Your Questions Answered:
NOTE: The City will attempt to answer all questions as quickly as possible. Please allow up to 5 business days.
NOTE: THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED AND ANSWERED OVER AN EXTENSIVE PROCESS THAT DATES BACK TO EARLY 2011. THE MOST RECENT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ARE ON TOP, AND EACH QUESTION IS DATED TO INDICATE WHEN THE ANSWER WAS POSTED. SOME OF THE OLDER QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS MAY NOT REFLECT THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS BUT ARE INCLUDED TO PROVIDE A RECORD OF THE PROCESS THAT HAS LED TO THIS POINT IN THE NEGOTIATIONS. 12/13/11
NOTE: THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED AND ANSWERED OVER AN EXTENSIVE PROCESS THAT DATES BACK TO EARLY 2011. THE MOST RECENT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ARE ON TOP, AND EACH QUESTION IS DATED TO INDICATE WHEN THE ANSWER WAS POSTED. SOME OF THE OLDER QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS MAY NOT REFLECT THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS BUT ARE INCLUDED TO PROVIDE A RECORD OF THE PROCESS THAT HAS LED TO THIS POINT IN THE NEGOTIATIONS.
A: Golden's proposed improvements to Hwy93 may just work in town, but there is one major flaw from what I can see. What stops CDOT from building a gigantic superhighway from the north right up to the Golden city limits (but in Jeffco), which could easily cause traffic in Golden to surpass the 70,000 limit? In that case, CDOT then has the right to add lanes to the improved Hwy93. This is the scenario which Golden residents have always tried to avoid. I have a hard time envisioning a 6-lane highway not producing more than the 70,000 limit. The southbound traffic has to go somewhere, right, and I doubt they will head westbound on 2 2-lane highways in the canyons. Any plan has to address Jeffco north of Golden, or CDOT/Jeffco will continue to put Golden in their crosshairs for a superhighway. 5/9/2013
Q: Golden has repeatedly modeled that possibility. In fact, we modeled a 6-lane free highway, and still only found 35,000 on the 93 section and 50,000 between 19th and Heritage on 6. The road that is envisioned is likely to be tolled, which impedes volumes. Traffic volumes, and particularly peak hour traffic, is a function of homes and employment, so just because you build a road does not mean that you will get traffic. The current revenue problems on the Northwest Parkway and E-470 show that. The modeling did also include the planned development that is beginning to occur to the north.
Q: How does the recent work to move SH-128 North by 400 feet in order to comply with federal runway safety area guidelines (RSA) affect the Jefferson Parkway? It seems that the current alignment passes right through where 128 is being moved from. 5/6/2013
A: The design is not complete so there are no specifics to share, but the $15 million environmental study that CDOT completed in 2008 did look at the needed clear zone so they know it must be accommodated. I think it will not be a part of the JPPHA road though, but rather the connection from the Northwest Parkway to the Jefferson Parkway. Broomfield has been working on that.
A: The latest counts were taken in Feb. of 2013. US 6 between 19th and Heritage Rd - 38,865 SH 93 Between SH 58 and Iowa 24 - 814 SH 93 between Pine Ridge Rd. and Golden Gate Canyon Rd - 22,946 You can also see the last ten years of counts at http://www.cityofgolden.net/media/TrafficCounts.pdf
Q: Golden approved the development of the Mountain Ridge community. Why wouldn't Golden fight to avoid significant negative noise, visual, traffic flow and community access impacts on that neighborhood? 5/3/2013
A: First, that is exactly what we are doing. Prior to this negotiation, CDOT had planned six lanes, 70 mph, 67 plus decibels, no access, and the highway raised over both Washington and Iowa. There is also some history pertinent to the question. The approval of Mt Ridge was part of the agreement to get the SH 93 bypass built in 1991. SH 93 used to come down north Washington. Traffic was horrible and unsafe in north Golden. The region did not want a bypass, however, they wanted the beltway. After the W-470 election failed, the city got the bypass built by threading a weight limit on Washington. Coors owned all the land, and would only donate it if they got annexation and zoning. CDOT wanted 300 feet of right of way, Coors would only give 150 feet. The additional 1500 was held in a right of first refusal to purchase by CDOT for 10 years. When the 10 years ran out, Golden purchased the land. That is where we have constructed the noise berms that protect Mt. Ridge today. Given the 6-lane, 70mph super highway the region wanted, an agreement that gets Golden, and specifically Mt Ridge, 45mph, 55dB, 4 lanes (unless additional are really needed - modeling shows that 22 years from now, traffic would not be 50% of the 70,000 vehicles per day to trigger additional lanes), access at Washington Ave, a covered section, and highway 93 lowered instead of raised is a noteworthy victory.
