The following was written by Russ Drabek, D.V.M. of Jefferson Animal Clinic. It is posted here with his permission.
I wanted to update you all on the meeting last week with the Ralston Road Citizen Advisory Committee & Transportation Committee led by Patricia Lorence, P.E., City Traffic Engineer. Also present were council members Shelley Cook and Rachel Zenzinger. The meeting was basically an overview of where the current concept came from and how we got to the 4 lane compact concept. We discussed the 24 comments that came in on the firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail and how those concerns or positive feedback might affect the corridor project. Those comments broke down into 5 major categories:
4 story buildings
One thing I think we all need to bear in mind is that this project has been 2 1/2 years in the making to this point. Many people have worked on the concept of how Ralston Road currently looks, how it should look in the future and how we can best accomplish that change that for safety reasons, aesthetics and future growth to have a viable community that is the most beneficial to all parties involved. I don’t believe that I have heard from anyone who does not feel that should be the goal. Then the question becomes – how do we do that and what does that mean? I was not involved in the initial planning stages of this concept so I don’t have the details as to how exactly the 4 lane compact became the decided upon concept. Ms. Lorence seems to have the idea that the city needs city council to approve this concept before anything else is done from an engineering standpoint to judge how each individual property might be affected by these changes. She seemed to say that there would be a lot of flexibility in this plan and that certain areas along the corridor might have little change because they already fit into the concept. Also that this plan allowed for those variations with median width and “maybe” elimination of the on-street parking where deemed appropriate.
Now – here is my opinion for what it is worth: I definitely have a problem giving the city a blank check at this point to make those types of decisions without an individualized study of exactly how each property might be affected and how the finances might work out for each of those properties. I do not feel that council should approve this in any way that will allow the city to act on the current plan without further investigation on an individualized basis. I personally do not feel that 16 feet of on street parking (8 feet on each side) is at all beneficial to my business, even if I were to lose some of my existing parking, and is unlikely to be beneficial to any businesses on the corridor. I do not feel that keeping the option of a streetcar or other transportation mode other than auto, city bus, bike and walking is either necessary or desirable. I feel we need to think within a more reasonable budget with potentially quicker impact. I understand dreaming big, that’s where big ideas and big outcomes come from. But I also don’t think Arvada needs a taj mahal when a grange is what is needed. As I said, I was not present in early meetings and perhaps most of Arvada feels we need and want the taj mahal and would prefer that the long term businesses on Ralston went elsewhere (which would likely include options in many cases to relocate more lucrative cities). I personally do not believe this is the case and I think the city and council should respect and reflect the voice of the common Arvada citizen and local business owners.
I DO believe that Ralston needs a makeover and has some significant traffic safety issues in it’s current state, but I think we need to go back to the drawing board. I think there IS room for some give and take, but asking at least some businesses to forfeit up to 14 feet of their existing property is not feasible. I feel that the concept needs to include an individualized study with a focus on how NOT to negatively impact existing businesses along the corridor. I feel that the current concept looked at things from a grandiose, aim for the grandstands thought process and is unrealistic in the immediate future and potentially be very unfair and dangerous to existing business and property owners.
I would encourage each of you to attend the October 10th city council meeting. Patricia Lorence will be presenting the city’s views on the 4 lane concept. I think it is important that we be there as business and property owners that will be the most affected by whatever is done.
I am happy to discuss any of these items and I do not intend to use this forum as my personal soapbox, but I am interested in other business/property owners feelings are so that we can present a unified voice. But the next agenda item for us should be to be present at the October 10th meeting. Thanks for your cooperation and I look forward to seeing many of you there. Sincerely, Russ Drabek