Going Places: Citizen-Focused Broomfield Traffic Planning
Dec 27, 2018 10:28AM
By Bette Erickson
The phone is ringing. I hurriedly trip over the dog that is vomiting up the cotton balls he snatched from the bathroom vanity, as toothpaste froths from my mouth when I reach the phone. As if that’s not enough, morning traffic is stacked from Midway Blvd. all the way north to Eagle Way as I slowly inch my way down Main St. This is not a normal morning.
Traffic doesn’t typically snarl like this in Broomfield.
However, it occurs to me: When it comes to transportation and ease of travel, residents may rightly hold their elected officials accountable. Here in Broomfield, as it is with neighboring municipalities, transportation and its related issues are front and center year after year.
Strides are made. Challenges are met. And prompt attention is delivered following concerns voiced by citizens, elected officials, developers, and other important stakeholders.
“Broomfield has done an excellent job working regionally,” said Mayor Randy Ahrens. “A stellar example is how successful the Bus Rapid Transit and HOV (high-occupancy vehicles) improvements along the US 36 corridor have become.”
It’s critical that local governments lobby to state legislatures and federal decision-makers on behalf of their citizens for transportation projects, presenting cost estimates and often, available local matching funds.
“It was extremely disappointing for me that Proposition 110 failed,” Mayor Ahrens added. “Our Highway 7 Coalition had 80% of the funding we needed to complete expansion and improvements along State Hwy 7 – including a new overpass at State Hwy 7 and I-25.” But that 2018 ballot proposal failed.
Mayor Ahrens is one of the founding members of the Highway 7 Coalition, created some five years ago. The group is made up of leaders from Lafayette, Erie, Broomfield, Thornton, and Brighton.
Broomfield continues to work on a number of transportation improvements. One of the 2018 city council priorities includes the Dillon Road upgrade. This project came about as a result of traffic studies and traffic safety concerns. While Dillon Road design work and right-of-way acquisition continues, construction along the road is slated to begin early this year.
Mayor Ahrens said, “I’m glad our council was willing to bond $40 million to start the 144th/Dillon Road widening and improvements and I’m looking forward to benefiting from the results here in the next few years.”
Another ongoing process prioritizing safety and ease of travel within Broomfield is the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program designed to identify opportunities to relieve congestion and to establish efficient travel times along key routes throughout the city.
The ease of travel in our community by car, bicycle, and walking is a high priority to planners and receives infrequent complaints. In fact, benchmark comparisons against other communities along the Front Range and in the nation, show Broomfield as exceptional. Broomfield has recently completed a Bicycle and Pedestrian Assessment and is in the process of designating corridors for comprehensive bike and pedestrian improvements.
Broomfield City Councilwoman Elizabeth Law-Evans, an avid cyclist, is enthused about the ongoing progress the city continues to make. “It’s a lot of fun, mainly,” she replied when asked about the appeal of biking around town. “The majority of my trips are within two miles. Short trips like that use more fuel, so if I can cut down on short trips by even 10%, then I’m moving in a really good direction,” she said. “If you’ll pardon the pun.”
Cost savings and exercise are just a couple of the advantages of doing errands on a bicycle. Councilwoman Law-Evans also makes use of Broomfield’s new interactive online trail map. (Visit www.broomfield.org for information.) For someone just beginning to get around town on a bike, that is a great resource, she explained.
Beyond bikes, other ride sharing options are plentiful in and around the city, including RTD bus service (visit www.rtd-denver.com for more information), Lyft (www.lyft.com/rider/cities/denver-co), and Uber (www.uber.com/cities/denver). If you have an event in Denver, commuters may opt to leave their car at home, take an Uber or Lyft to the RTD Park-n-Ride gate at Arista and hop a bus to downtown, saving money, relaxing, and enjoying a designated driver, all while being a friend to the environment.