RTD Discusses Northwest Rail during Study Session

RTD Rendering Northwest Rail Train CarOn Feb. 9, RTD Board of Directors held a Study Session where they discussed Northwest Rail.

Northwest Rail’s adopted plan seeks to bring 41 miles of new light rail and commuter rail to the northwest region. It includes 18 miles of Bus Rapid Transit, more than 21,000 parking spaces, 31 new Park-n-Rides and much more.

The Northwest Rail would extend the B Line current terminus through Boulder to Longmont, totaling 35.3 miles. It would provide 55 trains per day, with 30-minute peak frequencies and 60-minute off-peak frequencies.

According to an RTD presentation, peak service would include three one-way trains from Longmont to Denver in the morning,

During the Feb. 9 Study Session, RTD CEO and General Manager Debra Johnson requested for a plan to be brought forth to the RTD Board of Directors in 60 days.

RTD’s presentation can be found online.

A Message from the Commuting Solutions Executive Director – February 2021

Audrey DeBarros HeadshotAs we approach spring, Commuting Solutions is gearing up to begin the public input portion for the SH 119 First and Final Mile Study.

Commuting Solutions has been working on the First and Final Mile Study for more than a year now, and we’re so excited to bring the process back to the public. We are excited to introduce some recommendations for the corridor located between Boulder and Longmont, which identifies safe and comfortable multimodal connections to existing and future public transportation and the SH 119 Bikeway as well as create easy access to public transportation.

A survey will be created next month and housed on the Commuting Solutions’ website, to allow the public to read the draft plan and make comments. We look forward to hearing and seeing what everyone thinks of the plan!

For more information about the SH 119 First and Final Mile Study, and the corridor project, visit commutingsolutions.org/regional-planning/sh-119-first-and-final-mile-study/.

Cheers,

Audrey DeBarros

Living Laboratory: What Can We Learn from COVID-19 to Improve Commuting and Transportation?

The COVID-19 pandemic threw us all into a living laboratory that is greatly affecting our lives and our physical world. As movement continues to be restricted, the environmental impacts of not as many workers commuting to their office are hard to ignore.

We’re keeping an eye on some of the positive implications, including improved air quality, reduced traffic congestion, and an increase in telework, walking and bicycling, and asking ourselves two key questions:

  1. What should we be paying attention to in the short-term to support long-term decisions?
  2. How will the COVID-19 impact the long-term transportation future?

Short-Term Transportation Benefits of COVID-19

Since we were thrown into teleworking as a means to continue many business operations while social distancing, we experienced the rush to equip ourselves with the technology needed to work effectively from home.  We also had to quickly educate ourselves to the tech resources that exist so that we could continue to meet with our teams and external customers, members, etc.  Starting the week of March 11 was a very disruptive time for many of us, and we had to adapt quickly.  The benefits to travel demand and our air quality are staggering. We’ve seen:

It’s been exciting to see how cities like Denver are piloting the use of closed streets to provide more space for walking and bicycling.  Denver is now third in the country for miles of park roads and city streets (16.1 miles) closed to cars and open for bicyclists and pedestrians to spread out as they travel or to get outside for exercise and fresh air. Not only is Denver third in the U.S., but the city is leading the state of Colorado. We hope to see other Colorado communities follow suit soon!

This virus has been very disruptive to the transportation sector in far reaching and global ways; many of which we haven’t even considered yet, nor do we know if there will be lasting effect, specifically to our public transit system and tolled infrastructure such as the US 36 Express Lanes.

We learned in our recent webinar that people are becoming more open to exploring commute options to driving solo.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Commuting?

This time also offers us a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-imagine the transportation system and move it towards a more resilient, equitable and seamless experience.  Much of our road infrastructure is designed for the two peaks-one in the morning and one in the evening albeit at a great cost. Parking also takes up most of land of most suburban office developments. By not having to travel reduces peak demand and supply of expensive new roadway and transit capacity freeing up space for everyone else that needs steady all-hours access. It also reduces the need for so much parking. This is like flattening the curve for transportation supply and demand capacity.

