July 19, 2018

Jacob's Golden Update: Golden's New Transit Feasibility Study and Other News

Jacob’s Golden Update: November 28, 2009

1. Golden’s New Transit Feasibility Study
2. Jackson Street Corridor Project in the Works
3. New Email Newsletters Serving Golden
4. Council Adopts 2009 Building Code Including Radon Protections
5. Golden Vision 2030: Listening to the Community’s Stories
6. New State Transportation Funding
7. Rocky Mountain Deaf School Wins Approval for New High School
8. Adopting the 2010 Budget
9. Cindy Stevenson Awarded “Superintendent of the Year”
10. Other Upcoming Events
11. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, December 3

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1. Golden’s New Transit Feasibility Study

With the arrival of light rail in Golden expected in 2013, interest has been growing in the idea of a new community bus linking downtown, the light rail station, and other key community locations.  With a grant we were able to secure through the Denver Regional Council of Governments, we began a formal “feasibility study” earlier this year to assess options and get a rough sense of cost.  That study is now complete and available for download to everyone interested in seeing the results.

The punch line: we are seriously considering two basic options, both of which cycle from the light rail station at the Jefferson County Building to downtown Golden to Golden High School and back to the light rail station.  Both options would use the portion of Illinois that is now closed to vehicular traffic (but we would only open Illinois to these small community buses).  One option includes South Golden Road down to the King Soopers and up past Bell Middle School while the other, less expensive option runs back up Illinois (and is thus quite a bit shorter).  The longer option is about three times as expensive to operate as the shorter one and requires three times as many buses, but it obviously provides service to more of the community.  Although my hope is that we can extend the bus system to provide service to a number of other neighborhoods on the north, south, and west sides of town, the cost of doing so is prohibitive in the beginning, so it probably makes sense to make sure we can make a more modest bus system work first and then look at expanding over time.

You can provide comments on the study by emailing them to the “draft report comments” address.

2. Jackson Street Corridor Project in the Works

One major transportation priority for 2010-2011 is the Jackson Street Corridor.  After several years of considering it, soliciting community input, and exploring various designs, we’ve got the funding lined up and plan to start construction next year.  It’s a big project, and it’s unclear yet if we’ll do it all in 2010 or do half now and half in 2011, but either way it’s moving forward.  The basic design will narrow Jackson St. to two lanes and add much-improved sidewalks and a bicycle lane and improve the street connections at the north end (where the Ford becomes one way and the southbound cuts across the diagonal to Jackson).  The result should be much safer and friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists while still working great for cars.  This stretch of Jackson St. is unusual in Golden for having three lanes while the traffic volumes only require two.  The project is part of our Safe Routes to School effort as well as a top recommendation of both the Walkability and Bicycle task forces.

3. New Email Newsletters Serving Golden

There are some new ways to stay in touch with City Council and State Legislature happenings:

  • City Councilor Marjorie Sloan started both a web site and a newsletter called the South Golden Reader.  You can subscribe by sending Marjorie an email (marjorie_sloan@comcast.net).
  • Incoming City Councilor Bob Vermeulen has an email newsletter that I assume he’ll keep doing during his term on the Council.  Email him for more information (bobvforward3@gmail.com).
  • State Representative Max Tyler (who succeeded Gwyn Green in June) has a helpful email newsletter as well.  Email him to subscribe (Max@maxtyler.us).

4. Council Adopts 2009 Building Code Including Radon Protections

Last week the City Council adopted the 2009 International Building Code (as well as the 2009 International Fire Code, Electrical Code, and a host of other codes that pertain to how buildings are built within the city).  This new code represents the most current thinking among the professional building code world about making sure buildings are constructed with safety, energy efficiency, and other considerations in mind.  One issue that received some special attention in our discussions was the risks associated with radon gas.

Radon is a naturally-occurring gas that causes cancer but isn’t detectable by human senses, and roughly 20,000 people die every year due to lung cancer caused by exposure to radon, the second more prevalent cause of lung cancer deaths after smoking.  The bad news is that Golden happens to be in a high-risk radon zone.  Jefferson County Public Health reports that 87% of the homes tested in the 80401 zip code (including much of Golden but not limited to the city limits) exceed EPA radon limits, in fact.  The good news is that it is easy to mitigate.  Adding a radon mitigation system can run from a few hundred dollars if incorporated into new homes and up to $2,000 if added later.  For these reasons, City Council included in the new building code the requirement that all new homes include a radon mitigation system.  For more information about radon and radon mitigation, you might check out the EPA web site on radon.

5. Golden Vision 2030: Listening to the Community’s Stories

The Golden Vision 2030 project is an opportunity to update our vision for the community and the land use plan that helps make sure we move toward that vision.  If there are things you like about the parts of Golden that are changing and about the parts of Golden that are changing, Golden Vision 2030 is a critical opportunity to make sure we keep doing those things you like.  If there are things you don’t like – changes that we aren’t making but should or changes you don’t like – Golden Vision 2030 is your chance to help fix that.

A key part of the Golden Vision 2030 process has been collecting stories of Golden residents, old-timers and newcomers, young and the less-young, and residents from every part of town.  We’ve collected about 350 stories so far and we now need some help making sure we listen carefully to all of those stories and do a good job of identifying the values that each of those community members described.  If you think you might be able to participate in one of the “listening sessions” please contact Nancy York (nyork@cityofgolden.net or 303-384-8096).  For more information you can also download the flier.

