December 8, 2019

Comments Due on Jeffco Bike/Ped Plan: January 31

Jefferson County is distributing draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan maps, and you’ve got until January 31 to comment. The Denver Post ran an article about the draft maps, and you’ll find some additional information on the Bike Jeffco website.

Golden Secures Federal Funding: Pedestrian Bridge Over U.S. 6 and Golden’s New Community Bus

Looking across U.S. 6 at the new under-construction light rail station from the Golden Ridge side.

The construction site at the Jefferson County building: the new light rail line and station.

Some really terrific news that would have been easy to miss during the Indian Gulch Fire last week: Golden secured federal funding for two extremely important community projects. The first of those is our new Golden community bus. We’ve been working for a couple of years now on a plan to launch a new circulator bus in Golden. Our highest priority is to connect the light rail station at the Taj with downtown Golden, but our vision is that over time we’ll be able to connect all of our neighborhoods, our schools, and our community facilities like the Community Center. This federal funding – $1,237,000 – is incredibly helpful, and we’ll be able to pool it with funding from RTD, Colorado School of Mines, and the city to operate the bus service for a three-year trial period starting in 2013 when the light rail opens.

We also secured $1,220,000 in federal funding for a new pedestrian bridge over U.S. 6 at the new light rail station. In other words, if you live in Golden Ridge, Golden Terrace. Stonebridge, Eagle Ridge, Heritage Dells, or anywhere else near Heritage Road, you will be able to walk or bike to the new light rail station without having to cross U.S. 6. That will make your journey much safer, quicker, and more pleasant. You’ll be able to easily walk to the light rail station and catch the train to work, the ballgame, or whatever else you might head into Denver for. You can ride your bike, lock it at the station, ride the light rail, and then grab your bike when you return. Or, as some Heritage Dells folks I met with this morning pointed out, you can ride your bike into Denver (downhill) and catch the light rail back to Golden (uphill). We’ll match the federal funding with $750,000 from RTD and $300,000 from the city.

The funding is allocated through the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG). Councilor Marjorie Sloan and I represent Golden at DRCOG, and we’ve been working hard for months, along with city staff, to include the dollars for our two projects in this round of funding allocations. I’m really pleased we were able to pull it of.

Road Construction Update: Six Projects Around Golden

We’ve got at least six active road construction projects underway around Golden! Councilor Marcia Claxton wrote a nice update on the Ulysses Street project and Councilor Marjorie Sloan posted updates on four other projects: 19th and Jackson, 19th and U.S. 6, the wildlife crossing on U.S. 6, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad crossing on 44th. We’ve got one more that just started as well on Washington at 6th. We’ll be widening the sidewalks, adding a bike lane, and extending the curbs. We need to do upgrade all of Washington north of Highway 58 – it has terrible sidewalks (where it has them at all) and challenging pedestrians crossings – but it may take some years before we’ve got the funding to do it all. City Council felt it was important to at least start the work, and we had enough funding for this small but important piece, so it’s now underway. One lane of traffic in each direction should be open on Washington Avenue at all times.

Standing on Washington Ave. looking south at 6th St. and the Highway 58 bridge.

Progress on the Jackson Street Corridor Project

Big street projects can be a hassle for neighbors and folks trying to get through, and the Jackson Street Corridor Project is no exception, but the end result is going to be really nice: great sidewalks, a good bike lane, and safer and easier crosswalks. It’ll look nicer as well as make it much easy for everyone – on foot, by bicycle, in a car – to travel the corridor. The other good news on this particular project is that it’s progressing really well. We got through one hurdle last week with the short closure of the intersection at Jackson and 24th. The next hurdle will be the two-week closure of Jackson itself, starting as soon as this week, with the detour relying on Arapahoe.

Looking south at 20th.

A 'bump-out' at Jackson and 21st giving pedestrians a shorter crossing distance and an improved crosswalk.

Another view of Jackson to the south from 20th.

Golden’s Newest Bridge

The new bridge is lowered into place. City of Golden photo.

Our new Clear Creek bridge, just east of U.S. 6, will provide a connection from the Clear Creek Trail to the 6th Avenue Trail. Once all the CSMRI cleanup work is finished (we thought it was finished but it turns out they have some additional issues to resolve) we’ll also connect the trail along the south side of Clear Creek to this bridge.

