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Today’s Headlines

  • Wheat Ridge’s One RTD Station Will Have “More Than Just Another Clustered Development” (DenPo)
  • State Employees Misused Fleet Vehicles, Costing Taxpayers $1.4M (Denverite)
  • Colorado Springs Police Search for Hit-and-Run Driver Who Killed Person Walking (CBS4)
  • Colorado’s Major Cities Comprise a Sprawling “Megaregion” (Denverite)
  • CDOT Thinks Personal Breathalyzers Can Curb Drunk Driving (CBS4)
  • Neighborhood Life Covers Outreach Efforts for Denveright Plans

More headlines at Streetsblog USA


What Denver Council Member Robin Kniech Learned From Relying on RTD

What if all public officials walked in the shoes of their constituents who depend on transit? How would influence their thinking on issues like improving bus service or building out better sidewalks?

In October, at-large Denver City Council Member Robin Kniech ditched her car and used RTD for a few days to support a statewide minimum wage hike that voters later passed. What she experienced were the everyday indignities, inconveniences, and outright hazards that Denver transit riders know all too well.

She had to choose between waiting for a bus in the mud, or in the street where drivers whizzed by. She had to go far out of her way because RTD didn’t offer a direct east-west route. She had to navigate a fare system that should be much easier to figure out.

Kniech also happens to be on the task force for Denver’s first-ever transit plan. I spoke to her recently about her experiences riding the bus. Here’s what she had to say.

Where were you going?

I started my day from home in Park Hill and I took the bus to my first appointment, which was in the City Park area. Then I got back on the bus in City Park to go downtown. And I was in downtown for a chunk of the day, and walked to my meetings that were nearby. Then I took the bus to my son’s bus stop in northwest Denver. Then him and I had to take the bus downtown — and this is a policy issue — because there is no bus I could take to get from northwest Denver to northeast Denver.

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From Pennsylvania, a Preview of How Trump & Co. Might Bully Cities

How much will cities be threatened by the impending Trump presidency? An early front in this confrontation concerns immigration.

The money that supports revitalization programs in cities like Philadelphia is being held up for punitive cuts by a Pennsylvania lawmaker. Here Philadelphia's North Fifth Street Revitalization Project leaders participate in a community cleanup day. Photo: Plan Philly

Withholding Community Development Block Grants from from sanctuary cities would devastate organizations like Philadelphia’s North Fifth Street Revitalization Project. Photo: Plan Philly

Trump has threatened to revoke federal funds from hundreds of “sanctuary cities” that do not report undocumented immigrants to federal officials.

Jake Blumgart at Plan Philly reports that Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey has already embraced the spirit of Trump’s proposal, calling for the feds to withhold Philadelphia’s Community Development Block Grants because of its sanctuary city policies:

The CDBG program is a flexible financial assistance program for economically distressed jurisdictions. In Philadelphia, it supports a diverse array of more than 20 programs, from financial counseling to help families access Earned Income Tax Credits to security deposit assistance for homeless families..

A quarter of the funding supports economic development initiatives like those that [Philip] Green’s North 5th Street organization utilizes. For commercial corridor support organizations in neighborhoods like Olney, and for community development corporations more broadly, CDBG are an essential source of support.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Driver Kills 16-Year-Old Jory Coates, Who Was Trying to Cross Federal in Westminster (Fox31)
  • Boulder Police: Slain Boulder Bicyclist Ran Into Semi Truck (Daily Camera)
  • City Won’t Fix Dangerous Highland Intersection, So Resident Provided Pedestrian Flags (Tribune)
  • Hellish 38th Street Underpass Gets Street Lights and a Mural (DenPo)
  • Daily Camera Columnist: Boulder Preaches Inclusion as Housing Policies Exclude People
  • CSU to Expand Bike Share (Coloradoan)
  • Resistance to Street Camping Ban Has Momentum (Westword)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Elyria, Swansea Residents Tell CDOT: I-70 Widening Is a Nightmare

Photo: David Sachs

Local residents said the highway widening project “is intent on making us invisible.” Photo: David Sachs

Elyria, Swansea, and Globeville residents have a message for the Colorado Department of Transportation, Governor John Hickenlooper, and Mayor Michael Hancock: After being marginalized for decades, they won’t stand for a wider I-70 getting rammed through their neighborhoods.

About 75 people dug their heels in Thursday night at a community center in Swansea. After plenty of public hearings that went according to CDOT’s script, they wanted to wrest control of the conversation from CDOT and the City and County of Denver.

One of the most outspoken residents against the plan to dig a 40-foot trench and widen the freeway by four lanes is Anthony Lovato, a third-generation Swansea native who now lives in Globeville. Lovato also happens to be a CDOT engineer.

Lovato fearlessly spoke out as a private citizen. “I am a CDOT employee, but I don’t speak for CDOT. I don’t represent CDOT,” he said. “But I’m totally against this. I’m against the ditch.”

Lovato’s mother still lives in Swansea, but his father died of cancer at 59. He questioned whether the air and soil pollution spawned by the city’s historical neglect of the neighborhoods led to his dad’s early death. Lovato also shared his professional opinion about tripling the size of a road that has divided the mostly Latino, working class neighborhood from the rest of Denver since the 1960s.

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Streetsblog USA
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Study: Diagonal Intersections Are Especially Dangerous for Cyclists

This week, Cambridge, Massachusetts, unveiled plans for a “peanutabout” that will make a tricky intersection with irregular angles safe for cycling. This type of design intervention could be crucial for locations that new research suggests are especially dangerous.

