Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Extra-long trains backing up traffic at Fort Collins intersections

Train on BNSF in Fort Collins.

Freight rail has been in the news in Northern Colorado as a result of longer trains and maintenance. BNSF is running longer trains as part of an efficiency study of its network. Trains on the Great Western Railroad are running more frequently but in shorter consists. These trains have led to an increase in delays along many of Fort Collins' main streets.Construction is expected to continue throughout the summer, but no schedule has been posted for the longer trains on the BNSF track.

For more information, read the article from the Coloradoan.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Larimer approves agreement for ‘U.S. 34 access plan’ through Loveland

US34 from Masonville Rd to I-25. Google Maps
The City of Loveland, Larimer County, and CDOT have come to an agreement on the future needs of US34 from I-25 to Masonville Road. An intergovernmental agreement was signed on Tuesday, July 2, by representatives of the three agencies. The Access Control Plan (ACP) outlines safety improvements along the highway. These improvements can range from raised medians and traffic signals to alternative routes.

More information about the new IGA is available in the Reporter Herald article.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

It really is OK to zipper merge, even if other Colorado drivers hate you for it

Zipper merge diagram. Image credit: NCSU

"Zipper merges" can be frustrating, but they are actually recommended by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and law enforcement. Zipper merges happen when drivers in the lane ending at a lane reduction point on the road merge with vehicles in the thru-lane in alternating fashion. By doing this, demand is distributed equally, reducing the delay at the reduction point.

The Coloradoan listed the following steps to zipper merges:
  • Vehicles should fill both lanes as long as possible
  • At the merge point, those in the thru-lane have the right of way and aren't required by law to let you merge
  • Use your blinkers to indicate you wish to merge and make eye contact with the driver of the thru-lane vehicle to make sure they are willing to let you merge
  • If allowed to merge, do so smoothly and at the pace of traffic
  • A courtesy thank-you wave never hurts
For more information, read the articles at the Coloradoan.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

In wake of numerous deaths on Colorado railroads, new campaign urges drivers to ‘Stop. Trains can’t.’

Source: NHTSA
A new campaign is urging drivers and pedestrians to use caution when crossing railroad tracks. In Colorado, 14 people were killed in crashes involving a vehicle and a train from 2013 through 2017.

The railroad safety campaign, launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, CDOT, and other partners, is called "Stop. Trains Can't."

Drivers are urged to follow these tips to stay safe when crossing a railroad:
  • When approaching a railroad crossing, slow down, look and listen for a train on the tracks, especially at “passive” crossings without gates and lights.
  • Look carefully in both directions before crossing a rail track, even during the day. Sixty-seven percent of railroad crossing collisions occur in clear weather conditions.
  • Do not rely on past experiences to guess when a train is coming. Trains can come from either direction at any time.
  • Never race a train. It is easy to misjudge a train’s speed and distance from the crossing.
  • Before entering a railroad crossing, check that there is enough room on the other side of the tracks for your vehicle to cross completely and safely. Be aware that you may need to cross multiple sets of tracks at some railroad crossings.
  • Never stop on the railroad tracks. Keep moving once you have entered the crossing. To avoid stalling, never shift gears on the tracks.
  • If a vehicle stalls on a railroad track, quickly move away from the track and your vehicle at a 45-degree angle. Call the number on the Emergency Notification System sign, or dial 911 for help.
For more information, read the article in the Greeley Tribune.

Poudre Trail Update: One Step Closer to Completion

Image credit: Brendan Bombaci
On Tuesday, June 11, Larimer County Commissioners voted unanimously to allow the County to use $200,000 to purchase nearly 74 acres of land southwest of Timnath for a 1,700-foot addition to the Poudre Trail. The easement will be purchased using County Open Space Sales Tax.

This purchase will help fill one of three remaining gaps in the trail between Windsor and Fort Collins. Once completed, the trail will stretch 35 continuous miles from Greeley to Bellvue through four communities and two counties. Larimer County is working to secure the remaining land north of River Bluffs Open Space outside Windsor. To fund trail construction, Larimer County is submitting a grant application to Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) for $2M. If selected, the County would provide a $2M match.

The Poudre Trail is recognized regionally as Regional Non-Motorized Corridor #6 in the NFRMPO’s 2016 Non-Motorized Plan. Statewide, the Poudre Trail is recognized as the ultimate alignment of the Front Range Trail which will eventually connect New Mexico and Wyoming via Colorado’s Front Range.