Q: In order to protect Mitchell Elementary children from undue pollution impacts at recess, and to connect the Mountain Ridge community to town given widening and increased traffic flow, plus the eventual 3 lane highways between it and Highway 93, a tunnel was conceived that covered the proposed Parkway. What justification was used to eliminate that option in the revised plan? 5/3/2013
A: The option has not been eliminated. Go to http://www.getthefactsgolden.org/goldens-plan/ you will see the covered section starting at Iowa and going south about 550 feet. Regarding pollution, the elimination of the idling and acceleration at the stop lights will reduce the amount of exhaust, even with much higher traffic volumes.
Q: Three questions: 1) What type of measures will be implemented as part of the proposed plan to mitigate sound and visual impacts at the intersection of 6/93 and 58? 2) Will CDOT be condemning private property as part of this proposed highway construction project along 58 or 93? 3) Are major grade separation structures proposed at current CDOT property boundaries in the local of the intersection of 58 with 93/6? 5/3/2013
A: The intersection would be grade separated, but no design has been completed so we can't say how it would look. There would be an extensive public input process as part of the design, and no property is needed at this location. Through the entire corridor there is only one short area, from just north of Washington Ave to Tucker Gulch, where right of way will need to be acquired.
Q: CDOT is actively considering submerging I-70 near the Purina plant downtown to connect neighborhoods with fields and improve the quality of life. Why isn't the same being considered as relates to the Mountain Ridge community, or the 19th and Highway 6 intersection (Beverly Hills)? 5/3/2013
A: Actually that is exactly what is being planned. In fact, CDOT Don Hunt got the I-70 idea from working with Golden. US6 will be lowered about 25 feet at 19th and a covered intersection will be added that has trails and landscape in addition to the auto part of 19th. This will happen at Heritage and Washington Ave. In addition, at Iowa there will be a covered section near the Mitchell elementary school. Under the old CDOT proposal, that section was all going to be raised to go over Iowa and Washington.
Q: Can the Jefferson County Highway Authority plan to construct the Jefferson County Parkway, which will intersect north of Pine Ridge and widen 93 and 6th Ave to Golden, not be stopped? This is the only reason I can understand that Golden would seek out negotiations and 'improvements' to 93 and 6 that include widening to 4 lanes and inviting a greater divide of our community. 5/2/2013
A: The reality is that the state controls SH 93 and 6th Ave. If the highway authority makes a deal, they can build a highway to our door. The State could also make changes to 6 and 93 in Golden, but we can have some effect on that. The current state adopted plan has 6 lanes and 70 mph. It raises 93 about 22 feet in the air over both Washington and Iowa. The plan that Golden has negotiated with the state limits the road to 4 lanes unless traffic increases to levels more than double today, it provides for covered pedestrian and bike connections and takes 93 down, not up. The plan sets a level of noise mitigation much higher than the normal state standard, at 55dB instead of 67dB.
Q: I have two questions: 1. Would the new intersection at 19th and 6th be built by digging and lowering 6th Ave, or is the proposal to build up 19th to go over the existing highway? 2. If 6th will be lowered, is it possible to determine how the grade will be changed over the next half mile north of this intersection? We are trying to understand what effect this would have on noise levels. 5/1/2013
A: Yes, the US 6 portion is lowered about 25 feet. The roadway does not return to the exiting elevation until about 1150 feet from the current intersection, so at 1/2 mile it would be back to existing grade. The lowering will have some positive noise affects, but we also are adding a raised median, which would also help.