Golden's Newest Bridge

The new bridge is lowered into place. City of Golden photo.

Our new Clear Creek bridge, just east of U.S. 6, will provide a connection from the Clear Creek Trail to the 6th Avenue Trail. Once all the CSMRI cleanup work is finished (we thought it was finished but it turns out they have some additional issues to resolve) we’ll also connect the trail along the south side of Clear Creek to this bridge.

Jackson Street Corridor Pedestrian and Bike Improvements

We’ve been planning for some time to make significant improvements to the Jackson Street Corridor, primarily to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists and to improve safety for everyone. It’s a priority corridor in large part because it’s used by so many Golden High School students. We’ve got the preliminary plans on the city’s project web site, and if you’d rather see paper versions you’ll find them on the walls at City Council Chambers, which are available most of the time during weekdays. The main elements of the proposal include reducing Jackson St. from three lanes to two and using the extra space to widen the sidewalks and add bike lanes. I know some folks are concerned about traffic levels on Jackson St., but two lanes can more than handle the actual and projected traffic volumes (and Jackson already narrows to two lanes on both the north and south ends already).

This a drawing showing roughly what the project will look like facing south at Jackson and 19th.

Golden Heights Trail Update

One of my first successes after becoming Golden’s DRCOG representative was to help secure funding for a new trail connection between the southernmost neighborhoods in Golden (Golden Hills, Golden Heights, and the fairgrounds) and the rest of the community. Because those neighborhoods are entirely cut off from the rest of town by U.S. 6 and I-70, completing the missing bike/pedestrian path is especially important. In addition, the walk along the 6th Avenue frontage road is perilous under the best of circumstances, so completing a safe connection there is critical as well.

And on the heels of that early success, I also learned a frustrating lesson: securing funding through DRCOG and getting the city staff and City Council in Golden to commit to the project were the easy steps. Every additional governmental agency added to the mix dramatically increases the complexity of the project, and in this case there are three others (Jeffco, Lakewood, and CDOT). The Intergovernmental Agreement between the governments itself took quite some time, and most recently the project has been in the lengthy CDOT review and approval process. CDOT finally authorized the bid release, and I believe Lakewood (which under the iGA is running the bidding) is now moving quickly to get the project underway.

There aren’t a lot of things we can do to improve the connections between the neighborhoods of South Golden and the rest of Golden – this is one of the few options – so we will keep pushing on this until it gets done.

Walkable Neighborhoods

Grist’s take on the New Partners for Smart Growth conference that I attended a couple of weeks ago: it’s all about walking. I posted my highlights from the conference last week.

I think sometimes in the conversations about smart growth, New Urbanism, and transit-oriented-development you can find an overenthusiasm for mixed use developments. Mixed use has its place, and core downtown areas like Washington Avenue in Golden are good examples of where it makes sense, but lower-density single-use residential neighborhoods can also be really important and valuable. It seems to me that one critical factor is the proximity of those neighborhoods to shopping districts. In other words, the question is if folks in those neighborhoods can easily access on restaurants and stores without having to drive. At our retreat, City Council discussed a number of related long-term goals, including increasing the number of neighborhoods in town that are within a ten minute walk of parks or open space and of “neighborhood retail,” which just means at least some number of restaurants and retail. That will mean continuing our efforts to improve sidewalks, bike paths, and bike lanes. We’ll discuss and adopt some version of these goals in the coming weeks.

I just posted some photos on my facebook page from a recent visit to Commerce City with their mayor. The town has changed a lot in recent years, roughly doubling in size over the past decade and expanding energetically toward Denver International Airport. But as I note in the photos, at least in the southern part of town many neighborhoods are within walking distance of small, corner markets, which at least gives lots of folks the option of buying groceries without having to drive.

Our new community bus will also give folks a good alternative to driving. When it comes online in 2013 (coinciding with the opening of our light rail line), it will probably have a pretty modest route connecting downtown Golden to the light rail station. But over time, if there is enough community support, we’ll consider expanding it to serve neighborhoods all over Golden.

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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