from the different communities, that we couldn’t reach agreement. And without a consensus on the corridor, it was pretty clear that the outcome would be nothing happening – US 36 would just sit there, getting worse and worse.

Against this backdrop, three mayors began talking about whether we could change the outcome –Tom Davidson from Louisville, Bill Berens from Broomfield and me. At the time, Boulder and Broomfield were locked in conflict over Broomfield’s plans to build the Northwest parkway, and to develop what Boulder viewed as sprawl along 36, and we were pretty much disagreeing about everything. But a series of conversations  – sometimes over coffee, sometimes beer – convinced us that we could find common ground on plans for 36 – and that if we could, that probably the whole corridor could. Out of these conversations the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition was born.

The Birth of the Coalition

I still remember the day Bill Berens and I testified together in support of the proposed US 36 MIS alternative – the first time people had seen us in public arm in arm instead of arguing. It made a big impression, and helped get RTD and CDOT on board.

And over the years, I think the initial theory was born out in practice. We had lots of vigorous arguments about what transportation investments we should support, and how best to move these forward – but were always able to come to agreement, and to present a unified front to key decision-makers from regional, state and federal agencies. And that unity made all the difference.

Better Together

The coalition successfully resisted pressure from the Owens administration to add more highway lanes and hundreds of millions of dollars in cost. The years of effort promoting a true multimodal project with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), HOT lanes and a bikeway on the highway corridor paid off when the federal government provided a $10 million TIGER grant and a TIFIA challenge grant, championed by Congressman Polis. The unity paid off when, amazingly, the Coalition was able to leverage that $10 million grant and TIFIA challenge into a $500 million project that combined funding from RTD, CDOT, DRCOG, federal funds and the private sector. It took a while to go from concept to an actual BRT service on 36 (my infant son graduated from high school about the time that 36 was completed), but much of the original vision was realized.

The challenges clearly aren’t over – for example, we need to complete the missing elements of BRT on 36 and complete the arterial BRT corridors that connect to the corridor – but looking back over the last twenty years I’m amazed how far we have come by working together.

Commuting Solutions’ Summer Community Outreach Recap

Summer in Colorado means weekend farmers markets, spending time in nature and enjoying the amazing summer weather. Here at Commuting Solutions, we’ve been spending our summer vacation with the people that matter most. From making new friends at community events to exploring our region on all modes, summer 2018 is one for the books!

With fall only a month away, we wanted to take a moment, not only to look back at where all we’ve been this summer, but what we have coming up this fall and the rest of the year.

Where We’ve Been in the Community

Bike to Work Day sidewalk art (upper left), Boulder Farmers’ Market (upper right), RTD Rider Appreciation at Broomfield Station (bottom left), Bike to Work Day Shimano Giveaway (bottom right)

From the Longmont Farmers’ Market to Taste It Broomfield, we’ve been soaking up the sun and sharing commute options in communities throughout the northwest metro region this summer. Beginning in July, we teamed up with the Regional Transportation District (RTD) to thank riders for taking transit during our Rider Appreciation events at Broomfield and Table Mesa stations. Commuting Solutions and RTD Representatives enjoyed connecting with riders and hearing their feedback!

We’ve also been in Lafayette, teaming up with the Lafayette Energy Sustainability Advisory Committee and Smart Commute Metro North to help teach last summer’s RTD MyRide card recipients the ins and outs of riding RTD thanks to a grant from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program and the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC).

One of our favorite memories of our summer is Bike to Work Day 2018! Over 36,000 riders in the Denver Metro Region left their cars at home and commuted by bike on June 27. Commuting Solutions hosted three breakfast stations and said good morning to nearly 1,000 riders!

Shimano Cycling Gear in the Community

One of the most exciting parts of our summer was finding new and fun ways to distribute the nearly $100,000 worth of Shimano product that was donated to us to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. Between Bike to Work Day, Bike Wednesdays and other community events, we’ve been able to distribute over $70,000 of product so far. Keep an eye on our social media for our next giveaway!

What’s Coming Up

This year shows no sign of slowing and Commuting Solutions is excited to announce that for the next three months we’ll be working with the Let’s Go, Colorado campaign to help educate Colorado voters on the Let’s Go, Colorado ballot initiative that proposes a 0.62% tax increase to help fund transportation programs across the state.

If you haven’t caught us at a community event this summer, don’t worry! There are plenty more opportunities to come and talk with us about your commute options and the latest in transportation in our region. Look for us at Superior Chili Fest, Broomfield Days, Westminster Harvest Festival and more in the coming months!

We also have more events coming up with RTD! We’ll be in Lafayette for another How-to Ride event as well as Longmont and Louisville in the coming months. Be sure to come say hi and learn about our great RTD bus service.

