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

 

 

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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.

Advocacy in Action: Standing Up For Transportation

Whether we are advocating for transportation funding at the Capitol, convening coalitions to explore new avenues of revenue or working with local stakeholders to bring innovative commuter options to the region, advocating for our community is part of the fabric of Commuting Solutions.

Advocating for Our Partners

At the beginning of this month, Governor Hickenlooper called a special session to address a bill-drafting error with Senate Bill 267 which caused the Regional Transportation District (RTD) to lose roughly $560,000 in revenue each month since the legislation took effect in July 2017. In a demonstration of support for one of our longstanding partners, the Commuting Solutions Board of Directors and US 36 Mayors & Commissioners signed a resolution to encourage state legislators to fix the errors made. While we are disappointed by the outcome of the special session, we’ve been working with coalitions in the region to seek out new funding opportunities to improve the access and economic vitality of the Northwest metro region

Building Transit-Oriented Communities

The US 36 Mayors & Commissioners, Commuting Solutions, Boulder County, Broomfield, City of Boulder, Longmont and Louisville have been hard at work developing an application to compete for federal funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. The proposal our coalition submitted focuses on implementing railroad safety improvements throughout the Northwest corridor to create quiet zones at critical railroad crossings. Communities throughout the region grew up around the railroad tracks, but as the train horn noise levels now reach 96 to 110 decibels due to the Federal Transportation Administration’s (FRA) train horn rule, many residents and businesses find the noise creates unlivable conditions. The current noise levels pose a threat to existing and future transit-oriented development districts.

Rendering of downtown longmont
Rendering of transit-oriented community in Longmont.

The requested TIGER funding will close the gap in funding needed to complete the remaining safety improvements at 28 railroad crossings. The funding and implementation of railroad crossing improvements will help ensure the livability and economic vitality for the northwest corridor for today and the future, and leverage pedestrian and transit investments for years to come. In addition to submitting a proposal for safety improvements at railroad crossings in the region, Commuting Solutions also signed a letter of support for a project submitted by Westminster that would construct a grade separation along the US 36 Bikeway to allow cyclists to safely connect to RTD Park-n-Ride stations near Sheridan Station and 88th Avenue.

Helping Progress Move Forward

Commuting Solutions Executive Director, Audrey DeBarros gives public comment at RTD meeting.

As we explore transportation funding opportunities with our partners to accommodate the implementation of a modal rich environment, we also remain committed to advocating for progress on current initiatives identified through the Northwest Area Mobility Study. Recently, Audrey DeBarros, executive director of Commuting Solutions provided public comments at an RTD meeting pushing for continued support for the SH 119 Bus Rapid Transit project. Recently, the RTD Finance Committee recommended retaining $30 million in the strategic business plan for SH 119, which will go before the Board of Directors for approval on October 24.

From advocating for our community at the state level to submitting a competitive proposal for federal funding, Commuting Solutions is committed to leading the way for innovative solutions to increase the quality of life and economic vitality of the region. If you are interested in engaging in the transportation conversation, join us during our 9th Annual Legislative Breakfast.