Boulder Chamber signs letter objecting to RTD’s service reductions

A photo of a sunny paved road. In the distance there are snow capped mountains and each side of the road is surrounded by trees. The sky is blue with no clouds.

A group concerned about access to transportation in the Boulder area has sent a letter objecting to Regional Transportation District plans to reduce service in the Boulder Junction Access District.

The cuts in service were included in the RTD’s five-year system optimization plan.

In a letter dated July 25, the group that includes the Boulder Chamber, Boulder Transportation Connections, Boulder County Board of Commissioners, Commuting Solutions, and the city of Boulder, said that the density of potential system users in the Boulder Junction district requires restoration of services and additional services.

“Within Boulder Junction, there are more than 24 employers with more than 3,600 employees, 30% of whom are essential workers, and nearly 1,000 residents, 30% of whom qualify for affordable housing. Given that Boulder Junction district property owners pay an ongoing special district tax to provide EcoPasses for all residents and employees, it is important to recognize that EcoPass contributions account for significant annual revenue for RTD. Without commensurate RTD service that meets the needs of district residents and employees, we are concerned that Boulder Junction property owners will pursue a different TDM agreement in place of their current EcoPass agreement in the future.”

The letter said that RTD operated five bus routes from Boulder Junction in 2019, and the new five-year plan calls for just two. “The proposed significant long-term reduction in transit service at Boulder Junction is of serious concern since restoring service at Boulder Junction in a substantive way is critical for businesses to attract and retain staff and for transit-dependent riders to access needed services and destinations. Re-establishment of service at Boulder Junction is also essential to ensure convenient transfer connections between regional routes serving Fort Collins (FLEX), Longmont (BOLT), Gunbarrel (205), Denver, Denver International Airport and future regional bus rapid transit service.”

The letter requested multiple changes to the five-year plan:

  • “That the FF4 provide bi-directional service going to and from Boulder Junction in the morning and the evening in RTD’s next runboard. In the current SOP, FF4 is still uni-directional. This is of great concern, as there are bi-directional travel patterns for this corridor that we urgently need to serve, including more than 3,000 employees commuting to the Boulder Junction area.”
  • That the plan be clarified as to when the Depot Square Station will reopen. “RTD’s Depot Square Station and the other transit-supportive infrastructure in the Boulder Junction district is the result of more than $30 million in capital investment by RTD, CDOT and the city of Boulder voters, and there is significant transit-oriented development now surrounding it, including housing for lower income residents, as well as a great deal of commercial development. All this development was predicated on transit service to the area.”
  • That the Depot Square Station be reopened to support “Northwest Rail and Front Range Passenger Rail efforts underway that feature Boulder Junction as the primary passenger rail station planned to serve Boulder.”

The letter said that the restoration of RTD service in the area contributes to RTD’s “goal of serving social equity communities” because of the large numbers of lower-income workers who use the system.

The letter was signed by John Tayer, president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber; Amanda Mansfield, senior manager of transportation for Boulder Transportation Connections; Claire Levy, Boulder County commissioner; Audrey DeBarros, executive director of Commuting Solutions; and Natalie Stiffler, interim director of transportation and mobility for the city of Boulder.

 

View the full article on BizWest.

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