Commuting Solutions has also been hard at work, along with cities along the US 36 corridor, to design, fabricate and install branded wayfinding signs to help cyclists, pedestrians and transit users better navigate our region. These signs will be installed in next month.

Stay tuned for an exciting pilot program launch coming this fall exclusively to the US 36 Express Lanes!

 

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

 

 

Transportation Funding Gaining Momentum in Colorado

After the historic passage of Senate Bill 001 during the legislative session this spring, stakeholders from all sectors are hoping voters will keep the transportation momentum moving forward this November.

Tony Milo, Executive Director, Colorado Contractors Association and Jake Martin, Campaign Director, Let’s Go, Colorado shared Coloradoans for Colorado’s vision for sustainable transportation funding during Commuting Solutions’ quarterly Membership Meeting this week.

“Today, we are here to get Colorado moving again and propose a ballot measure that will put real, ongoing funding towards our statewide transportation system,” explained Milo.

What exactly is Let’s Go, Colorado proposing and how could it impact the northwest metro region? We have the inside scoop on their proposed ballot measure.

What is Let’s Go, Colorado?

Let’s Go, Colorado is a ballot initiative to address the funding needs for transportation across the state of Colorado. The ballot initiative is being put forth by a coalition of nearly 30 organizations statewide commonly known as Coloradoans for Colorado.

Let’s Go, Colorado is proposing a 0.62 percent sales tax that would provide money to the State Highway Fund, Local Transportation Priorities Fund (Cities & Counties) and a Multimodal Transportation Fund.

Tell me more about the potential ballot measure…

After an in-depth look at every mechanism available to fund transportation, the coalition determined that a sales tax was the most equitable, single funding source.  The sales tax option will raise enough to address our transportation needs while ensuring that everyone (including tourists) pay the same rates. In the first year, this solution is estimated to raise $767 million in revenue.

Worried about how this sales tax could impact your pocket book? The sales tax would be about six cents on a ten-dollar purchase.

How did we get here?

Colorado has a $9 billion backlog of transportation related projects that desperately need funding but there isn’t any available money in the state budget. This deficit didn’t appear overnight, so how did Colorado get here?

In 1992, Colorado passed a gas tax to help fund transportation projects in the state. 22 cents from every gallon of gas purchased goes towards transportation funding. Despite inflation, a higher cost of gas and growing transportation needs, this tax has not changed in almost 30 years.

Costs have also increased dramatically since 1992. The cost of resurfacing a road has increased by over 120%. The Colorado Department of Transportation can barely keep up with the costs of maintenance, let alone funding new projects.

What next?

The Let’s Go, Colorado ballot initiative has until August 6 to collect 98,492 signatures to get the initiative onto the November ballot.

Currently, Commuting Solutions has taken a position of conditional support of the Let’s Go, Colorado initiative, contingent upon the inclusion and level of funding of projects from our region in the ballot project list. The US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition and Commuting Solutions has written a letter to the Colorado Department of Transportation outlining the projects they would need funded in order to support the ballot initiative.

If you would like learn more the Let’s Go, Colorado (Proposition 110) ballot initiative, click here.

To learn more about the state of transportation in Colorado, go to commutingsolutions.org.

 

Transportation Gains Momentum

What’s Been Going on with Commuting Solutions

Things are always moving and changing at Commuting Solutions and the last month has been no different. Between hosting our Sustainable Transportation Summit, closely watching the progress of SB-001 up until the end of the Legislative Session and progress on the State Highway 7 study that began earlier this year, it has been a full and busy month.

State Highway 7 Study & State Highway 119 Study Build Momentum

Map of State Highway 7 (Courtesy of RTD)

State Highway 7, connecting Boulder to Brighton via Arapahoe Road, Baseline Road and East 160th Avenue, will be undergoing a Station Area Master Plan (STAMP) study over the next two years following the completion of the 2017 Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study. $200K has been awarded to fund the study, which officially began in spring of 2018.

The PEL study determined that there was “both a desire and a need for transit service along the SH 7 corridor in the future” and recommends transit priority and queue jumps at select signalized intersections, along with highway cross sections that included full depth, full width shoulders for bus-on-shoulder operation where feasible.

The results of the PEL grant are congruent with the findings of the City of Boulder’s 2018 East Arapahoe Transportation Plan which also recommends redesigning the streets to accommodate Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), High Occupancy Vehicles (HOVs) and new shared technologies.

To advocate and coordinate for the construction of this vital multimodal corridor including BRT and a regional bikeway, local governments and organizations have formed the SH 7 Coalition and Commuting Solutions is proud to be a member of this coalition.

Given the relative affordability of housing and the amount of undeveloped land along this corridor, there is great potential for future growth which will increase the travel demands of SH 7. It is projected that by 2040, without BRT, a Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) trip from Brighton to Boulder on SH 7 will take upwards of 80-90 minutes. With a dedicated BRT lane, that trip would only take 60 minutes.

