Getting around Golden

Alternate modes of transportation offer residents options for local travel

Posted 9/13/17

Owning a private vehicle is not for everyone. And even for those who do own a car, sometimes it makes sense to walk or ride a bike somewhere. Other times it’s better to take the bus.

“All of these modes have their purpose,” said Rick …

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Getting around Golden

Alternate modes of transportation offer residents options for local travel

Posted

Owning a private vehicle is not for everyone. And even for those who do own a car, sometimes it makes sense to walk or ride a bike somewhere. Other times it’s better to take the bus.

“All of these modes have their purpose,” said Rick Muriby, the City of Golden’s planning manager in the community and economic development department. “And Golden is trying to make all of them available to everyone.”

Biking around town

Bikes are a sustainable mode of transportation, and provides great way to enjoy Golden recreationally, according to Carl Neidert, the head librarian at the Golden Bike Library.

Plus, he added, there are 25 miles of trails in Golden. “We might as well use them.”

Simply put, riding a bike is just fun, said Craig Berkley, assistant bike librarian at the Golden Bike Library.

“We give away fun,” he said. But also, he added, “a bike gives you a way to cover more ground than walking and a different perspective of the city than driving.”

This is the second year the Golden Bike Library has been in operation. Last year, it was open from June to October and served about 1,200 riders. This year, since April it has served about 1,800 f August, said Neidert.

“People get really excited about it,” Neidert said. “The tourists love it.”

Currently, the bike library, which is located just outside of the Golden Visitors Center along the Clear Creek walking path in downtown Golden, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. However, testing for three automated stations —Parfet Park, the Colorado School of Mines campus and the Jefferson County Administration & Courts Building — will begin this month.

Once everything is in working order, people will be able to rent bikes from those stations at any time of the day, year-round, Muriby said.

Regional Transportation District (RTD)

In her blog published on the RTD website, Michelle Brier, a public relations specialist for RTD, writes that the American Public Transportation Association estimates that people in the Denver area can save more than $9,600 per year in gas, maintenance and parking costs associated with car ownership by switching to public transportation.

And now, riding the bus in and around Golden is even easier. Recently, another bus has been added to the RTD Call-n-Ride bus service, which serves a 25-mile loop around Golden. A bus will service the route every 15 minutes.

Because of Golden’s proactive financial support, the Call-n-Ride is doing well in comparison to other places in the metro area where the service is offered, said Natalie Menten, the RTD director for district M, which includes Golden, Wheat Ridge and Lakewood.

But overall, use of public transit is down 2 percent across the country, she said.

The drop in ridership is especially felt in the West Rail Line, which runs from the Jefferson County Administration & Courts Building in Golden to Union Station in downtown Denver. The route has never achieved its intended ridership, Menten said. Originally, the rail line was projected to get just under 20,000 boardings per day, but for the past four and a half years it has been in existence, it only gets about 12,500 per day, she said.

The West Line has been running from the Federal Center/St. Anthony stop in Lakewood to the Jeffco courts and admin building every 15 minutes. And now, there’s a proposal to cut back even more to every 30 minutes during off-peak hours and weekends. RTD also wants to eliminate the 1:15 a.m. run Monday through Thursday.

“Ultimately, people are still finding it more convenient to drive,” Menten said.

And for those who prefer not to own or drive a car, rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are filling a need that RTD cannot, she said.

“It’s very convenient,” Menten said. “There’s always somebody waiting to take you somewhere.”

Car sharing can help the environment

Services like taxis, Uber and Lyft help travelers share rides. But companies like Zipcar help people share the cars themselves.

The goal is to reduce the amount of vehicles on the road, said Zipcar General Manager Nicole Dalmy. “But there’s certain times you’re going to need a car.”

Zipcar is a worldwide car-sharing company serving the Colorado School of Mines campus for three-and-a-half years. It recently came to downtown Golden and has two additional cars available at the parking garage located at 1250 Jackson St.

Car sharing is especially convenient for city residents who prefer not to own a car and families looking to go down to a single-car household to reduce the cost burden of owning multiple cars, university students who live on or near campus and business travelers, Dalmy said.

Cities all over the world are thinking about how to reduce traffic congestion, provide more parking with what is already existing and ways to be more environmentally friendly, Dalmy said. She said multiple types of services — public transit, ride sharing, pedestrian friendly areas, ect. — create multimodal communities where car ownership is no longer a necessity.

These multimodal communities are the way of the future, she added. And “Colorado is evolving into the next phase of transportation.”

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