Q: Now that this proposed "Jefferson Parkway toll road" bill has been withdrawn from this year's legislative session, when is the earliest that this bill (or a similar one) could be re-introduced to the state legislature? Also, what were the details of the proposed bill? 7/4/12
A: The Colorado Legislature will be in session again starting in January 2013 and may consider bills regarding the Jefferson Parkway or other surface transportation. The “BEEP” Act proposed this April would have created a “Beltway Completion Authority” as a brand new government entity with extraordinary powers to override all local control of toll road construction within their boundaries and exercise unrestrained “dominant eminent domain” over all other local government property. This new Authority would have been created automatically by the Act with no approval by voters or the communities involved or affected. The Authority would have had the power to build and toll new lanes of highway anywhere throughout the Denver Metropolitan Area or anywhere else in the state. It would have created a new layer of bureaucracy on top of the existing E-470, Northwest Parkway and Jefferson Parkway Authorities. Among other things, the bill would have eliminated existing local control over new toll roads. The bill would have given the Authority the ability to force new toll lanes into any jurisdiction without its approval. The Authority would have been run by a Board of Directors that would include one voting representative from 15 metro counties or cities (including Golden and the City of Denver), one special district (Highlands Ranch Metro), CDOT and the High Performance Transportation Enterprise. As few as six votes would allow the Authority to condemn property, build and toll new lanes and eliminate local regulations throughout Metropolitan Denver, even if the affected jurisdiction votes against such actions or is not even represented on the Board. This proposal would have radically shifted from the current Public Highway Authority Law, which requires the consent of any jurisdiction in which a segment of the Beltway would be built. C.R.S. 43-4-504, -506(1)(f). This power could be used against any jurisdiction in the Denver Metropolitan Area. “Dominant Eminent Domain.” The Act would have granted the Authority the power of eminent domain to seize private property and an extraordinary “dominant eminent domain” power over public property. “Dominant eminent domain” would have allowed the Authority to condemn any public property from any local government with no defense that the condemned property is needed for existing public purposes. Property that would have been wholly at the whim of the Authority’s super-eminent-domain power includes schools, parks, water infrastructure, local roads, civic buildings, jails, and open space. The Authority would not only have had the power to seize public and private property, but also to then sell that property to “any person,” including domestic and foreign corporations with no limits on use. Elimination of H.B. 1041 Regulations. The Act proposed to eliminate the right of any jurisdiction in the Denver Metropolitan Area to apply Areas and Activities of Statewide Interest Regulations (“H.B. 1041”) to any extension, upgrade or enhancement of the Beltway. The Legislature passed H.B. 1041 almost 40 years ago to ensure local control of the effects of large projects that can disrupt communities, including power, energy, water, solid waste, airport and other similar projects.
A: Managed lanes are roadway lanes that are designated for special use, as opposed to general purpose lanes. Examples of managed lanes include high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes (like those on Santa Fe Drive in Denver), high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes (like those on U.S. 36), or exclusive or special use lanes (such as bus lanes). Under appropriate circumstances, managed lanes can address congestion, enhance transit, raise revenue and cap the growth of total lanes. The determination of whether and how managed lanes make sense in a particular setting requires careful and thorough study.
Q: The city has consistently said that the Jefferson Parkway is a bad idea that won’t improve the region’s transportation system and will encourage sprawl. Do you still believe that’s true and, if so, why wouldn’t you continue to oppose it? 12/12/11
A: Yes, we are still concerned about whether the Jefferson Parkway will spur sprawl north of Golden. Much of that development is already occurring with projects along the SH 93 and Indiana Street corridors. Construction is occurring on the east side of the Candelas development. Because Golden doesn’t have the ability to stop this development with or without the Jefferson Parkway, we believe the best way to protect Golden from the effects of sprawl is to make the improvements we need on SH 93 and U.S. 6 and the agreement is the best way to do that right now. The agreement will also help foster the transfer of the Section 16 parcel along SH 93 into the Rocky Flats Refuge and make sure that land to the north is not developed. If the agreement is approved, Golden can then work with other regional partners to promote other strategic open space purchases or planning decisions to reduce sprawl and protect the mountain backdrop. This is going to be easier without the divisive issue of the beltway dominating decisions.
A: Yes, there are low levels of plutonium in the soil surrounding the Refuge. However, the City has little to no practical ability to address those issues. The agencies that do (the Colorado Department of Health and the Environment, EPA, U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) have determined that the risk is low enough that they will not stop construction of the Parkway. The local jurisdictions most involved and at risk – Arvada, Westminster, Broomfield and Jefferson County – have not sought and are not going to seek to stop the Parkway due to this issue. Nonetheless, the proposed agreement contains provisions to use best practices to minimize dust from any construction. At the same time, Golden and its residents face real safety risks in Golden that the agreement would address. Golden residents face much larger risks of death and injury from traffic accidents at intersections on U.S. 6 and SH 93 than dust at the Refuge. The agreement will make the corridor safer for pedestrians, cyclists and people in cars. Improvements on the 6/93 corridor will reduce emissions from idling cars at intersections near schools and homes. The realignment of SH 93 will move the road and vehicles farther from many homes. These are really important to health and safety in Golden and are not going to be achieved without cooperation with the Colorado Department of Transportation and Jefferson County.
A: In the Muller plan 93 is shifted to the west north of Washington returning to the old alignment just north of the city.
Q: Why is this webpage allowed to be one sided? Everything said supports Golden rejecting the beltway. Why is that allowed on a website that is supposed to give equal opinion on both sides of the arguement? 2/23/11
A: This web site was built to provide facts and factual answers to questions and to give people all of the information we have so that they can form their own opinions based on fact and not opinion. On the particular issue before City Council at this time there is no disagreement that Golden's goal is to prevent a 6 lane, high speed highway through our town. Our discussion as a community is how best to achieve that end.