Now a few weeks in, it seems that the office is not as critical as we thought for managing staff and existing client work. Managers and teams are starting to see how these measures can be better for everyone, including the company. For families with kids at home who are conducting online school or whose childcare has closed, this poses another set of challenges to juggling teleworking and family needs.

Our economy is, and will take a huge hit and it will be tempting to go back to the status quo transportation system. However, we can and should use this time to think about how we got here, what no longer works, and ask how might we re-organize our transportation system so that it is more resilient, seamless and works for everyone, including our planet.

Out and About: Summer 2019

With this beautiful, warm Colorado summer, the Commuting Solutions team is always eager to get out from behind our desks and spend time at events around the region. From farmers markets to office trail clean-ups to RTD Rider Appreciation – our summer is filled with opportunities to connect with communities throughout the northwest metro region.

With fall right around the corner, we wanted to say farewell to summer by sharing some of our favorite memories from the past few months and give a sneak peek at what is on the horizon for Commuting Solutions!

RTD Rider Appreciation Events

From early mornings to evenings after work, we celebrated all our transit riders that have chosen a stress-free commute through our RTD Rider Appreciation events!

RTD Rider Appreciation events not only help us show our transit riders how much we care, but also provide an opportunity for our bus riders to meet their local RTD representatives and share feedback on their transit trips. So far, we have hosted one RTD Rider Appreciation events, passed out over 350 snacks, connected with over 400 commuters and have had countless positive conversations.

We aren’t done with RTD Rider Appreciation events! Don’t miss one of our two remaining events at an RTD station near you! We’ll be at Westminster Station on Tuesday, August 27 from 7:00-8:30 and US 36 & Broomfield Station on Tuesday, September 10 from 4-5:30 p.m.

Community Events

Summer is always our outreach season and 2019 has been no different! We’ve been everywhere across the northwest metro region from the Erie Farmers Market to Rhythm on the River in Longmont and National Night Out in Broomfield. And we still have more places to go!

 

 

 

Coming up, you can find the Commuting Solutions team at Broomfield Days, Superior Chili Fest, Longmont’s Unity in the Community and more. We always love spending time out in the community, providing maps, resources and guidance on how to commute around the region.

Sponsorship

Commuting Solutions is excited to share that we currently have sponsorship opportunities available for 2020! Why should your organization consider a Commuting Solutions Sponsorship?

  • You’ll be recognized as a leader in the transportation conversation and a champion for providing commuter options to the northwest metro region
  • Our sponsors receive premium brand exposure at all of our 2020 Signature events – allowing them to reach a larger audience
  • Gain exclusive access to industry experts, elected officials and local thought leaders

To learn more about our Sponsorship opportunities click here..

Quarterly Membership Meeting

Join us on September 17 from 7:15 – 9:00 AM at the 1st BANK Center for our upcoming Membership Meeting. Transportation experts and business leaders will share an inside look at what the future holds for transportation in the northwest metro region.

Our quarterly Membership Meetings provide a unique opportunity for stakeholders from across the northwest metro region to connect and learn more about initiatives that will continue to increase the economic vitality and commute options of our region.

Register today!

Thank you to our community members, partners, and commuters that made this summer one for the books! Keep an eye out for us this fall at community events and stay tuned for information on about exciting new programs that are underway.

Be Our TDM Specialist!

Part-Time TDM Specialist

August 12, 2019

Commuting Solutions is seeking a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Specialist to join its collaborative, dynamic and creative team! This exciting position will be responsible for implementing specific TDM projects in the northwest metro region. This includes researching and developing TDM strategies and first and final mile solutions, helping plan and coordinate TDM-related studies, and overseeing data collection and analysis for programming. This position reports directly to the Executive Director and is part-time, 15-20 hours/week.

SH 119 First and Final Mile Study

  • Engage corridor businesses in study recommendations.
  • Oversee the study RFP process to select a consultant team who will implement the planning effort.
  • Coordinate with local government staff, DRCOG, RTD, and CDOT to facilitate the study and ensure community needs are achieved.
  • Conduct monthly contract oversight and reporting with agency partners.

