RTD launches bus-on-shoulder operations for Flatiron Flyer on U.S. 36

Beginning May 1, RTD buses will be able to use the shoulder to bypass traffic when speed in the general purpose lanes is less than 35 mph

Denver – The Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) Flatiron Flyer bus rapid transit (BRT) buses will be able to drive on the shoulder of U.S. 36 beginning Sunday, May 1 during certain traffic situations.

Buses will be able to drive on the shoulder under the following conditions:

  • The traffic speed in the general purpose lanes is less than 35 mph—any time of day.
  • The bus cannot exceed the speed of general purpose traffic by more than 15 mph, with the maximum speed being 35 mph

Only RTD buses will be allowed to travel on the shoulders, at the discretion of the bus operator. Shoulder use for emergency responders and broken-down vehicles will continue to be a priority.

As a part of the U.S. 36 Express Lanes project with the Colorado Department of Transportation, the shoulder of the highway was expanded to 12 feet wide and built to withstand the weight of a bus.

“The road improvements to the shoulder thanks to the US 36 Express Lanes project will provide an additional resource for our buses to keep moving efficiently,” said Dave Genova, RTD general manager and CEO. “Being able to utilize the shoulder during traffic congestion will allow the Flatiron Flyer to continue to provide reliable service at all times.”

Currently, bus-on-shoulder operations will only be allowed on U.S. 36. However, a recent law passed by the Colorado State Legislature could allow bus-on-shoulder options to be added to other highways, if work is done to expand the shoulders.

Flatiron Flyer service is comprised of six all-stop and express routes that operate along the U.S. 36 corridor. The BRT service runs every 3-15 minutes, depending on time of day and location. Flatiron Flyer service encompasses 18 miles of express and high-frequency bus service between downtown Denver and Boulder, with six stations along U.S. 36.

About RTD
RTD’s mission is to provide safe, clean, reliable, courteous, accessible and cost-effective bus and rail services in the eight-county district, and fulfills 100 million passenger trips annually. The public transit agency is creating a larger, better and more accessible system through innovation, public-private partnerships and transit-oriented communities.

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Commuting Solutions Goes to Washington, DC

April 20, 2016

USDOT MCC v2

This month Commuting Solutions proudly donned our advocacy hat and joined the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition (US 36 MCC) for an annual trip to Washington, DC (RTD, CDOT and HPTE also joined the coalition on their trip). Each year the coalition meets with a congressional delegation, the House and Senate transportation committees, and even federal transportation agencies! Each trip is focused on building relationships and setting the stage for future funding requests, and this year’s trip was no different.

During these meetings, the coalition thanked congressional members for their support of US 36 infrastructure improvements, found out more about new grant programs and discussed continued investments in the Northwest corridor. When thanking the delegation, we were able to share news of what these infrastructure improvements mean for the US 36 corridor – RTD reports that there is a 45% increase in US 36 ridership compared to August 2015, and CDOT reports that the US 36 Express Lanes have increased travel speeds by up to 29%.

The meetings are not just a time to provide updates, but to advocate for transportation and infrastructure improvements. These annual trips set the stage for acquiring transportation funding in upcoming years, and this trip helped identify 2016 and 2017 funding opportunities for both the US 36 corridor and arterial Bus Rapid Transit corridors. Specifically, we were able to identify both Federal Transit Administration Small Starts funding and a TIGER grant that the US 36 coalition will pursue in partnership with CDOT, RTD and the NATA.

And, while not directly related to the traffic congestion in our corridor, the coalition made a point of focusing on train horn noise and sharing feedback with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on train horn noise and quiet zone requirements (this is an issue specific to the Northwest region, where many residents and businesses are located near the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line).

The trip takes our coalition to the heart of transportation advocacy and legislation, and is a place where opportunities to improve the corridor’s transportation infrastructure are abundant. We left the trip with a number of action items that will help us improve the US 36 multi-modal transportation infrastructure and related technology.

Regards,

Audrey DeBarros

Volume of traffic in Boulder holds steady, report finds

City’s progress report on Transportation Master Plan outlines challenges, accomplishments

By Erica Meltzer
Staff Writer at Daily Camera

It doesn’t take any longer to get across Boulder today than it did 25 years ago.

(Eyebrows just shot up across town, but the city’s travel time studies don’t find the increases that many drivers perceive. Make of that what you will.)

That’s both an achievement of Boulder’s transportation policies, given that more people live and work here, and a sign of the work still to do.

Boulder’s Transportation Master Plan, last updated in 2014, calls for a 20 percent reduction in vehicle miles traveled by 2035.

And last year, the number of cars coming into the city each day edged up 2 percent, likely driven by rising employment numbers and the low price of gas, which tends to keep people off buses.

A two-year progress report on the Transportation Master Plan released Wednesday provides a snapshot of what Boulder has accomplished, how far it still has to go and the major initiatives the city plans to undertake in the next two years.

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Advocacy: A Lot of Progress is Being Made

February 18, 2016

Audrey DeBarros
Commuting Solutions Executive Director Audrey DeBarros

Getting to Work Happy: So much to be happy about in 2016 and our new campaign reflects all of that and more with its “Get to work happy” theme. The campaign continues to offer incentives for those who want to try transit, carpooling and vanpooling. Filling out a short application is all it takes to get commuters thinking about the new commute options available with the completion of the US 36 Express Lanes Project.

Legislative Bills of Interest:
House Bill (HB) 16-1008
Commuting Solutions took a position to support House Bill 16-1008, which will allow buses to use the shoulder of state highways. The bill passed the House of Representatives and has been referred to the Senate. Thanks go to Rep. Max Tyler, chairman of the House Transportation & Energy Committee, Rep. Faith Winter who brought forth this bill and Rep. Jon Becker who co-sponsored the bill. Thanks as well to Sen. Rollie Heath and Sen. John Cooke who will co-sponsor the bill in the Senate. The passage of this bill is a key step forward to ensuring the reliability and speed necessary for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service.

Colorado Senate Bill (SB)16-123
36 Commuting Solution is monitoring Colorado Senate Bill 16-123, which will go to the Senate Transportation Committee on Thurs., Feb. 18, 2016. The bill, if approved, would prohibit Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) or the High-Performance Transportation Enterprise from requiring a vehicle owner to use a switchable transponder or other device to travel in a high occupancy vehicle on either a high occupancy vehicle lane or a high occupancy toll lane on a toll-free basis.

US First and Final Mile Elements Moving Forward: While not easily “Googled,” addressing the “First and Final” mile of a commute is pivotal in creating a successful multi-modal transportation system. Commuting Solutions has been awarded two grants by the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG). The grants provide funding to support many of the recommendations sited in the US 36 First and Final Mile Study as being essential to maximize use of the multi-modal system. Funding will be used to develop way finding plans for each RTD transit station and to design and build Bike-n-Ride shelters at the Broomfield and Sheridan transit stations.