A: We are not sure where you got the impression that Golden agreed to not do development west of 93. The city had lobbied for the 93 bypass for many years, but the notion of the beltway kept CDOT and Jefferson County from getting serious about moving the 93 traffic off of North Washington. After the failed county-wide vote in 1989, Golden again pushed for the bypass but did not get support until we posted a weight limit on N. Washington which would force gravel, asphalt and garbage trucks to go east of North Table Mountain. When the funding then became available for the by-pass, the owner of the land needed for the by-pass, required the annexation, zoning and subdivision of their property, including all their property west of the re-aligned 93. So the city did not agree to no development, in fact that development was approved as a part of the deal that accomplished the re-alignment.
A: Mesa Drive is shown as connecting to Ford Street on the city street master plan, but no decision to actually make that connection has been made. If the connection is considered in the future it would have its own public discussion, input and decision process.
A: This decision was made based on our efforts to identify highway mitigation plans for every neighborhood in Golden. This relocation is the best way to mitigate current and future traffic impacts for the hundreds of homes in Mesa Meadows and North Golden Edge neighborhoods.
Q: I keep hearing 5 or 6 miles north is where the big parkway or toll road would end, but where is this point? Is there a cross road you can tell us? What is the chance the underpass for 19th and Hwy 6 would be funded/built if we agree to the compromise? 2/8/11
A: Their proposed connecting point to Highway 93 is just north of the entrance to the Pioneer Sand Company driveway. Funding for the 6 & 19 bridge is the key consideration facing City Council. That interchange would cost $20-25 million, which we think would likely find funding in 3 to 5 years, if all the local governments are supportive but no guarantee. These things often get funded because they are ready to bid and build, and a different project that is funded is not ready. Instead of losing the funding it is quickly moved to a project like this that is ready to go.
A: Golden most certainly will never drop opposition to the beltway through Golden. The most important part of the potential agreement would require commitment from Jefferson County and CDOT that the road in Golden is 45 mph and only 4 lanes. Anything more than that will be strongly opposed.
Q: I continue to be curious on how Golden thinks it can stop the inevitable from happening as the pathway of traffic from US 6 and I-70 will follow this natural corridor regardless of how much opposition Golden throws in front of it. 2/8/11
A: Golden has always been acutely aware that it has limited power to stop the highway altogether. That is why we adopted 1041 powers, and developed the Muller Plan and acquired the right of way to the west when the Kilgore property annexed.
Q: Did anyone ever warn the folks that bought homes to the north and west of the Hwy 93/US 6 intersection that it has been obvious for as long as people lived in the area that this is the natural and most logical route for a traditional beltway through the area? 2/8/11
A: The original plans for the Mt. Ridge development showed a 150 strip for SH 93, and an additional 150 feet that was labeled as reserve for future 470 right of way. That reserve was eventually purchased by the city when CDOT's option ran out. The plat notation was probably the only written notice for homeowners in that location. For the Richmond Homes development to the north and west, purchasers were given notice in their contracts that advised them the road might be moved close to their homes.
Q: What is Golden going to do to influence CDOT, Jeffco, and Arvada, who have conspired with Golden to use this stretch of road (Hwy 93 from Hwy 72 to the Rocky Flats west entrance) as a pawn in their silly Parkway games for decades. 2/8/11
A: First Golden has no control over that section of Colorado State Highway 93. Golden has requested, through the regional funding process, state funding for safety improvements in this section. Golden has also, at its expense, had preliminary engineering completed to determine cost and feasibility of those safety improvements. So Golden totally agrees with you, and for years has been frustrated that necessary, appropriate and important improvements to this highway are being held hostage to this unneeded beltway dream.
A: The planned Jefferson Parkway will add little traffic to 6 and 93 according to traffic modeling. The increase in 2035 over the no build on 93 is 600 additional vehicles a day and the traffic on US 6 actually decrease in 2035 by 2,700 vehicles. This is because the toll road carries very little traffic, and the Jefferson Parkway plan makes highway 72, Indiana and 128 less efficient, trying to force traffic on to the toll road. When the results from the modeling are examined we find that traffic actually goes east on I-70 and uses roads like Kipling and Wadsworth.
A: Some of this is currently open space, some is Denver Water and part of it is developable, Keller Farms, currently the Asphalt Paving quarry. This is all property out of Golden. Jefferson County has already approved a development plan for Keller Farms, but there is likely 25 to 50 more years of gravel mining first.
Q: In the interests if full disclosure, the public should be told who is behind the new beltway highway. Can you tell us who is supporting the beltway - trucking industry, commercial developers, etc. ? 2/3/11
A: Golden is not involved with the proposal so we can only speculate. We believe that the backers of the beltway include Jefferson County, Arvada, the Candelas development, the Northwest Parkway and their lease operator Brisa Auto Strada, the City and County of Broomfield, CDOT and the Jefferson Economic Council. Remember this is just our guess.
A: Indiana will not be tolled, the Jefferson Parkway will parallel it north of SH 72. Jefferson County and Arvada plan to "calm" Indiana which means reduce capacity in hopes of getting more folks to drive the toll road.