US 36 Casual Pilot Program

  • Oversee program evaluation. Coordinate with technology partners on programming.
  • Compile analysis and complete final contract report on pilot program findings to be shared with the TDM community and other stakeholders.

Regional Bike Share Program

  • Coordinate the RFP process for a regional bike share system.
  • Review responses and relay information to communities.
  • Assist ED in creating bike share identity and outreach tactics.

Bike Northwest Online Map

  • Work with communities to ensure that GIS updates are made quarterly for the regional map.
  • Host meetings to discuss map development and yearly changes to format and distribution.

Northwest Region Mobility Report

  • Collect data from key partners.
  • Assist consultant in pulling together necessary materials.
  • Review report draft and assist with edits.

Bike-n-Ride Shelter Program Management

  • Convene stakeholders to implement the program implementation in Broomfield and Westminster to launch two secure bike parking shelters.
  • Establish the front-end program administration to distribute RFID key cards to the public.
  • Measure program effectiveness and conduct data collection to measure shelter utilization.

Administration

  • Complete grant monthly and annual reports.
  • Assists Executive Director, as needed.

Requirements

  • Bachelors or Masters in Urban Planning or related field (current students are also welcome to apply).
  • Two years of project management experience.
  • Experience in data collection, analysis, and best practices.
  • Familiarity with Transportation Demand Management.Familiarity with project management practices a plus.
  • Motivated, self-starter with strong interpersonal skills, good judgment and the ability to communicate professionally with diverse audiences.
  • Position responsibilities could change based upon organizational needs.

Please submit cover letter, resume, salary requirements and salary history by Friday, August 30 to Audrey DeBarros, Executive Director, audrey@commutingsolutions.org.

Seeking a Marketing Intern

Marketing Communications Intern

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.

Position Description:

Commuting Solutions is seeking an undergraduate student, graduate student, or entry-level professional preparing for a career in marketing, community outreach or transportation management to join our team as a fall intern. The ideal candidate will be asked to work 10-12 hours per week, with the exact schedule to be mutually decided upon.

The primary goal of the Commuting Solutions internship is to provide the individual with experience in day-to-day marketing and outreach activities and to assist with specific projects aimed to increase awareness of Commuting Solutions.

This is an outstanding entry level opportunity for candidates looking to enter the marketing, TDM or transportation sector. Compensation is $10 per hour, in addition to class credit.

 Areas of Responsibility

Social Media

  • Schedule approved social media content
  • Assist Marketing Coordinator with ad hoc social media posts
  • Assist with developing social media graphics
  • Assist with engaging with partners on social media channels

Content Creation

  • Assist with drafting content for monthly newsletters
  • Assist with developing blog content
  • Assist with developing additional marketing materials, as needed

Outreach

  • Represent Commuting Solutions at public events in the community
  • Organize exhibitor materials and supplies.
  • Assist outreach staff with distributing program materials to the region

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Excellent organizational, verbal and writing skills
  • Knowledge of AP Style preferred
  • Advanced writing skills
  • Reliable, dependable, flexible and responsive
  • Strong computer skills required
  • Proficiency using MS Office Suite
  • Must possess excellent customer service skills
  • Ability and desire to work independently and as a part of a team
  • Ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks
  • Ability to work outside normal business hours, as needed
  • Strong interpersonal skills, good judgment and ability to communicate professionally with diverse audiences

Please submit cover letter, resume, and a writing sample by August 26 to Audrey DeBarros, Executive Director at audrey@commutingsolutions.org.

Breaking Down the 2019 Legislative Session

The 2019 Legislative Session wrapped up on May 3 and while transportation was not a primary focus in the session, there were still several pieces of legislation that will have a positive impact on transportation.

Here is a breakdown.

TABOR Reform – HB19–1257 and HB19-1258

What is it?

This session there were two bills that would amend Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) and what is done with the extra revenue from taxes.

TABOR caps the amount of money the state can spend each year to the current budget plus growth and inflation. Extra revenue is returned to the taxpayers.

The first bill will ask voters to allow to the state to keep the money and the second bill requests that the funds be split equally between transportation, K-12 education and higher education.

