Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What Do Those Flashing Left-Turn Arrows Mean, Anyway?

Image Credit: The Coloradoan
Flashing yellow arrows above left turn signals warn drivers to yield to oncoming traffic. These signals may be safer than the solid green circle alone, because some drivers interpret the green as permission to turn without checking for oncoming traffic. Flashing yellow lights seek to reduce the number of severe injury or fatalities caused by crashes involving left turns, sometimes referred to as approach-turn crashes. They also provide traffic engineers more flexibility to respond to different volumes of traffic. 

For more information check out Alicia Stice’s article in the Coloradoan. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Big Thompson Canyon residents prepare for another lengthy US 34 closure

Image Credit: CDOT

Beginning October 2, 18 miles of US 34 will close for construction in Big Thompson Canyon. The construction will be completed in sections, with some opening by January and others opening in late May. Residents who live along US 34 between Mall Road and along CR 43 up to the Dam Store in Glen Haven will receive permits to travel US 34 during specific times. Non-canyon residents will detour on US 36 between Longmont and Estes Park during the closure.

US 34 closed last winter for permanent repairs in Big Thompson Canyon. The construction was expected to continue through 2020 with single lane closures, but instead CDOT is following an accelerated plan with another permitted closure this winter to finish construction in December 2018.

To learn more, read the article in the Reporter-Herald.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Status of State Safety Oversight Program Certification

Image credit: RTD Denver

Colorado is one of 30 states with a rail transit system. As a result, it is necessary to establish an FTA-certified State Safety Oversight (SS) Program by April 15, 2019. If the state does not obtain certification by the deadline, FTA is not allowed to obligate any federal public transportation funds to any public transportation agencies throughout the State. There are four stages in the program, and Colorado is currently on Stage 2. Colorado is expected to receive $122M in FTA funds in FY2019, the year the certification must be received. So far, only one state has received certification.

Test ride e-bikes at Ride Into the Future

Image credit: Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado is hosting a “Ride Into the Future” Electric Vehicle (EV) Showcase next Wednesday, September 20 from 11AM-2PM at the Alliance Center (1536 Wynkoop St) in Denver. The showcase will include information and test rides of electric bicycles (e-bikes). You may also test drive EVs from Tesla, Chevrolet, Nissan, and BMW. Participants will learn about car shares, e-bikes, rebates, knowledge, and other tools that fit your commute and lifestyle. Learn more and RSVP here.

Chinese cities putting the brakes on shared bikes

Image credit: Flickr
Some of China’s largest cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu are discouraging the expansion of the bike-sharing industry. Nationwide there are 70 bike-sharing brands, 16 million bicycles, and 130 million users, according to China's Ministry of Transport (MOT). City officials have expressed issues with haphazard parking of the bikes obstructing crowded areas and disrupting traffic, as well as the sheer amount of bikes creating safety concerns as the the large mass of new users interacts with motorized vehicles. Cities are now regulating the number of bikes on their streets and tightening the contractual obligations of shared bike operators. In hopes of finding a long-term solution, Chengdu will experiment with electronic fences, multi-story bike parking, and reallocation of bike fleets based on observed demand.

Learn more from Global Times and China Daily

Sunday bus service in Fort Collins doubles ridership expectations

MAX BRT bus at the South Transit Center. Image credit: Flickr/Transfort

August 27 marked the first day of Transfort's 365-day service, when the transit agency added Sunday and holiday service for the first time in its history. Sunday service comprises five routes in addition the MAX bus rapid transit line. On its first Sunday, Transfort had 2,000 boardings, doubling the expectation of 1,000 boardings. The routes are made possible through funding from City Council appropriations, Associated Students of CSU, and CSU.

More information about Transfort ridership is available by reading the Coloradoan article. Information about the routes, including maps and schedules, is available at the Transfort website.

Greeley-Denver Team is Finalist in Global Hyperloop One Competition

Image Credit: Greeley Tribune
Among hundreds of world-wide applicants, a Denver-Greeley team’s proposal for a Hyperloop route extending along the Front Range was chosen to move forward against nine other teams in the global Hyperloop One competition. The competition is seeking to identify the most viable route for an ultra-fast means of mass transportation, which has the potential to take passengers from Denver to Greeley in 6 minutes. Hyperloops transport passengers through low pressure tubes in pods that gradually accelerate up to airline speeds.

The Colorado Department of Transportation, the City and County of Denver, Denver International Airport, and the City of Greeley will now partner with AECOM to conduct a feasibility study for a route spanning from Cheyenne to Pueblo. For more information and to a view a video about the Rocky mountain Hyperloop project, check out Nate Miller’s article in the Greeley Tribune.

Skid-Resistant Surface Treatment for Curvy Roads to Reduce Crashes

Image Credit: EquipmentWorld.com
High-friction materials may help prevent motorists from sliding on wet pavement, especially along curvy sections. A combination of durable aggregate material and high-strength resin is said to increase the skid-resistance of road surfaces. An engineer from Pierce County, Washington reported the treatment “has been shown nationally to be effective at increasing safety and reducing collisions on roadway curves with a history of crashes where motorists drive off the road.”

For more information, see Kerry Clines’ article posted on Equipment World.

City considers sales tax to maintain streets

Image Credit: Flickr
Voters in the city of Conway, Arkansas will decide this November if the sales tax should increase by 0.375 percentage-points to fund street maintenance. The sales tax would raise $5.1M annually and sunset in 2023, unless extended by another vote of the public.

The City Council decided earlier this week to put the issue to the voters. The sales tax, if approved, could be used for maintenance of the city's collector and arterial streets, sidewalks, traffic signals and controls, multiuse pathways, and curbs and drainage systems.

Currently the City receives $1.4M annually from the state for road maintenance and has an estimated backlog of maintenance work worth $45M. According to the mayor, repairing roads now would extend the streets' lifespan by up to 12 years.

Learn more about the proposed sales tax from ArkansasOnline.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

18-month bridge construction to happen in 55-hours in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Turnpike exit. Image credit: Flickr/Ian Peters

Road construction can be a major issue for motorists, especially when it seems to drag on for an extended period. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has introduced the Accelerated Bridge Construction program, which will rapidly replace outdated bridges. As part of this, a bridge on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be replaced within 55 hours. This time-frame is down from an estimated 18-months if done over the course of weekends. The downside to this rapid construction is that the detour will add an additional hour-and-five minutes to the trip.

For more information about how Pennsylvania is trying to hasten road works, read the article from The Morning Call.