Q: The proposed intersection at 6th and 19 St. does not separate pedestrians and traffic and whittles down the traffic flow to 1 lane going west. How is this a good idea? Why isn't a pedestrian bridge (like the others in Golden) the most cost effective method of traffic flow and safety? 2/1/11
A: If the intersection is grade separated, multiple lanes on 19th Street are not needed, and in fact the delay would be much less than the current condition. The design would substantially separate the pedestrians through a park setting from traffic on 19th. If we just had an interchange and a pedestrian bridge unless the pedestrian bridge was moved to the very far to the north you would still need to cross the ramps to and from the north. The through traffic on 19th and the traffic turning east on to US 6 would not cross pedestrian pathways.
A: RTD is not in the planning. There is no rail associated with the project. The picture at 19th shows it only to note that the planning of the road would not preclude it, and we would not do things that make it more expensive in the future.
Q: The drawing of planned improvements at 19th street show a possible light rail system extension along Hwy. 93. This is the first I've seen of this, and it's not included in any other drawings that I saw, nor have I noted any substantive discussion about it. 2/1/11
A: The transit was shown simply as a possibility in the future, and to note that the corridor should at least be able to accommodate it in the future if deemed appropriate. There is no proposal nor has there been to do a transit line.
A: Boulder and Boulder County see a lot of value in protecting Section 16 for three reasons. One is that doing so would remove 640 acres on the boundary of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge from development. This is land that otherwise is probably likely to be developed. Another is that it would help prevent wrap-around development up the west side of the Refuge (between the Refuge and Highway 93) . . . protecting Section 16 would make it more difficult to develop this other property. Finally, many believe that Section 16 contains the most important wildlife connection between the Refuge and all the open space on the west side of Highway 93. Boulder and Boulder County, like Golden, are all very concerned about development in northern Jefferson County, and are looking for ways to reduce the amount of that development and its impacts to our respective communities.
A: The intent of this website is to provide the very best information we have available, so that citizens can form their own opinions. We really don't want to sway people one way or another. We simply want to state the facts and then get honest feedback so that our City Council can make an informed decision. That is why we are keeping this website free from comment; to keep it focused on the basics. We invite and encourage the public to send comments directly to our City Council at CityCouncil@cityofgolden.net.
A: It is accurate to state that in the complete Muller Plan, the commercial buildings at the northeast corner of SH 93 and Washington Avenue may be removed as part of the realignment of existing SH 93 as a community arterial. This potential was discussed with the land owner at the time the plan was developed and the City offered to purchase the land. Since the timing was uncertain, the developer was not willing to sell, but was more than willing to consider a future purchase. If we upgrade that section and move 93 to the west, there is not an immediate need to acquire the property. Based upon current information, the acquisition of the property and removal of the buildings would not happen until further in the future when the intersection was upgraded from a signal to an interchange.
Q: Lets assume Golden does strike a deal with Jeffco and makes the improvements noted. The march of progress may dictate that the parkway eventually be completed at some point in the future. Does the city have enough control over zoning around the CO93/US6 roadway to discourage the type of development that would split the city? 1/25/11
A: The City does have very good zoning control. Currently all land along the corridor is zoned and could only be changed by City Council action. Additionally Golden actually owns much of the land immediately adjacent to the highway including the land where 93 will be relocated to the west, north of Golden Gate Canyon. We own the entire west side of 93 from just north of Washington south to Highway 58 and the land adjacent to US 6 by Fossil Trace. The Colorado School of Mines owns the survey field on the other side of 6th avenue but again the City of Golden controls the zoning.
A: We were never going to get that all done in one project. The design funds will come from Jefferson County. Construction funding would then be solicited through the Denver Regional Council of Governments and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) funding process for individual projects. The interchange is estimated at $23 million and the relocation of SH 93 at $20 million. Given that there is usually $200 million to $300 million available it will take a few years to find funding. Additionally Congressman Ed Perlmutter has committed to make these projects his highest priority for funding.
A: The section 16 open space is just north of SH 72 and SH 93 on the east side of 93. It can be seen under the Jefferson Parkway tab, click on the map to enlarge and the section 16 parcel is labeled in red.
A: There is no plan to toll 93, and Golden has always opposed that. The proposed toll road ends where it connects to 93, about 5 miles north of Golden. However, state law does not preclude the state from tolling existing state lanes and they could add tolls now or in the future even if this agreement states that 93 should remain a free road.