The third allocated to the Highway Users Tax Fund would be divided with 60% going to the State Highway Fund, 22% to the counties and 19% to municipalities.

How does it impact you?

If these bills are approved by voters this coming November, it would mean you’re less likely to get a state refund from your taxes. However, it would provide some short term funding for much needed transportation infrastructure projects.

What’s next?

Both of these bills will be put on the November ballot for voter approval. If approved, the bill will take effect no later than 30 days after the vote.

Climate Change – HB19-1261

What is it?

This bill, introduced by House Speaker and Boulder native, KC Becker, set specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state: reduce output 30% by 2030 and 90% by 2050.

How does it impact you?

In order to meet these goals, the state is going to become serious about reducing vehicle miles travelled by single occupancy vehicles, electric zero-emission vehicles and more, given that transportation is Colorado’s second-largest source of carbon emissions.

Impacts of Transportation Changes – SB19-239

What is it?

SB19-239 will require CDOT to convene a stakeholder group to examine the economic, environmental and transportation system impact of new and emerging technologies.

The group will be responsible for:

  • Quantifying the amount of carbon emissions produced by ridesharing vehicles
  • Quantifying the amount of carbon emissions that can be reduced by zero-emission vehicles
  • The incentivizing of multiple occupant trips
  • Identify additional or improved transportation infrastructure
  • Access the cost associated with the above

How does it impact you?

While there may be no direct impacts to the public immediately, the recommendations produced by this stakeholder group will be influential on transportation policy in Colorado for years to come and will shape how our infrastructure is developed going forward.

Delay Referral of Transportation Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRANs) – SB19-263

What is it?

A ballot measure that would ask voters to authorize the sale of Transportation Revenue Anticipation Note (TRANs) is being delayed to November 2020, as opposed to November 2019. If approved in 2020, the measure would:

  • Require the sale of TRANs in a maximum amount of $1.837 billion
  • Require an additional $42.5 million be transferred from the General Fund to the State Highway Fund and that TRANs debt service be paid from the SHF

How does it impact you?

This bill will eventually provide additional short-term funding for transportation as it won’t be put to the voters until 2020, but doesn’t create a long-term sustainable source. It’s another band-aid on the situation while funding is figured out.

What next?

While our state legislators did a good job at finding short-term funding sources for vital transportation projects in Colorado, the next big hurdle we face is figuring out a long-term solution. This could be raising the gas tax, adding a sales tax or an idea that hasn’t been thought of yet. Solving our transportation funding crisis continues to be a top priority for our state and local government.

 

Commuting Solutions is Hiring! Join Our Team.

Part-Time TDM Specialist

April 5, 2019

Commuting Solutions is seeking a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Specialist to join its collaborative, dynamic and creative team! This exciting position will be responsible for implementing specific TDM projects in the northwest metro region. This includes researching and developing TDM strategies and first and final mile solutions, helping plan and coordinate TDM-related studies, and overseeing data collection and analysis for programming. This position reports directly to the Executive Director and is part-time, 15-20 hours/week.

SH 119 First and Final Mile Study

  • Engage corridor businesses in study recommendations.
  • Oversee the study RFP process to select a consultant team who will implement the planning effort.
  • Coordinate with local government staff, DRCOG, RTD, and CDOT to facilitate the study and ensure community needs are achieved.
  • Conduct monthly contract oversight and reporting with agency partners.

US 36 Casual Pilot Program

  • Oversee program evaluation. Coordinate with technology partners on programming.
  • Compile analysis and complete final contract report on pilot program findings to be shared with the TDM community and other stakeholders.

Regional Bike Share Program

  • Coordinate the RFP process for a regional bike share system.
  • Review responses and relay information to communities.
  • Assist ED in creating bike share identity and outreach tactics.

Bike Northwest Online Map

  • Work with communities to ensure that GIS updates are made quarterly for the regional map.
  • Host meetings to discuss map development and yearly changes to format and distribution.

Northwest Region Mobility Report

  • Collect data from key partners.
  • Assist consultant in pulling together necessary materials.
  • Review report draft and assist with edits.