RTD is hosting public meetings to discuss the progress of the State Highway 119 Study and receive public input. If you were unable to attend the meeting in Longmont yesterday, there will be a second meeting tonight [May 24] in Boulder at the University of Colorado at from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

SB-001 Marks a Big Step for Multimodal Transportation in Colorado

On May 8, at the end of the legislative session, SB-001 was passed by both chambers and is the first major piece of transportation funding legislation since 2009. SB-001 provides for an allocation of funds from the state budget to transportation in 2018 and 2019: $495 million in 2018 and $150 million in 2019. The bill also created a ballot measure to issue up to $2.4 billion in bonds to be voted on by the public in 2019.

This bill also addresses Colorado’s need to invest in a multi-modal future with the creation of a new multi-modal transportation fund that will receive 15% of the new revenue and bond proceeds, which will come out to $96.75 million over the next two years.

SB-001 is a monumental step towards closing the $9 billion gap in transportation funding that exists throughout Colorado and helps to establish Colorado’s interest in creating a multi-modal future for the whole state.

On May 19, the Statewide Transportation Coalition voted to proceed with a .62% sales tax increase initiative for the November ballot to help create funding for statewide transportation projects.

Thank You for a Successful Sustainable Transportation Summit

Commuting Solutions’ Sustainable Transportation Summit took place on May 9 at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center and the event was a smashing success. Over 130 attendees gathered to hear the latest insights on multi-modal transportation trends and innovations from local and regional thought leaders.

We want to thank all our amazing panelists and speakers as well as everybody that attended the event. Our event would not have happened without your support and expertise. If you were able to attend the event, we would appreciate hearing your feedback on the event by taking a quick survey.

 

 

Wrapping It Up

Stay tuned with Commuting Solutions this summer we follow the progress of the state wide ballot initiative and celebrate Bike to Work Day on June 27.

Count Down to the End of the 2018 Legislative Session: Will Multi-Modal Transportation Be Prioritized?

With the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) navigating a $9 billion backlog of projects across the state and the 2018 state legislative session coming to a close on May 9th, the transportation conversation is at a critical stage. Currently, we are eagerly awaiting the results of two bills that could benefit transportation funding.

HB18-1340  Capital Construction Bill

HB18-1340 accompanies the Long Bill and is focused on capital construction project funding. The bill includes one section that would approve a one-time $495 million general fund transfer if SB-001 fails to become law.  We are appreciative of the efforts of House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Rep. Faith Winter to distribute the funding between CDOT, counties and cities, and 15% designated for multi-modal needs.

Bill Status
The bill is before the Joint Budget Committee who is acting as the conference committee on SB18-1340, as the House rejected the Senate amendments.

SB18-001 Fix Colorado Roads Act

SB-001 passed unanimously out of the Senate.  The bill delayed a referred measure for voters to consider transportation bonds using existing state revenue until 2019.  The bill also calls for transferring $500 million from the general fund to the State Highway Fund, and $250 million annually for the next 19 years from the General Fund to the State Highway Fund to pay back the bond initiative.

SB-001 delays a referred transportation bonding measure for voters to consider until 2019, which allows  for a citizen-initiated ballot question in 2018. Currently there are three possible outcomes if this bill passes:

  • If a citizen initiative ballot question in 2018 is successful, then the 2019 referred measure is repealed.
  • If a citizen initiative in 2018 is unsuccessful, then the 2019 referred measure will move forward, asking voters to issue $3.5 million in bonds with a maximum repayment of no more than $5 billion.
  • If both an initiative and referendum fail, then the $250 million will continue to be transferred from the General Fund to the State Highway Fund on an annual basis.

Bill Status
The House has yet to take up SB18-001, so in the meantime, we are advocating with our northwest metro region legislators, asking them to support four principles to advance multi-modal transportation, local share, preserve future managed lane projects and identify new funding to pay back any bonding efforts, which is consistent with the policy agenda of the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition and Commuting Solutions.

Get Involved

To achieve our multi-modal future, it takes leaders from every industry and community to advocate for the needs of the northwest metro region. Engage in the transportation conversation by:

  • Contacting your state legislators to weigh in on the transportation conversation
  • Meet state representatives and transportation partners by attending our Membership Meeting on June 19.

We would like to thank our state legislators for their service during the 2018 state legislative session and encourage community members throughout the northwest metro region to plug into the conversation.

RTD Updates & Regional Impacts

The start of 2018 has been busy for the Regional Transportation District (RTD). Between union contract negotiations and working on connecting the region, there’s a lot to be excited about with RTD.

RTD & Transit Union Reach an Agreement

On March 10, the RTD and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001 signed a three-year contract providing bus drivers and train engineers pay raises, better benefits and better working conditions designed to recruit and maintain employees.