Q: Once the parkway is in place and the Muller/Golden plan has been completed, is the extended plan to have the light rail extend around Golden and up to Boulder? Also, what is to stop CDOT or the highway transit authority from enforcing eminent domain on the corridor and eventually turning it into six lanes? 1/24/11
A: There is no current plan to extend the light rail to Boulder, but all planning and design in Muller will be done to allow it in the future. There is no guarantee that CDOT could not use eminent domain in the future to widen the highway. Golden has been proactive in the corridor by purchasing much of the property adjacent to the corridor, and developing recreation activities on that land. This gives the property what is called 4F protection and it becomes a burden on CDOT to prove that there is not an alternative to taking the property. Again this is not a guarantee but does make it harder for them.
A: There are two ways of looking at this question – from the vantage of Jefferson Parkway backers and from the perspective of Golden. From the perspective of the Jefferson Parkway proponents, there’s a sense of momentum. Proponents over the past year have jumped over some of the hurdles that stood in the way of the project. The Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) placed the Jefferson Parkway on its regional plan and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may soon convey an important right of way to the toll road. Jefferson Parkway proponents are now reaching out to potential investors that would fund the privately operated toll road. The issue is coming to a head and that means that Golden has significant leverage at this time to negotiate the best possible agreement to further our community’s interests. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hands over the right of way to the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority, Golden would have a limited window of time to file a lawsuit to block the toll road. Once that window closes, Golden’s leverage diminishes. For these reasons, Golden believes that this is the right time for the City Council – informed by feedback from the community -- to decide whether or not an agreement makes sense.
A: Jefferson County inquired with Golden about potentially joining them in a TIGER (federal stimulus) grant application in late summer of 2009. They were considering applying for improvements to the Highway 58/U.S. 6/Highway 93 intersection and widening Highway 93 to four lanes north of Highway 58. While these two projects are both part of Golden's Muller Plan, rebuilding the intersection at U.S. 6 and 19th Street is a higher priority, and we told Jefferson County that we wouldn't support their proposal. We indicated, instead, that we would welcome their support for the U.S. 6/19th Street rebuild to improve safety, improve pedestrian- and bicycle friendliness, reduce congestion, and reduce air pollution. Although Colorado School of Mines and Congressman Ed Perlmutter both formally supported our grant proposal, Jefferson County was unwilling to do so. We are unaware of any community receiving TIGER grant funding without the support of all the local jurisdictions. Outside of grant funding, there are only two other main mechanisms for securing federal transportation funding. Earmarks are one of those options. Although Congress is expected to either reinstate the earmark system or replace it with something comparable (but perhaps with a different name), our Congressional delegation is extremely unlikely to support any sort of funding for Golden projects if Jefferson County objects to them. The other main funding option - the primary option - is through the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) funding process. Funding through this process is based on a points system, and Golden has lost points in its effort to secure funding for Highway 93 safety improvements because we didn't have political or financial support from Jefferson County. Many communities secure project funding despite not having the highest-scoring projects, but securing funding in this way is extremely difficult if the local county objects. In other words, while it is theoretically possible for Golden to secure funding to implement the Golden Plan for transportation improvements without Jefferson County's support, it is very difficult and unlikely if the local jurisdictions aren't in agreement.
Q: If an agreement with JeffCo is reached and both the beltway and the Golden plans are implemented, what are the projected start and completion dates? Are plans being considered for a bicycle path from 470 to Boulder? It would be nice for two bike friendly cities to be connected by bike paths rather than dangerous roads such as Hwy 93. 1/21/11
A: Any agreement with Jefferson County must also include an agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)so that the design and permitting on the grade separated interchange at 19th and the 4 lane relocation of 93 would begin immediately upon approval. Golden would run this planning process and include lots of public input just like we did with the Muller Plan. Planning would include all environmental permitting and CDOT 1601 clearance. This would take 9 months to one year. This would result in a “shovel-ready” project and then construction would begin as soon as funding is obtained. Construction of the interchange would take one year. The relocation along 93 would take around 10 months. One project that we could begin almost immediately is the instillation of a median along 6th Ave which will help keep speeds down and reduce highway noise. There is already a bike path through Golden, but any road improvements north of this project would have a bike lane as part of the project.
A: Golden believes that the motivation for the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority (JPPHA) to be pushing for an agreement now is that it is ready to go to investors to support this proposed privately run toll road, and would prefer to be confident that Golden and other current Jefferson Parkway opponents would not challenge the Jefferson Parkway. (Updated 1/24/11)
A: The Mayor never said that. But here is what we think you are asking: Q: If Golden was going to file suit to try to stop the Jefferson Parkway, when would it do that? A: The U.S. Department of Interior is planning to convey land from the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge to the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority that would enable construction of the proposed Jefferson Parkway. That would provide a first opportunity to bring a lawsuit. The window during which Golden could file suit based on the Rocky Flats issues probably begins when that transfer happens and it will remain open for a period of time afterward. There are no hard and fast rules about how long that window will remain open, but after some period of months, Golden's likelihood of success will begin diminishing.
