A Message from the Executive Director: April 2021

Earlier this month, Commuting Solutions along with local partner stakeholders in the SH 119 corridor project, applied for two Congressional Earmark Requests through Congressman Neguse. One request was for the SH 119/SH 52 future intersection, and the other was for pre-construction of the SH 119 Bikeway and two First and Final Mile connections for Niwot and Boulder.

Congressional earmark requests allow local jurisdictions to apply for federal funding, which Congress members have the ability to direct, a process that hasn’t been approved in many years.

This federal funding is important, and a major step for the SH 119 corridor project because this is a critical connection to Larimer and Weld Counties as well as Boulder County. Congestion, safety and a lack of mobility options negatively impact economic growth, air quality and the quality of life for the community.

The future of the SH 119 corridor vision calls for adding managed/express lanes, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and a commuter bikeway. The anticipated cost of the project is $270 million, of which approximately $95 million is identified. Recognizing there is no one source of funding to complete the full buildout, we need to be vigilant in pursuing federal, state, regional and local funding as they become available.

One of the many strengths of our coalition is the ability to speak with one voice for the transportation needs of the northwest metro region. As funding for transportation is very constrained it is collaborations like this that set our region apart from those who are competing for the same limited dollars.

We will continue to keep you all updated about the funding opportunities that arise to continue this vital project for our region.

Cheers,

Audrey DeBarros

Commuting Solutions Executive Director

Employee Trip Reduction Program Meeting Scheduled

There is an upcoming transportation rulemaking process, initiated by the Colorado air Pollution Control Division (APCD) which could impact transportation dynamics for employees.

This rule is specific to employers’ efforts to reduce emissions from employee transportation to and from work that contributes to harmful air pollution.

The APCD intends to propose an Employee Traffic Reduction Program (ETRP) rule for consideration by the Air Quality Control Commission (ACQQ) in May, and request that a rulemaking hearing by set by August.

This rule would set goals for large employers to achieve sustained reductions in the number of people who drive alone, or “single-occupant vehicle” (SOV) employee commutes. A program that offers teleworking, public transit, ridesharing or other means not only benefits the air quality, but it can also improve employee wellness, retention and company culture.

Over the last several months, the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), local transportation management organizations (TMOs), metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and local government entities have been reviewing various models to assist employers in developing Employer Trip/Employee Traffic Reduction Programs (ETRP). Commuting Solutions has been working with partners for the last several months during this rulemaking process to ensure businesses are receiving support while also prioritizing sustainable options.

This plan is also a part of Gov. Jared Polis’ Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap, which was approved earlier this year.

Input from the employer is highly desired and encouraged! To participate, a listening session for the general public, in both English and Spanish, is scheduled for March 18 from 6-8 p.m.

Register online for the events, or provide comments.

The RAQC will also continue the stakeholder process and invites interested employers to attend meetings scheduled for:

April 2 from 9:30 a.m. – noon

April 7 from 9:30 a.m. – noon

Submit comments online.

Transportation in the Colorado State Legislature

This post has been updated on March 18 to update information regarding a meeting that occurred on March 18. 

On March 18, Commuting Solutions participated in a meeting with the sponsors of the highly anticipated new transportation funding bill. The purpose of the meeting was to provide a summary of the bill’s new revenue sources and how the funds will be distributed.

Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, Speaker Garnett, Senator Faith Winter and Representative Matt Gray are sponsoring a bill in collaboration with the Polis Administration, which has not yet been introduced.

Sponsors called the bill “aggressively reasonable” and will address structural issues which will modernize how the transportation funding reflects how it is being used. The bill will save the public money, improve air quality and identify sustainable funding.

According to the presentation, nearly $3.9 billion from new fee revenue will modernize and future-proof the transportation system and stabilize funding over the next 11 years.

Feedback and suggestions are being collected by emailing coloradotransportationfeedback@gmail.com.

Another bill being discussed among the Colorado Legislature is a bill that would amend the provisions related to the operation of Regional Transportation District (RTD), Colorado HB 1186,  which is sponsored by Rep. Matt Gray, Rep. Tom Sullivan, Sen. Jeff Bridges and Sen. Faith Winter.

Currently, the bill is under consideration.

Commuting Solutions will discuss the position of the bill during a Board meeting in April.

A Message from the Executive Director: March 2021

Audrey DeBarros HeadshotThese last couple of weeks has been a big win for transportation in Colorado! On March 11, President Joe Biden officially signed a $1.9 trillion federal stimulus plan.

The plan will provide $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, nearly $30 billion for transit and $1.7 billion from Amtrak.

Democratic and Republican state lawmakers joined Gov. Jared Polis to unveil the $700 million Colorado Recovery Plan, which is set to go to “shovel ready” infrastructure projects, including repairs to bridges.

These shovel-ready projects will total $170 million, with hundreds of millions to be set for long-term infrastructure projects, such as investing in renewable energy and long-term sustainability as well as expanding broadband access and revitalizing main streets throughout the state.

The new federal and state funding is a tremendous benefit to projects in the northwest metro region! We are very appreciative of the funding and will be working with our partners to define priorities and projects.

Cheers!

Audrey DeBarros

Northwest Mayors and Commissioners Coalition Host Virtual Washington D.C. Meetings

The Northwest Mayors & Commissioners Coalition and Commuting Solutions have scheduled virtual meetings with dignitaries and legislative officials in Washington D.C. to discuss and advocate for transportation funding the northwest metro region.

Members are excited for the opportunity to advocate for our region and discuss all the corridor projects and transportation needs for our area!

Stay tuned for an update in April’s newsletter!

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.