Besides reading everything the City and County have provided on-line I have also attended the various open houses and one "Citizen's Working Group" (CWG) meeting. You can certainly be forgiven if you've done the same and these questions/realizations didn't occur to you: I've got a freaking PhD and decades of work experience as an engineer (in several different specialties) and it took me dozens of hours to really get my head around some of these issues, so opaque is the presentation of them. In these questions "City" and "County" apply primarily to the divisions within the transportation departments of the City of Boulder and Boulder County that were assigned this project, though of course we are entitled to hold their superiors responsible should they chose to act on this report, up to and including the City Council and County Commissioners, or if they fail to first respond to The People's answers to these questions. Page numbers refer to the draft plans at www.eastarapahoetransportationplan.net but note that page numbers may be off because they keep revising those documents:
1) Do you realize that the most-selected alternative in the Open Houses and by the CWG (alternative 3, dedicated bus lanes) will reduce auto traffic lanes by one in each direction on Arapahoe from Folsom to Cherryvale and immediately increase auto transit times for any trip along Arapahoe anywhere near either rush hour by 10 to 20%? (page 35, and IMHO that estimate is way low, especially for the eastern section where Arapahoe will neck down to 1 auto lane at 55th instead of at 63rd like it does now).
2) The City and County are showing "cross sections" in their open houses and other presentation, but don't show where the auto lanes would shrink by one. Is this an explanatory tool, or manipulation (attempting to get people to agree to something while deliberately obscuring the ramifications)?
3) The County apparently is using the City's CWG and Open Houses as a stealth means of fixing policy on Arapahoe all the way out to† 287 (The County hasn't released any reports or had any public meetings on the issue since April of 2016). The City's Alternative 3 means that Arapahoe from Cherryvale to 287 will remain as a 2-lane road, albeit possibly with an additional bus-only lane in each direction (they call it a "shoulder" rather than a separate lane). Does this sound reasonable to you, or would you prefer that the design of the segment from Cherryvale to 287 be directly addressed in the planning that *both* the City and County do?
4) The City and County did not even evaluate a 4-lane Arapahoe alternative from Cherryvale to 287 to compare with the other 4 alternatives they provided to us. Do you consider this to be a reasonable omission?
5) The report does not even mention the revolution in transportation that will occur over the next 10 to 20 years due to self-driving cars (aka autonomous vehicles, although I prefer the term "botcars") (see http://www.dailycamera.com/editorials/ci_31213480/editorial-coming-transport-revolution and the RethinkX report it links to). Was this a reasonable omission?
6) Is the reason you don't take the bus, specifically the Long JUMP to Lafayette, related either to transit time or frequency? Do you accept the City and County's projection that merely by decreasing travel time from 18 minutes to 14 minutes and frequency from 30 minutes to 10 minutes (pages 29, 34, and 50) ridership will increase on that segment by 300 to 400%?
7) The annual cost for Alternative 3 are estimated to be approximately 5 times current RTD costs for the Jump route by 2040, increasing to approximately $15 million dollars per year (page 38). To put that in perspective, widening Arapahoe to 4 general-purpose lanes plus a central turn/merge lane from 75th to 287 would cost approximately $12 million (4 miles at $3 million per mile, one time cost).† Which seems the better value to you?
8) The City projects that Alternative 3 will only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 5% (page 54, and this projection completely ignores the issues of increasing use of electric vehicles and botcars).† Do you believe that this reduction offsets the significantly increased cost and auto transit time?
9) The City and County refuse to provide the model they used to make their projections, or even the raw data they input into it. Is it reasonable for them to refuse to provide the information necessary for The People to check up on them?
10) The EATP report claims that LOS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_service) at 63rd and Arapahoe during the evening peak is a C, well below capacity with traffic flowing at or near the speed limit. This also implies that there would be very little cut-through traffic on 55th or Cherryvale. But according to the routing feature in Google Maps itís an E or an F and there is substantial cut-through traffic (indeed in some simulations it actually recommends taking Cherryvale over Arapahoe, and the 63rd intersection is completely gridlocked at around 5:30). Hereís a direct link to that outcome, play around with the departure time to see the behavior, and click on the various routes to see the red gridlocked (LOS F) areas: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Eastpointe,+1550+Eisenhower+Dr,+Boulder,+CO+80303/Union+Jack+Liquor,+1160+E+South+Boulder+Rd,+Louisville,+COfirstname.lastname@example.org,-105.2150191,13z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m18!4m17!1m5!1m1!1s0x876bedee17fe3929:0x4503baf241a0b701!2m2!1d-105.2313836!2d40.0137405!1m5!1m1!1s0x876bf363c1918f85:0xe9fa95004f4546ac!2m2!1d-105.1282207!2d39.9865937!2m3!6e0!7e2!8j1520529300!3e0. And of course thatís what those of us who have driven these roads during rush hours actually experience. Do you trust the Cityís classification over that of Google Maps or your own experiences?
11) Public statements by the City and County and to a lesser extent the published reports (e.g. page 22) claim that the congestion is primarily at and due to the intersections and that the proposed improvements concentrate on widening only these. But this claim can easily be revealed to be false by anyone with access to Google maps. The procedure is simple: Some morning starting before 8am set a route from the intersection of 120th and South Boulder Road to Arapahoe and 28th (reverse the direction for the evening commute). Be sure "leave now" is selected in the options. Then refresh every 10 or 15 minutes. See all those orange and red segments? Are they only or even primarily at the major intersections? No, in fact they're distributed all along the route and are primarily due to traffic turning in and out of side streets, a problem the current proposals do not even address because they all lack central turn/merge lanes. How does this behavior compare with what you see on South Boulder Road? Why did the City and County make this mistake? Probably because the "planners" they assigned to this project are not engineers (indeed, in both cases they're not even in the main transportation engineering departments, but rather to specialized "multimodal" groups within those departments). Shouldn't we insist that the City and County assign qualified engineers do this modeling and design work instead of relying on planners and other public policy "experts" (or as I call them "amateur social engineers")?
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you really need to take a minute to ask the City Council (email@example.com) and County Commissioners (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reboot this project. Otherwise *all* of us will suffer the consequences of your failure to act. And if youíre tired of seeing this kind of behavior from elected officials over and over ad infinitum, this is exactly the sort of problem that the Matchism Manifesto (http://www.matchism.org/) and https://www.proxyfor.me/ are designed to address.
Scott Raney, PhD