Monday, August 19, 2019

Fort Collins missed another federal air quality deadline. Here's what that actually means

How Ozone is Produced. Image Credit: Simple Steps. Better Air.
The Denver Metro and North Front Range region is expected to implement higher emission controls for ground-level ozone, a pollutant that causes respiratory health issues, after the EPA announced last week the region did not meet federal standards for air quality.

The region is currently classified as a moderate nonattainment area for ozone. The EPA is proposing to reclassify the area as a serious nonattainment area for ozone, which requires stricter controls for emissions. The reclassification would set a new deadline of July 20, 2021 for the region to attain the air quality standard.

The EPA will hold a public hearing on the proposed reclassification on September 6, 2019 in Denver. Visit the EPA website to learn more about the reclassification proposal and to register to speak at the public hearing.

You can also read more in the Coloradoan.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

CDOT hosting telephone town hall Aug. 14 to discuss transportation in North Front Range and Northeast Colorado

Image Credit: CDOT

The Colorado Department of Transportation is seeking input on transportation issues in the North Front Range and Northeast Colorado during a telephone town hall tonight, August 14, at 6:30 pm. An automated system will call landlines selected at random in Larimer, Weld, and several other counties to invite residents to participate in the conversation. Everyone is welcome to join the call by dialing 855-710-6230 or by texting CDOTNE to 828282 to receive a call to their cell phone when the telephone town hall begins.

The conversation will inform the statewide transportation plan by identifying transportation needs and improvements within the region.

For more information, read the press release from CDOT.

Front Range Fails To Meet EPA Air Quality Rules (Again)

Hazy day in Colorado.

The Denver Metro/North Front Range 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area is still facing issues related to ground-level ozone. The nine-county region in Northern Colorado will work with the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin planning how to address air quality. This includes working with the oil and gas industry and promoting electric and zero-emissions vehicles. A public hearing is scheduled for September 6 at the end of the EPA's 30-day public comment period.

Read more from Colorado Public Radio.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Additional @RideBustang service being added in Colorado

Bustang bus at the old CDOT headquarters.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)'s Bustang program has proven to be a great success, especially in Northern Colorado. This success has led to the following recent investments:
  • Bustang to Broncos will return this season, leaving four hours prior to home games and returning half an hour after the end of the game. The service will also be available for the Rocky Mountain Showdown football game between Colorado State University and CU Boulder. Roundtrip tickets cost $30 and tickets can be purchased in advance. Find out more in this Coloradoan article.
  • Bustang to Estes Park will pilot a route from Denver Union Station through Westminster to Estes Park. The two trips will leave Union Station in the morning (7 a.m. and 8 a.m.) and return in the afternoon. The cost will be $10 roundtrip. The pilot will run from August 24 on weekends through September.
  • Snowstang will expand to Arapahoe Basin and Loveland ski areas in addition to Eldora Mountain ski area. There will be 40 days of weekend and holiday service between December and April. Cost is $25 for the round-trip ride.
  • An additional roundtrip service will run on weekdays between Fort Collins and Denver. The Fort Collins to Denver trip will leave at 7 a.m. and the Denver to Fort Collins trip will leave at 3:45 p.m. The cost will be $10 one way, the same as existing services. The service is expected to start September 16. Find out more in this Coloradoan article.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

I-25 North Express Lanes Project: Berthoud to Johnstown Open House, Aug 13 in Longmont

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Ralph L. Wadsworth/SEMA will begin construction on the I-25 North Express Lanes between Berthoud and Johnstown. Prior to construction, CDOT is hosting an open house:

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Southwest Weld County Building
The Del Camino Conference Room
4209 CR 24 1/2,
Longmont, CO 80504

During construction, two lanes of traffic on I-25 will be maintained in each direction during peak travel times, but drivers can expect overnight lane closures in the area. In addition, lane and shoulder widths will be minimized, and the speed limit will be reduced.

2045 RTP open for public comment through August 31, 2019

2045 RTP cover
The public comment period for the draft 2045 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) is open from August 1, 2019 through August 31, 2019. The 2045 RTP provides a long-range vision for the North Front Range regional transportation system and guides the implementation of multimodal transportation improvements, policies, and programs in the region. The NFRMPO has undertaken this 2045 RTP to extend the planning horizon for the region and to ensure FAST Act compliance.

The Draft 2045 RTP is available for review online (see link below) and at the NFRMPO office at 419 Canyon Avenue, Suite 300, Fort Collins, CO 80521. Public comments are due by 5:00 p.m. on August 31, 2019 to Becky Karasko at 970-416-2257 or Comments may also be submitted through the online Contact Us Form. Comments will be integrated into the 2045 RTP as appropriate and will be presented to the North Front Range Air Quality and Transportation Planning Council (NFRT&AQPC) on September 5, 2019.

Draft 2045 RTP

Monday, July 29, 2019

Share your thoughts on possible future Front Range Passenger Rail

Image credit: CDOT
The Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission staff, in coordination with CDOT, recently released a survey on potential Front Range Passenger Rail Service from Fort Collins to Pueblo. The two partners are considering how passenger rail service could meet the demands of our rapidly-growing State. Growth projections cited in the survey include:
  • If no improvements are made to the I-25 corridor, vehicle travel times are expected to double in the next 20 years. Passenger rail from Fort Collins to Pueblo could meet the demands of our growing state. 
  • Over 83% of Colorado’s population lives along the Front Range. In the next 25 years, the Front Range is forecast to grow from 4.9 million people in 2020 to 6.6 million in 2045, a 35% increase.
  • Larimer and Weld Counties together will grow 65% from 0.7 million to nearly 1.2 million people. El Paso County will grow 39% from 0.7 million to 1.1 million persons. Metro Denver will grow 27% from 3.3 million to 4.2 million people.
You can access the survey at the following links:

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.