The contract includes the largest pay increase RTD operators have ever received over the 48-year history of the company. Drivers and train engineers will receive a pay raise of 8% in 2018, increasing the starting hourly wage from $17.59 to $19.40. In addition to pay raises, RTD will also contribute an additional $6.2 million more a year to retirement funds and $1,000 towards individual employee’s health benefits over the course of the contract.

Currently, RTD is understaffed by roughly 140 operators, resulting in bus route inefficiencies throughout the region. By offering competitive benefits and higher wages, RTD is taking an important step to recruit and retain more bus drivers and train engineers.

RTD Hosts Telephone Town Halls

Throughout the end of March and beginning of April, RTD staff and District Directors hosted telephone town halls in each district served by RTD to provide transit updates and answer questions from their constituents.

Recently a staff member from Commuting Solutions participated in the District I Telephone Town Hall, led by RTD District I Director Judy Lubow. The town hall focused on addressing the issues impacting the Lafayette, Longmont and Broomfield communities. The primary issue addressed in the town hall was the unfulfilled promises of the Northwest Rail Line, which now has a projected construction date of 2042. Director Lubow addressed the lack of funding and current efforts to get the line operational sooner. This includes only operating during peak service hours, finding alternative sources of funding or reducing costs. Town Halls for District O, District J and District L also took place with Director Chuck Sisk, Director Larry Hoy and Director Lorraine Anderson for our region. Staff members from Commuting Solutions’ participated in the town halls for District O and District J.

SH 119 Graphic provided courtesy of RTD

In the meantime, RTD will continue to move forward with the State Highway 119 study and eventual implementation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in this corridor, pending funding availability. BRT differs from a normal RTD service in that there are less stops, enhanced buses to provide ease of entry, dedicated bus lanes, stations, branding, technology improvements and high frequency service.  It is important to note that this project is not a replacement for Northwest Rail but a solution to help alleviate congestion issues until the rail can be completed.

RTD G-Line Rail and A-Line Gets the Green Light

RTD recently received the go-ahead from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to begin the testing and certification of the G-Line, connecting Union Station in Denver to Arvada and Wheat Ridge. Train traffic between these stations will gradually increase during the testing phase.

The CPUC also approved removing the gate attendants from crossings along the G-Line as well as the University of Colorado A-Line since the wireless crossing activation buffer times have been accepted which indicates that the A and G Line crossings are operating correctly.

RTD and local governments are working together to establish quiet zones in the areas around these lines.

Wrapping It Up

Commuting Solutions is excited about these updates and the progress RTD will implement to alleviate congestion in the Northwest Metro Region and to provide mobility choices. We will continue to stay engaged with RTD and will provide more updates as the conversations continue to evolve and mature

 

Top image courtesy of RTD

Building Vibrant Transportation Networks

Ken Hotard is a forty-five-year resident of Boulder, Colorado. He has served as the Government Affairs Director and Senior Vice President for Public Affairs of the Boulder Area Realtor® Association since 1984. Regional Transportation District (RTD) Board of Directors from 1991 – 1994. RTD Board Chairman 1993 and 1994. Co-founder and board member of Better Boulder and Boulder Tomorrow. Past Chairman and current Treasurer of Commuting Solutions. Member of the Boulder Chamber’s Community Affairs Council for 18 years, now a fifth term Co-Chair.

 

Transportation is crucial to the prosperity of businesses, real estate and our region. For communities to be a hub of vibrant economic activity they must be connected by complex networks of communication and transportation, infrastructure and services. When these networks operate effectively communities can evolve and prosper. When they do not, economic health and community well-being can be difficult and uncertain.

Nearly all community activities involve some form of travel—by car, foot, bicycle, bus, or train. Time spent in travel is often time away from meaningful work or time with friends and family. So, efficient transportation is fundamental to the quality of life. A higher quality of life will attract and retain workforce talent and home buyers.

Whether you are a business leader or real estate professional, we all have a dog in this fight. Well-designed transportation infrastructure and services improve air quality, bring affordable housing closer to job opportunities, and expand access to key employment centers. Transportation infrastructure and services are a constructive force in building quality communities. It all comes down to choices.

As a Commuting Solutions board member and local business leader, I am encouraging everyone to learn more about Transportation Matters, a region-wide initiative designed to spark critical conversations surrounding the transportation funding gap and provide feedback on the mobility needs of businesses in the northwest metro region.

Because transportation is crucial to businesses and real estate, when key decisions are being made in our communities it is vital that business leaders and real estate professionals are participants. I believe that when it comes to our communities’ quality of life, these issues are too important to sit on the sidelines.  Transportation Matters is your invitation to get in the conversation, take action and shape the future of the communities where you work, live, play and build your dreams.