Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More Colorado Transportation Talk

With all the transportation new yesterday, I thought I'd bring up a few others that have been in the news recently.

Tolls...We mean, “Fees”

The Loveland Reporter-Herald recently ran an article on some of the transportation options being considered for Loveland. One part I noticed was something the Federal Highway Administration official mentioned. What caught my attention is that he was talking about creating toll roads only the FHA is referring to them as a user fee.


Capka talked about a program the state of Oregon is testing that places global positioning systems in the cars of its residents.

“When a certain car uses the (highway) system, it tracks the user and charges a fee instead of the gas tax,” he said.

It's All About Downtown

Another item that caught my attention was in an article on a proposed passenger train that would run along the front range. The Berthoud board of Trustees passed a resolution saying they want to be served by a commuter train rather than Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Why? They want to save downtown. This despite the rail option costing 2 to 3 times BRT. More so, there is no evidence that rail service is needed for a successful downtown.

More so it's interesting to see how downtowns still dictate our transit planning. It's been a couple a decades since their were more jobs in the suburbs than downtown, yet our transit systems continue to be little more than a downtown transportation system.


Besides widening the highway to six lanes, state officials are looking at adding either a commuter rail through cities or a Bus Rapid Transit lane down the center of the interstate, he said. The Berthoud Board of Trustees passed a resolution Tuesday stating its preference for the commuter rail alternative.

“It’s really, really beneficial to our downtown,” he said. The BNSF line runs through downtown Berthoud.

“Berthoud will be struggling to keep downtown the center of the community.”

A Decade Of Waiting

As Fastracks move forward, meetings are being held in order to finalize plans for each individual line. In a decade, the metro population will have grown another 30%. Most of that growth will be occurring in areas further out (that is, their rate of growth will be much, much higher). It will be interesting to see how cities along these lines such as the gold line will react. Growing up in Minneapolis, I watched the city lobby for decades to get a light rail line. But leading up to that and even once it was built, they did to change zoning along the line. Are cities like Arvada and Wheat Ridge, traditionally single family home bedroom communities, ready to allow for dense, multi-story, multi-unit construction along the gold line corridor? Will other cities along other routes do this?


The RTD FasTracks Gold Line is still about a decade away, but when it arrives, Wheat Ridge will be ready.

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