Read more from the Coloradoan.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Backers believe this Front Range passenger rail plan is the real deal

Source: CDOT
With high growth projected along the Front Range and increasing congestion along I-25, a Front Range passenger rail system has long been the object of transportation aspirations. A feasibility study expected to launch this fall is bringing new hope to the vision of Front Range passenger rail, especially since the proposal has backing from Colorado Governor Jared Polis and CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew.

In May the Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission, along with CDOT, announced an RFP to study the feasibility of Front Range Passenger Rail. The study will analyze different multimodal options for service linking Fort Collins, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. The system could be funded through a ballot referendum vote on a regional transportation authority or special tax district.

For more information, read the article in the Coloradoan.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Fort Collins hires lobbying firm for Old Town quiet zone

BNSF train on Mason St, Fort Collins. Image credit: NFRMPO staff

The City of Fort Collins has been planning for a "quiet zone" in Old Town Fort Collins for many years. The city has paid for a lobbying law firm to address the issues with building out the Mason Corridor to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) compliance. To be in full compliance, the City would need to install gates, lights, and bells at every intersection the train crosses. A limited right-of-way and limited funds make building these at every intersection difficult. The lobbying firm will focus specifically on train horn noise in a contract that spans seven months.

For more information, read the article on the Coloradoan.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Call-N-Ride Shuttle to New UC Health Campus from Greeley Mall

Image credit: GET

Greeley Evans Transit is extending its service area to the UC Health Campus. Two levels of service will be provided:
  • Eligible paratransit customers will receive door-to-door service to go to their doctor or to meet other medical needs at the UC Health Campus. 
  • The general public can use curb-to-curb service to go to the doctor or meet other medical needs at the UC Health Campus. The service will run between Greeley Mall Transfer Center and the UC Health Campus.
To set up the trip, customers may call GET at least one day in advance up to 14-days in advance. Customers with appointments within the same reasonable time frame will be scheduled together. Eight sitting passengers and three wheelchair spots are available for each trip. Standing room will not be available. A $3 fare will be charged each way.

For more information, visit the GET website.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Bike infrastructure investments in Greeley match resident feedback

Image credit: City of Greeley
Although only two percent of workers commute to work by bike in Greeley, the City continues to invest in bike infrastructure, programming, and education initiatives based on supportive feedback from residents. According to survey responses from the City's 2015 Bicycle Master Plan, 75 percent of residents said improving biking in the City is very important and half said they are interested but concerned about getting on a bike. Countywide, one in four residents is "very concerned" about bicycle and pedestrian safety. Greeley is working to ease these concerns with plans to implement 126 miles of  bike lanes, 40 miles of trails and 62 miles of multi-use paths. This will connect more people to more destinations through safer, low-stress facilities. Greeley has also launched initiatives such as the "I Am A Bicyclist" campaign featuring local residents from all walks of life identifying as bicyclists. Both City and County staff hope these efforts will help shift perceptions towards biking as a viable option for all kinds of daily trips. 

Some of the projects Greeley residents, visitors, students, and business owners can look forward to include:
  • Construction of the Sheep Draw Trail between 71st Avenue and 83rd Avenue, with a trail crossing under 71st Avenue
  • Addition of bike lanes on 20th Street from 83rd Avenue to 90th Avenue
  • Addition of bike lanes on 4th Avenue from 8th Street to 16 Street
  • Signalized trail crossing for the Sheep Draw Trail on 20th Street, west of 77th Avenue
  • Extending bike lanes up to and through intersections at certain locations
Read more from the Greeley Tribune.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

U.S. Highway 287 project is almost over after more than three years

US 287 to LaPorte Roundabout           Image Credit: CDOT
Last week US 287 from Colorado 1 (Terry Lake Road) to the Laporte Bypass (County Road 54G) fully opened after completion of the largest roundabout on a state highway, widening to two through lanes in each direction and a center turn lane, and widening shoulders. Previously, the roadway was one through lane in each direction.

Striping work is expected to finish this week, and installation of sidewalk and a pedestrian bridge will continue until fall with minimal impacts to traffic.

The project began in early 2016, and its complexity led to the longer construction time. The project had to move utilities and work around railroad tracks, irrigation ditches, busy intersections.

The roundabout is 228 feet wide and includes a painted Colorado 'C' in the middle.

For more information, read the article in the Coloradoan.