This new deigned for a diagnoal intersections in Cambridge includes protected bike lanes and a ? on a round-about that locals call a "peanutabout." Image via Boston Cyclists Union

At this irregular intersection in Cambridge, the city plans to improve safety with what the locals call a “peanutabout.” Image via Boston Cyclists Union

In a study published in the journal Injury Prevention [PDF], a team led by Dr. Morteza Asgarzadeh of Harvard’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health found that non-right-angle intersections are especially prone to crashes that cause severe or fatal injuries to bicyclists.

Asgarzadeh and his team mapped 3,300 injury crash locations in New York city involving a motorist and a cyclist. Then they analyzed the relationship between a number of factors and injury severity, including street width, weather conditions, gender and age of the cyclist, and posted speed limit.

In most cases, researchers did not identify a significant link. But the researchers did find that a few conditions are correlated with more severe injuries.

Crashes that occurred at diagonal intersections were 37 percent more likely to result in severe injury or death than crashes at right-angle intersections. In addition, while 60 percent of bike-car crashes happen at intersection, cyclists hit by a cars on straightaways — not at intersections — were 31 percent more likely to be killed or severely injured. The researchers hypothesize that crashes on straightways may be more deadly because drivers are traveling at a higher speed.

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Seattle Transit Agencies Move Toward Mobile Ticketing

This graphic shows how a Sound Transit transit fare purchased on a ell phone will appear. Image via Seattle Transit Blog

Sound Transit will launch mobile ticketing next week. Image via Seattle Transit Blog

We have the technology to make transit fare payment faster and more convenient. Agencies around the world are making progress on fare collection innovations that improve riders’ experience — with benefits like shorter trip times, getting more transit trips for your buck, and demystifying the process of buying a fare for new riders.

Two Seattle agencies are about to adopt a new method of fare collection. Zach Shaner at Seattle Transit Blog reports that Sound Transit and King County Metro are rolling out a mobile payment option:

On Thursday, King County Metro and Sound Transit will announce Puget Sound’s first mobile ticketing app, called TransitGoTicket. The app will allow Metro and (some) Sound Transit riders to purchase tickets and day passes on their phones without having to buy or use an ORCA card. The iOS app is already live, with Android and Windows to follow Thursday.

The 6-month pilot project is funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). After 6 months, Metro and Sound Transit will likely conduct a Title VI analysis before deciding on a 6-month extension. If deemed successful after 1 year, the program would become permanent. Ongoing costs include 1.5% of mobile fare revenue to ByteMark and a $126,000 annual fee once in full production (after the pilot ends). New agencies could join for $45,000.

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Today’s Headlines

  • It’s Actually Illegal for Buildings to Block Mountain Views in Some Parts of City (9News)
  • Boulder Planning Board Rejects Mixed-Use Development Along Transit Because Parking (Camera)
  • Highlands Ranch Residents Convene to Bring Light Rail Into Suburb (Herald)
  • Golden Man Floats Absurd Ballot Measure to Close Front Range to Newcomers (Denverite)
  • Councilman Espinoza Abandons Role in Development Following Tampering Accusations (DBJ)
  • Changing Neighborhoods Mean Homes of Different Shapes and Sizes (Confluence)
  • Parade of Lights to Close Downtown Streets to Cars (Denverite)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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What Denverites Want: Less Traffic, Better Transit, More Affordability

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These are the changes that Denver residents want to see most. Chart: City and County of Denver

Denver residents want to live in a city with less traffic congestion, lower housing costs, and better transit options, according to a recently released survey [PDF] that will inform Denveright, the city’s plan for transit, walking, land use, and parks.

As Denver grows, residents are concerned about affordability and “getting around,” according to the survey. The population is getting bigger, so we have to make more efficient use of our streets. And that means we need to prioritize transit by adding more frequent service, building dedicated bus lanes, and equipping street signals with technology to give buses the right of way at intersections.

“The streets that we have, particularly in the city proper, are the streets that we have,” said Transportation and Mobility Director Crissy Fanganello at a Denveright meeting today. “And they’re not growing. So how do we move more and more people in the existing street system is the big challenge for us.”

The city has a lot of work to do to make that happen. Travel behavior is actually moving in the wrong direction. More Denverites drive solo to work now — 73 percent — than they did in 2005, and that number is rising.

“A lot of people say, ‘Well, that’s because we’re growing so much. We’ll just blame it on growth,'” said Fanganello. She pointed to Seattle, a city with a similar population “that is growing pretty much at the same rate.”

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Streetsblog USA
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The ‘Peanutabout’ Concept Could Be a Breakthrough for Diagonal Streets

A proposed design in Cambridge. Image: Kittelson and Associates via Boston Cyclists Union.

pfb logo 100x22Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets.

Wickedly good biking ideas continue to pop up in Massachusetts.

Last year, it unveiled the country’s best state-level bikeway design guide and Cambridge opened the country’s best new bike lane on Western Avenue.

On Tuesday, the Boston Cyclists Union shared the inspiring back story behind a new concept for the long, complex seven-way intersection created by the acute crossing of Cambridge and Hampshire streets. Like a lot of good ideas in modern American bicycling history, it involves Anne Lusk, a Harvard public health professor who’s been a major brain behind the spread of protected bike lanes in the United States. Last summer she connected BCU with engineering firm Kittelson and Associates, and dominoes started falling:

In mid-September, Bike Union executive director Becca Wolfson and representatives of Kittelson met with City of Cambridge staff to present our findings regarding the feasibility of the peanut design and the conceptual rendering for it. The City had considered and rejected as infeasible a roundabout solution for Inman, but had not considered a peanut-style mini-roundabout. The staff were favorably impressed and have since indicated an interest in including this roundabout approach alongside the “Bends” solutions as the pubic process moves forward.

In his post, BCU writer Steven Bercu lists the various advantages of this design for people walking, biking and driving. Here are the benefits for bicycle travel:

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