August 9, 2011
by John Kiljan
Dear CLRC members and friends,
This is a different format than the CLRC News articles you are used to seeing by now. The recently organized Ralston Complex Advisory Group (RCAG) seems to call for an alternative format for interacting with our membership.
Hopefully, if you pretend we are talking to each other at an informal subcommittee meeting, this new “CLRC Notes” format should make sense. If it doesn’t, please let me know and we might be able to change it within the limits our website sets for us. Yes, it’s written in the first person. And to provoke discussion, readers should expect commentary — and a few opinions as well.
And, of course, we’ll still have the old CLRC News format for the CLRC’s regular news postings.
But the real reason for this note is to let you know how RCAG is being organized, how we can participate and why it is important to do so — even if you are not interested in all of the development programs that are on the table.
The RCAG was set up by the City of Arvada’s management at the prompting of the City Council to collect feedback on a series of developmental projects along Ralston Road’s central corridor. By now it is a familiar list: the new Garrison Street park design (which we are told is 90% complete), the Triangle redevelopment (the ODP is approved, but no private-sector offers yet), the bridge reconstruction and traffic diversions that go with it (starting this fall), the rechannelization of Ralston Creek and the on-street dirt-hauling trucks needed to do that work (this winter), the new K-8 park (also this winter), pedestrian safety and the widening of the Ralston Road corridor (months, maybe years).
Hopefully, that list can be expanded to cover other issues the CLRC membership has brought up, such the need for neighborhood recreational facilities. For that, however, the group would have to go well beyond its planned December 2011 ending date.
The RCAG’s first organizational meeting was held on July 7th and the next is planned for 6:30 PM on August 11th (Thursday) at City Hall’s Anne Campbell room. The meetings are open to the public. No agenda is yet available for the next meeting. The first meeting was just organizational and I wasn’t able to attend.
RCAG membership is by invitation only. It looks like a dozen or so organizations and individuals concerned with the corridor have that invitation. Our own T.O. Owens is the representative for the CLRC. Our neighborhood association only gets one rep — although I might sit in as an alternate when T.O. is away on business. T.O.’s job is to bounce ideas off our membership and feed them back to the advisory group and to City Staff at subsequent meetings. I’ve volunteered to help him do that.
The Arvada City Council seems to have high hopes for this committee. They recently urged the City’s staff to use it to review the recently proposed Ralston Road Corridor Plan. That plan is expected to be controversial. It includes lane widening, on-street parking, closed-off turn lanes, a good dose of urban development near residential neighborhoods and a big price tag. The Council would like to see it vetted by a citizen’s committee before they approve its implementation.
City Staff, lead by Vicky Reier, will facilitate the meetings. There is no chair for this committee. Formal plan approvals by the group’s members seems unlikely. The goal of the committee, as Transportation Committee representative Bill Knott put it, is to give the City the group’s “informed consent” on the project material they are given.
Ms Reier has promised to provide significant support. That includes a dedicated City web page with advance online handouts, agendas and meeting notes from the previous meeting. That’s a good thing. Graphics files are often too big to be sent out via email and are hopeless for those who use a dial-up connection. It’s hard to provide thoughtful instant feedback on plans that have just landed on your lap at a meeting. And meeting notes are a pain to write up. The City’s web page has not yet been set up.
To handle open-meeting visitors and outside contributors, the group has decided to allow public comment but to limit it to ten minutes at the beginning of each meeting.
So how do CLRC members and friends participate? You can start by using the feedback/comments block at the bottom of this posting. Our blog-type website is setup for exactly for this kind of thing.
If you disagree with something that’s been written, don’t be shy. After all, we’re all working toward the same goal of a better Arvada. Many heads are better than one and disagreement can often be more productive than concurrence.
Or call your representative, T.O. Owens, at 303-927-8888 or me at 303-423-9875. Or show up at the RCAG meetings. There’s no set meeting schedule yet, but we’ll keep you posted on when the meetings are to be held.
Even better, review the planning materials as they become available and print up a dozen or so copies of your comments to be handed out to the RCAG members. Or, we can meet informally to go over the review materials we’re given. It’s hard to schedule a meeting room on short notice, but a small group can always meet at the park, a coffee shop, a fast-food restaurant or someone’s home.
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community will post more advisory group notes online along with any agendas and notes we get on our website at http://www.ralstoncommunity.org/ . And don’t forget to check back to each note’s posting from time to time to see what other members might have to say.