April 20, 2018

Council Considers Agreement to End Jefferson Parkway Fight

After another long negotiating session yesterday, Golden, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and the Jefferson Parkway jurisdictions reached a tentative agreement to end the two decade-long beltway fight. We’ve got details up on the city’s web site.

City Council will be considering and probably voting on the potential agreement at a special meeting on December 15. Please review the information on the site (and we’ll post more details as soon as we can) and share your thoughts in writing before or in person on the 15th.

Comments

  1. Peter Luptovic says:

    As sent to Mr. Fisher,

    My wife and I are currently in the San Jose, CA area where we once lived for 25 years. We have therefore experienced the increased traffic scenario first hand and have also experienced the consequences of the bogus theory that bigger roads are better. While living in the area we saw US Interstate 280 (merely an example) progress from a 4 lane parking lot to a 10 lane parking lot; which means that there are now 10 lanes of crawling autos emitting exhaust that drifts into adjacent neighborhoods.

    Increasing SH93 to 4 lanes will merely increase the traffic on that highway until it is as clogged as it ever was – maybe more so. Commuters are not stupid; they will find the fastest route to their destination. Keeping SH93 as it is will not only throttle traffic through our community, it will keep that traffic at lower and safer speeds.

    The benefits of soundwalls are also illusionary. The noise escaping the berms near SH93 and US6 provide a pretty good indication of how useless such walls would be. Here in CA those walls have been major obstacles for emergency service providers. I would recommend a large traffic circle to replace the lights at the SH93 and US6, and at the two other northerly intersections – I can hear the cries of the highway engineers now. Such circles would not only slow traffic, they would keep traffic moving and provide for a net increase in traffic flow.

    I suggest you get yourself and all the council members a copy of the book Traffic, and read it, before you all make any decisions. (It’s available from the library on CD.) It could be a first for a US community to use the experiences’ of cities throughout the world without having to make every mistake locally!

    And finally, I would hate to see the city of Golden succumb to what appears to be a one time $57M bribe (walks like, sounds like, etc.). I would urge the council to resist the urge to ‘do something’. Make sure you are fixing something that needs fixing. Also, keep in mind that the council’s job is to represent the interests of Golden, not to be a ‘good guy’ for the county or state. Those entities have more that enough folks looking out for their interests.

    Peter and Kim Luptovic

    • jacob says:

      Thanks for taking the time to post. One problem is that Golden doesn’t simply get to decide what happens on state highways in town. Through our state-granted 1041 powers, we can limit what the state does, but we can’t on our own rebuild intersections as called for in the Golden Plan, replace intersections with roundabouts as you suggest, or anything else. They are state highways and the state controls them. The Golden Plan, which was based on extensive community input, is specifically designed to allow through traffic to actually get through Golden, reduce congestion and air pollution, reduce noise, and dramatically improve connectivity between the neighborhoods on the west side of US6 and 93 and the rest of town.

      The challenge for Golden is that we have very real traffic, safety, pollution, and community connectivity problems, and those problems are going to get worse with or without the Jefferson Parkway.

      While sound walls and berms might not work in every instance, what I know is that here in Golden they are actually working extremely well. We have a very aggressive noise standard – 55db – and we are now meeting that standard where we’ve installed noise mitigation (which wasn’t true before we installed them).

      Incidentally, we are very familiar with roundabouts and have replaced the traffic lights at a substantial number of major intersections in Golden with roundabouts, and they’ve been extremely effective. Accident rates have dropped, injuries and severe injuries have dropped, and even the time it takes to travel through those sections of town has dropped. The problem, as I said above, is that the city doesn’t control state highways, and replacing the existing intersections with roundabouts isn’t an option.

      Based on months of intensive community input in the first part of the year, City Council unanimously adopted a position statement that clearly said we would support an agreement with the JPPHA communities if it was stronger than the one we were considering at the time. The one we are considering now is much stronger and addresses all of the issues Council flagged. All of our options have risks and downsides. If the final agreement meets Council’s expectations, and if Council approves it, it will be because Council believes it best serves Golden’s interests.

  2. Jim Smith says:

    Here’s what I have written for publication in the Denver Post (page 7, YourHub) on the morning of the City Council meeting, Dec. 15th. I welcome any evidence that I have my facts wrong before I upload it at noon:

    Golden’s mayor made a strategic mistake last winter when he proposed that Golden accept a compromise with the County Commissioners regarding the ill-conceived toll road north of town.

    The compromise was that if Golden dropped its opposition to the toll road, it would receive planning money for a grade separated intersection at 19th Street & Hwy 6. The strategic mistake was giving Goldenites a couple months to realize what a bad deal it was.

    So now, after “negotiating” for a better deal following the City Council’s unanimous rejection of that compromise, Mayor Jacob Smith is giving the Council just one week to approve a revised deal which ignores virtually all the demands of that Council resolution in February.

    I’ve said it before — to the annoyance of fellow Realtors — and I’ll say it again. Building the toll road serves no valid transportation purpose, as numerous CDOT-paid studies have proven. It is solely a means of promoting the kind of over-development that enriches developers and creates the kind of congestion which has spoiled other sectors of the metro area.

    Join me at the Council meeting at 7 pm this Thursday and speak out against this corrupt proposal.

  3. jacob says:

    Thanks Jim. Because the attorneys for all the parties didn’t finish writing the agreement, we postponed the decision. We will still have the special City Council meeting on Thursday night in order to brief the community on the status of the negotiations and the agreement.