October 7, 2011
by John Kiljan
Dear CLRC members and friends,
If you care about Ralston Road, now is the time to come to City Hall and express your thoughts and views.
Are you concerned about adding street-side parallel parking to Ralston Road? About changing the traffic flows along the corridor and possibly on parallel residential streets as well? About the number of years it will take to construct safe sidewalks on the road? About the impacts of taking 14 feet or more of property from businesses along each side the road for its widening? About the effect on adjacent residences when rezoning for four-story multi-use buildings along the road? On nearby schools and parks? On the urban redevelopment areas at each end of the corridor?
The Arvada City Council cares about all these things and more — and they care what you think as well. The Council will be holding a special Town Meeting at 7:00 PM as a part of their regular Monday City Council meeting. The meeting is primarily being held to hear public feedback about the recently completed Ralston Road Corridor Plan. The plan, which took a year and a half to develop, has a number of potentially controversial elements in it. But it is also a plan that is intended to bring many benefits to the City and to the central Ralston corridor.
The Council hopes to use this community input session to set up the basic ground rules for constructing usable sidewalks and widening the road between Kipling and Wadsworth Boulevard and also for future development projects along the corridor.
This meeting (also billed as a Community Comment Meeting, or Town Hall meeting, or study session, or public comment hearing or simply a Public Meeting) is being held in advance of the October budget action needed to fund the engineering design work for the corridor through 2013. Unless the proposed plan is modified, no actual construction (sidewalks included) is expected to take place until after then — and then only in the western Triangle shopping center area. The entire seven-year plan that is up for approval is contained in a draft final plan that is available online. The 200-page document (with appendices) can be found on Arvada.org at this link:
Fortunately, citizens don’t have to wade through all 200 pages. There is a nice ten-page executive summary with the 2011 through 2018 implementation schedule that can be found on pages ES-1 through ES-10 of the plan.
Change and urban development plans are always hard on some. The plan has been described by its developers as being potentially controversial on several levels. The controversial elements may be those that call for
– allowing parallel parking along the road to serve existing and future businesses,
– the closing off of the central turn lane with concrete medians except at signalized intersections,
– less than standard 12-foot through lanes,
– effectively restricting through traffic on a major Arvada arterial,
– the possibility of traffic diversions onto 57th, Grandview, Brooks Drive and Garrison Street,
– using the existing central turn lane as a mid-block planting zone for trees or shrubs where it is closed off and not needed for turn lanes,
– acquiring approximately 14 feet of additional right of way at mid-block on each side of the road for new sidewalks, furnishing strips and parking,
– acquiring additional rights of way beyond the 14 feet for turn lanes and other improvements at intersections,
– the probable condemnation of six business properties currently located along the road,
– removing the Holland Street signals,
– the reconstruction the Triangle and Olde Town segments before the residential connecting corridor between them,
– delaying sidewalk construction along the residential part of the corridor until 2018 at the earliest,
– having a price tag that runs well over the $3.5 million originally envisioned for the sidewalk-improvement only project, and
– having no funding source for the updated $15 million project cost, which, in turn, may delay needed sidewalk and lane widening construction for many years beyond the proposed schedule,
The Town Meeting is intended to be a listening session for the Council and no formal action is expected on Monday night. However the meeting may produce Council policy statements and substantial guidance for further preliminary design and construction schedules for proposed project in the coming year.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Some Council members have been very open about the transportation and safety needs of the corridor. Councilors Bob Dyer and Mark McGoff have already expressed differing views about what should be done with Ralston Road in their CLRC candidate interviews. Both of those interviews are available as recent posts on the www.RalstonCommunity.org website. Look for more candidate interviews next week.
And be sure to check our archives for earlier articles on the development of the Ralston Road Corridor Plan. Here are several links to help you do that:
Can’t attend the Town Meeting, but still want to participate? Arvadans are also invited to view the meeting via KATV live video at the View Arvada Channel 8 LIVE link on Arvada.org or on Channel 8 on your local cable channel.
Or you can view the meeting afterward on Arvada.org’s streaming video link at
The City Staff is no longer taking comments on the corridor plan, but the Council is. You may contact your individual Council members by using the contact information published on the inside cover of each issue of The Arvada Report. Don’t wait too long. The plan is expected to be approved, with our without modifications, with the October budget which should be finalized by the middle of the month.