Q: Has there been any expert evaluation/assessment of the "parkways" effect on home values in Golden? We live in Beverly Heights, close to 6th Ave. Even the Muller Plan seems to place the roadway much closer than it is now. What effect will this have on home values? 1/20/11
A: We can't say specifically, as there has not been a specific study. The Muller Plan will not place the road any closer, it will limit 6th Avenue to 4 lanes and 45 mph speed. Muller might have a positive effect on your neighborhood home values as the proposed overpass for 19th Street will provide safe walking and biking into Downtown Golden and the CSM campus.
Q: My impression was the Muller Plan was intended to be part of a larger regional plan for improvements, including Indiana & Ward - with the Jefferson Parkway these improvements would be impossible. If the Jefferson Parkway went ahead, wouldn't that make our Muller Plan a lot less effective as part of the regional traffic plan? I'm assuming the NWQFS in 2000 wasn't done just for kicks...? Also, where can I read the *entire* Muller Plan? 1/20/11
A: The Muller Plan – which we’re also referring to as Golden’s Plan -- was completed to design highway improvements through Golden that were consistent with the recommendations of the Northwest Quadrant Feasibility Study(NWQFS). This study, completed in January of 2001 by CH2M HILL, recommended a large array of transportation improvements throughout Northwest Jefferson County. The Jefferson Parkway toll project was not a part of that plan, and in fact was rejected by that study as a meaningful transportation solution. Arvada and Jefferson County still believe that completing the beltway is needed and will help traffic. While we disagree with this, and feel that the proposed toll road is primarily designed to spur development, we can't make them build the NWQFS-recommended improvements in the county and Arvada. What we have done is to carefully model the traffic impacts of their plan, and look hard at the impacts and implications to Golden. The comprehensive data shows that the Jefferson Parkway would have minimal impact in Golden. Modeling shows that in 2035 on SH 93 there would only be an increase of 600 vehicles per day. On US 6 between Heritage and 19th traffic actually goes down by 2,700 vehicles a day. We believe this is because the toll road is very much out of direction for the large majority of trips and, given the added distance and cost of a toll, very few drivers will use it. You are correct that the NWQFS showed the need for improvements on Indiana and Ward. Our modeling shows there will still be a need for improvements in the eastern part of the quadrant, and that the toll road will not relieve congestion there. We see increased traffic on Wadsworth and I-70 as a result of the road. We also see more congestion in Arvada. In the end, we can only control what happens in Golden, and can't protect citizens in Jefferson County or Arvada from their governments’ choices. The entire Muller Plan can be viewed at the Golden Public Works office, but the portions that are not posted are things like cross sections and centerline profiles. There are no additional highway sections or text included in these sections that have not been posted.
Q: Regarding the Jefferson Parkway do-not-compete clause: Would Golden be restricted in any way from making transportation improvements within its city limits by such a clause? Is this type of clause really constitutional where it has been used before? 1/19/11
A: The City would not be restricted in any way from making improvements in Golden. The issue around non-compete clauses arises when Arvada or Jefferson County agree to not improve, or even degrade existing highways to try to force traffic on to a private toll road. Golden strongly objects to this in any fashion.
A: The Muller Plan is on the City of Golden website at: http://www.cityofgolden.net/media/pdf_226.pdf. Please note that it has since been updated slightly, so the information on this web site has the most up-to-date information.
Q: I would like to know what the benefit of moving Highway 93 in the area of Pine Ridge Road would be, as stated in Golden's Plan? Also, to exit from that end of Pine Ridge, would you have to go down Catamount, to Golden Gate Canyon? Finally, if the highway would be two lanes in each direction, in order to exit from 56th street, would any improvement be made there? (I know it's not in Golden, but it is affected by this plan). 1/19/11
A: The relocation to the west north of Washington Ave. moves the highway into a light industrial area and away from the majority of the homes in the north part of Golden. This significantly reduces the number of homes that are impacted from highway noise. There are a couple of options for Pine Ridge Road that would be discussed and determined as part of the detailed design for that area. The original plan showed cul-de-sacs on Pine Ridge on either side, and connection through Catamount to Golden Gate. The other option would be an overpass of Pine Ridge and continued connection to the old 93 (which would remain as a local access frontage road). The relocation and 4 lane section that is part of the Muller Plan and this potential agreement tie back in to SH 93 prior to 56th so it is not affected.
