The city of Golden is close to adopting a Transportation Master Plan for the first time in its history. That plan, unanimously approved by the Golden Planning Commission in December, is set to be …
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The Transportation Master Plan can be viewed and commented on at: www.guidinggolden.com
The city of Golden is close to adopting a Transportation Master Plan for the first time in its history.
That plan, unanimously approved by the Golden Planning Commission in December, is set to be voted on by the city council on Jan. 23.
If approved by the council, the plan will establish both a city vision that will serve as a road map for future transportation investments and projects in the city and codify a set of criteria to determine which projects are worthy of city investment and how to prioritize them.
“This is really going to be first time citizens of Golden can actually sit down with a piece of paper and see here are the priorities city wants to take and here's why the city wants to undertake them,” said Golden Planning Commission member Guthrie Alexander.The plan, which the city collaborated with transportation consultants Kimley-Horn and APEX Design to create, identifies three mobility challenges in Golden against which future transit projects will be evaluated. Those challenges, identified after a public input process, are balancing regional mobility and community quality of life; community connectivity, comfort and safety; and transit convenience.
Under the plan, a project will be place into a tier depending on how many of those challenges it would address. However, the plan notes the city should also make sure to undertake some projects each year that only address one of the three goals, if they help ensure that areas across the city are seeing transit investment.
Also outlined in the plan are a series of "success measures" to help prioritize some projects. The success measures include striving to provide users of all modes of transportation predictable travel times and create a sense of comfort where the public feels safe and at ease.
Planning Commission member Patty Evans said one of the most exciting things about the master plan is that it attempts to address and balance the needs of residents who use public transit, walking and bicycling as well as driving.
“It doesn't really prioritize one form over the other,” Evans said. “It kind of says these are all important forms of transportation and ways of getting around the city so how do we make these user groups exist safely and comfortably and what kind of physical changes will it require to the street grid or bikes path or whatever it is for that to happen?”
Golden Long Range City Planner Cory Miller said the transportation plan should not be viewed by residents as an attempt to devalue automobiles in Golden in favor of other types of transit.
“We also learned that this should not just be a way of shoehorning alternative modes of transport in the community and neglecting automobiles,” Miller said. “We definitely heard from a lot of people in the process that cars are still important to them.”
Among the projects which the plan identifies as addressing the three mobility challenges and all nine success measures are improvements to the intersection of Heritage Road and U.S. 6 and the reconstruction of Colfax Avenue to safely serve bicyclists, walkers and public transit users as well as motorists.
But Miller said it is important for residents to understand that the plan does not lay out when and how such projects will be funded and ultimately completed but rather provides a guide for the city to use in determining which projects to put its efforts into funding and completing, often with the help of other agencies such as neighboring jurisdictions and Jefferson County. Having such a plan in place will also be helpful in coordinating with those agencies, he said.Still, Evans said it is exciting to think about the potential of the projects mentioned in the plan and the impacts they could have on the lives of residents.
“I think the one that would have the biggest impact on the highest number of people is the Sixth and Heritage intersection,” Evans said. “During both the morning and evening afternoon rush hours that has a lot of backup and its similar to how the interchange at Sixth and 19th Streets was before it was dramatically improved.”
But reducing traffic congestion at a major impact is just one small example of the overall impact such a comprehensive approach to transit could have on the city, Alexander said.
“It has such a cascading impact on everything in the city,” he said. “It's not just about how do we get from one place it affects where we put houses, how people access open space and hiking trails and the where jobs get created and whether they even do. It really touches everything and I think that's why residents should read it.”
The Transportation Master Plan can be viewed at www.guidinggolden.com/transportation-master-plan.
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