Bike-n-Ride Shelter Program Management

  • Convene stakeholders to implement the program implementation in Broomfield and Westminster to launch two secure bike parking shelters.
  • Establish the front-end program administration to distribute RFID key cards to the public.
  • Measure program effectiveness and conduct data collection to measure shelter utilization.

Administration

  • Complete grant monthly and annual reports.
  • Assists Executive Director, as needed.

Requirements

  • Bachelors or Masters in Urban Planning or related field (current students are also welcome to apply).
  • Two years of project management experience.
  • Experience in data collection, analysis, and best practices.
  • Familiarity with Transportation Demand Management.Familiarity with project management practices a plus.
  • Motivated, self-starter with strong interpersonal skills, good judgment and the ability to communicate professionally with diverse audiences.
  • Position responsibilities could change based upon organizational needs.

Please submit cover letter, resume, salary requirements and salary history by Friday, April 19 to Audrey DeBarros, Executive Director, audrey@commutingsolutions.org.

Continuing the Coalition Building: The 10th Legislative Breakfast

A Message of Hope and Determination

The 10th Legislative Breakfast presented a resounding message of hope from start to finish. At the annual event to kick off the legislative session and to begin navigating the road ahead for transportation funding in our region, the message from each speaker were linked by the same common thread: we must work together to solve the transportation crisis in Colorado.

Joined by Representative KC Becker, Speaker of the House, Senator Faith Winter, Senate Transportation & Energy Committee Chair and Representative Matt Gray, House Transportation & Local Government Committee Chair, the Legislative Breakfast focused on what needs to happen following the defeat of Proposition 110 in the November.

Despite this loss, our legislators and industry leaders are more determined and motivated than ever. Their focus going forward is to continue building the coalition across the entire state that will demand a sustainable funding source for transportation.

Entering the Legislative Session

The Colorado State Legislature is in a unique position going into the 2019 session. There is a majority of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, as well as having a Democrat as Governor. Speaker of the House KC Becker believes that this majority will give an advantage to transportation bills that looks at creating a new, sustainable funding source for transportation instead of trying to allocate funds from the State General fund.

There is also a distinct advantage for the northwest metro region as the Chairs from both the House and Senate transportation committees are from the region and are joined by Representative Edie Hooten and Senator Rachel Zenzinger from our region as well. They understand the widespread need to fund both transportation projects and multimodal transportation in the state. The highest priority for our region is finding funding for the projects found on the Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS), completed in 2014.

Senator Faith Winter highlighted the importance of looking at all funding mechanisms for transportation, including tolling or a referred measure, because getting funding from the state general fund isn’t a viable option.

When looking back at the November election, Representative Matt Gray said his big takeaway was that the Colorado voters don’t want to have to choose how transportation is funded. Instead, the elected representatives need to do a better job of leading the way and creating funding for transportation projects.

Regional Priorities

Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones spoke directly to the transportation issues and project that directly impact the northwest metro region. The US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition, along with Commuting Solutions, determined a policy agenda and list of priorities for the year ahead to keep our region moving in the right direction. The list includes exploring funding options to complete the Northwest Commuter Rail Project, implementing arterial Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)/Enhanced Bus Service networks on corridors identified in NAMS as well as implementing recommendations from the First and Final Mile Study and continuing to seek out funding opportunities for transportation projects.

The Future of Mobility

The Legislative Breakfast also featured a panel comprised of industry and agency leaders who spoke to the future of transportation and mobility in Colorado. On the panel was Mizraim Cordero, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Tony Milo, Executive Director of the Colorado Contractors Association, David Genova, CEO & General Manager of RTD and Herman Stockinger, Acting Deputy Director of CDOT.

The panel concluded that funding large multimodal transportation projects is possible if we all work together. Herman Stockinger pointed to the example of the US 36 Express Lanes project, where there wasn’t just one source of funding. The parties involved worked to find funding where they could and after obtaining a $15 million TIGER grant to start, then were able to find funding for the entire $500 million project.

 

What Comes Next?