A: The City of Golden has consistently expressed a willingness to look for a reasonable resolution to this multi-decade dispute, and Golden representatives have participated in on- and off-again discussions with Jefferson County, Arvada, Broomfield, Boulder, Boulder County, and Superior for years. These discussions picked up again last year, as the Mayor reported during City Council meetings over the summer and fall. Late last year Jefferson County made some substantial concessions, and City Council brought the idea for a potential agreement with Jefferson County to the community for input, which is the community process now underway. Golden believes that the motivation for the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority (JPPHA) to be pushing for an agreement now is that it is ready to go to investors to support this proposed privately run toll road, and would prefer to be confident that Golden and other current Jefferson Parkway opponents would not challenge the Jefferson Parkway. The motivation for Golden to consider an agreement is that our leverage will lessen as time goes on. The Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) already placed the Jefferson Parkway on its regional plan last year and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extremely likely to convey a right-of-way to the Jefferson Parkway. Once the federal government hands over the right-of-way and JPPHA begins construction, we will basically have no or little continued ability to shape this process unless we act. We’ve established some real leverage by building a plausible legal case; now we either need to convert that leverage into a good agreement (i.e., we commit to not suing in exchange for a favorable agreement for Golden) or bring litigation. Whichever path we select, our best window for shaping the outcome will end soon.
A: An agreement, if Golden decides to pursue it, would probably involve a commitment, a plan, and funding to begin implementing our Muller Plan improvements, which would fix our current transportation problems on U.S. 6 and Highway 93 in Golden, protect us from the impacts of any future growth in traffic, and make it even more difficult for anyone to ever force a beltway through Golden. In exchange, Golden would agree not to file suit to try stopping the Jefferson Parkway. Golden must now decide if an agreement like this makes sense, and how to make sure it successfully protects Golden.
Q: How is the City approaching this issue? What is our best guess on plans to improve SH 93 in the future? What about improvements to McIntyre? Where do either of these fit into future transportation plans?
A: Highway 93 improvements have largely been held up because of the beltway fight. An agreement with Jeffco should include a plan for making appropriate improvements all the way between Golden and Boulder (per the 6/93 Corridor Plan that Golden and Boulder developed). Golden has long advocated for improvements to other arterials like McIntrye, but if Arvada and Jefferson County choose not to make those improvements there is little impact to Golden. The impacts will mostly be felt by Arvada residents as their own roads become more congested, but Golden’s focus remains first and foremost on protecting Golden residents. The City has two main options for trying to keep the beltway out of Golden: a) we can try to prevent construction of the Jefferson Parkway but probably not implement any of Golden's plan for improvements; or b) we can agree not to oppose the Jefferson Parkway in exchange for beginning to implement Golden's Plan. Each of these two options has risks and trade-offs. Our goal is to help community members understand those two options and all of their advantages and disadvantages and listen to everyone’s thoughts about where we should go from here. Through this web site and our four neighborhood meetings in late January and early February, we are sharing what we know about these options and their implications and we will will answer every question.
Q: Projecting far ahead, if we made the improvements in Golden AND the toll road was completed AND we saw more development north of Golden, what might we be looking at in terms of traffic congestion as well as air and sound pollution? Does fighting the toll road potentially mitigate this, and to what degree?
A: Golden will see some increases in traffic with or without the Jefferson Parkway. In fact, the Jefferson Parkway will contribute only a small amount to the future traffic in Golden; most will happen regardless. In either case, the City is far better off from the perspective of addressing traffic congestion with Golden's Plan in place. The most likely way that the City will get these improvements is through an agreement with Jefferson County. The City's traffic analyses assume more development in northern Jefferson County, since most of it will happen with or without the Jefferson Parkway. Fighting the Jefferson Parkway only has a positive impact on Golden if we are successful, and blocking the Jefferson Parkway has only a modestly positive impact on the traffic that will come through Golden in the coming decades. Golden's Plan acutally reduces both noise and pollution even if traffic goes up a lot, because the traffic flows through at a constant speed instead of stop-starts at the lights. That's because we restrict the roadway to four lanes and speeds of no more than 45 mph, because we lower U.S. 6 and Highway 93 at some intersections, and because of our noise mitigation. There may be other reasons to fight the Jefferson Parkway, but protecting Golden from traffic impacts isn't an especially significant one.
A: Jefferson Parkway proponents want much bigger and faster roads through Golden. We saw that clearly in the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority's filings to the Denver Regional Council of Governments and in the Colorado Department of Transportation's Environmental Impact Statement. Those documents proposed six-lane, 65 m.p.h. highways through Golden. We want improvements to handle congestion and improve quality of life in Golden, which means fewer lanes and lower speeds. The problem for both of us is that we are at a stalemate: we've figured out how to prevent the beltway in Golden, and we won't be able to implement our own Golden's Plan improvements if Jefferson County chooses to block them. The nature of the potential agreement is that they get to build the Jefferson Parkway and we get the improvements that we believe will protect us with or without the Jefferson Parkway. But unless we commit not to sue, there is no incentive at all for Jeffco to agree to anything, since the entire point for the county is to make the Jefferson Parkway move forward.
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