Special Guests for April 14th Meeting at the Taj

Steve Durian, new director of the County Transportation and Engineering division will attend to talk about his and the County’s latest ideas for improving bicycle transportation in the County.

Russ Chandler, of the soon to be launched Denver edition of BikeLife Cities magazine will attend to tell us about this project. Other city editions are very cool – so this promises to be a great benefit to the cycling community.

AND FINALLY….

Don’t forget to sign up for the Denver Bike Century on June 20th. There are many routes for all abilities, and they are offering a 15% off registration TAX BREAK special! http://denvercenturyride.com/registration/

April 14th Meeting

Team Evergreen
Team Evergreen
Wheat Ridge Cyclery

Deer Creek Canyon is a much better ride these days with the installation of a porta potty at Phillipsburg which is halfway up the canyon. Bike Jeffco has to recognize a number of people and organizations for helping to make this happen:

County Commissioner Don Rosier for calling the initial meetings to identify the issues in Deer Creek Canyon.
County Commissioner Casey Tighe for help with setting up the operational agreement.
Jeffco Open Space for allowing us to set this up on public land and donating a bear proof trash receptacle.
Jeffco Transportation and Engineering Division for the design of the facility.
Jeffco Road and Bridge division for the construction of the facility.

Bike Jeffco, Team Evergreen, and Wheat Ridge Cyclery are co-sponsoring the maintenance fees of the facility. There are many riders who will benefit from this facility being in place, and many residents of Deer Creek Canyon will be happier people. Please support our sponsors with your business and your donations.

March 10th Meeting

Many of you may be aware that CDOT is planning to add express toll lanes to the C-470 highway through Douglas County and a small section of Jefferson County east of Wadsworth Boulevard. Construction is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2016.

More Information

This expansion of the freeway will have a profound effect on the enjoyment of riding the existing bikeway parallel to the widened section. Both noise and air pollution will be increased.

As part of the preparation for the project, CDOT has carried out a study to determine the noise impact of the project to residences and other places along the route – including bike trails. Mitigation (e.g. walls or berms) will be considered where the noise impact will increase by 10 decibels or the resulting noise level will exceed 66 decibels. While the full report has not yet been published, analysis maps of the noise impact on nearby residences have been made public. See meeting boards.

These show that the noise impact exceeds the mitigation threshold in a number of places and a sound wall is recommended for some locations. In the majority of the locations where a wall is recommended, the bikeway is INSIDE the wall, i.e. closer to the widened freeway. This will magnify both the increased noise and air pollution to bikeway users.

CDOT has estimated projected noise levels at ‘receptor points’ along the bikeway and at other nearby facilities but has not published them. Bike Jeffco is asking for these to be made available.

Please support Bike Jeffco’s efforts by expressing your concerns about the project and asking for the noise impact results for the bikeway be released as soon as possible. Send your email to the CDOT project director Jerome Estes before March 13th with a copy to me.

The levels of estimated increased air pollution close to the widened freeway have not yet been published.

This bikeway forms a key part of our metro wide network both for recreational and commuting riders. It is one section of the 60 mile Platte/C-470/E-470/Cherry Creek all trail loop.

In contrast to widening the C-470 freeway, the Colorado Public Interest Research group is reporting that the national driving boom is over. In particular, the millennial generation is driving less and using alternative modes such as cycling and transit much more. COPIRG’s Danny Katz will present the details of this major change at our meeting this coming Tuesday, March 10th.

In other news, Bike Jeffco is working to improve bike access to and bike storage at stations on the new Gold and North West rail lines scheduled to open in 2016 to connect Arvada, Westminster and Wheat Ridge with Denver Union station. All the new trains will have platform level access and proper storage for bicycles – avoiding the gymnastic requirements and space limitations of using the current light rail trains with a bicycle.

Lots more to talk about at our meeting:

Tuesday March 10th 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Jefferson County Government Center, Golden, Rooms 1566/1567

See you there!

n Dave Evans

Contacting your state legislators

We are taking the tact of meeting with the state legislators about our local projects. In most instances, these individuals are not the ones that we work with to bring the projects to fruition. We work with the city and county transportation engineers and planners, and with CDOT to help push projects along. At any given time, we often have 15 different projects in the works…not because we are gluttons for punishment, but because you usually can’t get traction on a given project from start to finish in a linear way. Instead, you push a bit here, a bit there until all the planets align and we get a result. We are keeping our representatives and senators informed because transportation is another element of how they represent us. The attached files highlight our current Jefferson County elected officials at the state legislature level.

Besides, it’s great to take the opportunity to get involved. Many things are happening in our county, and YOU can have a voice in their outcome.

February 10th meeting at Jefferson County Court Bldg

Bill 15-081 was introduced into the current session of the Colorado Senate last week. It sought to expand the definition of suitable projects for GOCO (Greater Outdoors Colorado) funding to include the construction of bicycle trails and shoulders. Unfortunately passage of the bill would have violated the State Constitution and it was therefore killed in committee. (The permitted uses of GOCO funding were approved as a constitutional change by Colorado voters in 1992 and therefore cannot be altered without further voter approval).

Likewise, Jefferson County Open Space is funded by a sales tax approved by voter referendum back in 1972. This also specifies exactly how the revenue generated by the sales tax can be spent. Unfortunately, this also excludes most types of hard bike trails.

As we are all well aware, the number of road cyclists in our State, both residents and visitors, has increased tremendously in the last ten years. One has only to look at the strava.com “heat” maps to see the extent of riding in Jefferson County alone. Bike Jeffco’s own count logged almost 1000 riders in Deer Creek Canyon in 12 hours on a Saturday in June 2013.

Despite the growth in ridership, we still have no dedicated regular source of funding for bicycle related projects. The one time Federal Stimulus package of 2009 provided $7M to repair the C-470 bikeway. Shoulders are typically only added to major highway reconstruction projects if the user lobbying is loud enough. The four yearly Federal Transportation Improvement Program (‘TIP’) funding is typically oversubscribed by a factor of three and rarely benefits our area due to our relatively low population density.

As a result, urgent projects such as adding shoulders to unsafe roads such as 32nd Ave west of I-70 and 100th Ave. in Westminster remain on the shelf. At the current rate of funding, the Clear Creek Canyon trail west of Golden may be complete in the next 20-30 years.

On a more positive note, the El Rancho to Genesee bicycle link may receive its final grant to make construction possible this year – only TEN years after the initial proposal by Bike Jeffco.

Clearly, there must be a better way of funding this work. Colorado prides itself on being an ‘outdoor’ State yet our sport, unlike others such as hiking and mtn bike riding, is severely underfunded.

At next Tuesday’s meeting, we’ll discuss what might be done to change this situation.

Related to this, we’ll also talk about how we might better work with our elected representatives to achieve our goals.

The meeting will be held Tuesday February 10th 7:00pm – 9:00pm at the Jefferson County Government Center in Golden.

See you there!