6. New State Transportation Funding

Last year the state legislature, through the FASTER bill, increased vehicle registration fees in order to fund bridge replacement and repair on the most dangerous of Colorado’s bridges and other high priority transportation projects.  Jefferson County solicited project requests from all its municipalities, so we provided information on our highest priority major transportation project, the rebuilding of the intersection at U.S. 6 and 19th Street.  Of all the intersections in Golden, that one has the highest accident rate, the most severe accidents, the highest number of bikes and pedestrians, and the worst congestion.  It may take us some years to put the funding together, but it’s important that we start applying for funding and building momentum around the importance of this project.

While everyone – myself included – would prefer to pay less in vehicle registration fees and not more, I also recognize that current sources of funding for our roads, bridges, transit, and the rest of our transportation system aren’t enough to keep that system safe and effective.  If we want our transportation system to work, we will have to pay for it somehow.  The same is true for our own priority projects along the U.S. 6 and 19th Street Corridor: if we want to start implementing the Muller Plan or something like it, rebuilding priority intersections like the one at U.S. 6 and 19th, reducing noise and air pollution, and better connecting our western neighborhoods with the main part of town, we will have to pay for it somehow.  Golden has been very fortunate over the past couple of years, by the way, in that the Washington Avenue bridge over Highway 58 and the Highway 58 over 44th have both been replaced.  Our local, state, and federal tax dollars made it possible to replace the two Golden-area bridges at highest risk of failing (while the construction delays have been a real inconvenience, having bridges that won’t collapse is a pretty good tradeoff).

7. Rocky Mountain Deaf School Wins Approval for New High School

Although the Rocky Mountain Deaf School isn’t in Golden proper, it’s part of the greater Golden community and serves Golden families.  Some great news for the school: the Jefferson County Board of Education unanimously supported their request to start a new charter school, the Rocky Mountain Deaf School High School.  The school board also gave conditional approval to Two Roads High School, a school for home-schooled students who want to transition to being full-time students.  They will share the location at 9255 Ralston Road, which is the current home of the Home Option Program.  Conditional approval is contingent on developing a contract with the district.

8. Adopting the 2010 Budget

We are getting closer to adopting a final 2010 operational budget and a new ten-year Capital Improvement Plan (which is basically the capital budget).  Our highest priorities remain public safety, maintaining our community infrastructure (e.g., our water and wastewater systems, our streets, our parks and trails), and protecting our quality of life.  We are making conservative revenue projections, but to be even safer we are including a 20% cash reserve for the operating budget and a $500,000 reserve for capital projects to provide some added protection in case revenues drop more than we expect.  We still have some smaller issues to sort through but seem to be largely settled on the major issues.  If you have any comments or questions just shoot me an email (jsmith@cityofgolden.net).

9. Cindy Stevenson Named “Superintendent of the Year”

Jefferson County’s own School District Superintendent, Cindy Stevenson, was just awarded the “Superintendent of the Year” recognition by the Colorado Association of School Executives.  A huge congratulations to Cindy for doing such a great job under very challenging circumstances.

10. Other Upcoming Events

  • Candlelight Walk, December 4. We’ll gather at 6:00 pm at 15th and Arapahoe St., where you’ll find Lions Club members serving hot beverages and Chamber of Commerce volunteers selling candles.  We’ll begin walking down the hill at 6:30, end up a short time later at the Clear Creek bridge, turn on the lights on the trees, and enjoy refreshments and entertainment downtown and near Clear Creek.  The Chamber of Commerce web site has more info.
  • Olde Golden Christmas on Parade, 11:00 am on December 5, 12, 19. This old-fashioned hometown parade starts on 10th Street and winds its way through historic downtown Golden.  The Chamber of Commerce web site has more info.

11. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, December 3

Our next city council meeting is a regular business meeting on December 3 (next Thursday) with a very full agenda.  We begin with a short executive session at 6:30 to evaluate the municipal judge and then kick off the public meeting starting at about 7:00 p.m.  You can download that and review minutes and videos of previous City Council meetings on the city’s web site.  This next meeting’s agenda includes the following issues:

  • The final public hearing and final decision on the 2010 operational and capital budgets and the mill levy.
  • A discussion with the board of the Golden Urban Renewal Authority about its 2010 plans.
  • A briefing on the recently-completed “2009 Task Force Implementation Report,” evaluating progress on the recommendations made by all three of last year’s Ad-Hoc Task Forces (Walkability, Bicycle Master Plan Update, and Housing Affordability).
  • A discussion of potential crosswalk changes on South Golden Road roundabouts.
  • Discussion of a proposal to create a permit parking system in the neighborhoods to the north and south of Colorado School of Mines.
  • A grant proposal to Great Outdoors Colorado to help fund the purchase of the Bachman property for a park and open space.
  • Formalizing direction to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for 2010.
  • A decision on an Intergovernmental Agreement between local governments in Jefferson County about funding the construction of a new animal shelter.
  • Consideration of potential refinements and clarifications to the Golden Sustainability Initiative.
  • Consideration of a proposal to install new bike lockers or bike racks in downtown Golden.
  • Golden Downtown General Improvement District board meeting.
  • An executive session before the main meeting for the annual evaluation of the municipal judge.
  • An executive session after the main meeting for two purposes: a) legal advice regarding a potential municipal court appeal, and b) annual evaluation of the city attorney.

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Jacob Smith, Mayor
jsmith@cityofgolden.net
(303) 810-6017
www.SmithforGolden.org