As we continue into 2019, it is important to continue working together, not only at a regional level but at a state level. This effort cannot be undertaken by the northwest metro region alone. We are closely following and actively participating in conversations surrounding new funding sources and legislation that could impact the northwest metro region. Commuting Solutions is taking an active role to explore easing the existing Regional Transit Authority (RTA) law.

Whether you work, live or play in the northwest metro region, we encourage everyone to help us navigate the road ahead in 2019. Attend our upcoming Membership Meeting on March 12                                                                                         to continue engaging in the transportation conversation.

What Brings Us Joy this Holiday Season

What Brings Us Joy this Holiday Season: Commuting Solutions Staff Share Holiday Cheer

Winter is a magical season in Colorado. Local streets and neighborhoods are filled with festive lights and decorations celebrating the holiday season. People pull out their heavy winter parkas, scarves and mittens to brave the sunny, winter chill. Ski racks are put back onto cars after a summer of sitting in the garage.

At Commuting Solutions, its no different. Our office has been decorated with lights, garland and ornaments to celebrate the season. We all have a reason to love the season and the magic it brings. Learn about why each member of the Commuting Solutions team loves the winter season and one of our proudest moments this year.

Audrey DeBarros, Executive Director

Audrey’s favorite part of the holiday season is all her family traditions that she shares with her husband and their two teenagers. They bake and decorate cookies, trim the tree and spend plenty of time in the mountain playing in the snow. The holiday season is all about spending time with her family and taking a well-deserved break from work.

Audrey’s favorite accomplishment for Commuting Solutions this year was the active and involved role that we served in the Proposition 110 campaign on the behalf the northwest metro region. From getting op-eds and Letters to the Editors in all the local papers to producing a series of videos about the local projects that would benefit from funding if the proposition passed, Audrey was one of the northwest region’s strongest advocates for the proposition.

 

Jade Krueger, Senior Outreach & Programs Specialist

Jade is Commuting Solutions’ resident adventurer and outdoor activity enthusiast. Her favorite thing about winter in Colorado? The SNOW! She loves getting to go out and play in the snow, whether she’s skiing down the slopes, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or hanging out up in a mountain town. As a proud owner of an EPIC pass, she’s already been up the mountains to ski a handful of times and can’t wait to keep having a great ski season!

Jade’s favorite accomplishment at Commuting Solutions in 2018 was getting to create, organize and run innovative programs to increase mobility in our region. Along with Boulder County’s Mobility for All, Jade helped to pilot a program at the Aspinwall and Josephine Commons communities in Lafayette to provide free Lyft credits for residents to help increase their mobility and travel options. She has also been hard at work on several programs that will be launching in early 2019 so keep your eyes open!

 

Molly Lord, Marketing & Outreach Assistant

Molly’s favorite part of the holiday season is all of it! From picking out the tallest tree she can find to baking cookies and pastries, there’s no part of the season she doesn’t love. She loves spending time with her mom baking and watching classic Christmas movies like White Christmas.

Molly’s favorite accomplishment at Commuting Solutions this year was working alongside Audrey on the Proposition 110 campaign. Getting to be a part of a statewide campaign and learning what all goes into a political advocacy campaign was an amazing learning experience. She also loved getting to go out in the community and talk to voters about Proposition 110 and all the benefits it would bring to our region.

Rachel Setzke, Executive Assistant/Events

With the holiday season here, Rachel is looking forward to having her two kids out of school and at home for a few weeks. Her favorite part of the holiday break is spending time doing puzzles and baking with her husband and kids.

Rachel’s favorite accomplishment at Commuting Solutions was the planning and execution of the Sustainable Transportation Summit in May. Rachel was involved from start to finish: gathering presentation proposals, developing topics for each of the breakout sessions and getting to meet and network with the attendees and speakers. The Sustainable Transportation Summit was a huge success for Commuting Solutions and Rachel was a big part of that.

 

 

All of us at Commuting Solutions want to wish you a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year. We are so excited to continue our impactful work in 2019 to bring our region the latest innovations in transportation and to advocate for our region’s transportation needs.