CLRC Neighborhood Updates #8: A Tree Lost, Thursday’s Election Forum, Traffic Citations, Pool Closure, Redistricting and Much More


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends, 

I’m still catching up on the notes-to-members backlog.  There was too much material to fit in one Neighborhood Updates this time.  Look forward to Neighborhood Updates #9 soon.  Here’s our latest installment:

ARVADA SAYS GOODBYE TO AN OLD FRIEND

Downed Cottonwood at Garrison Street

Construction carries on at a fast pace at the Garrison Street park and at the new Wolff Park.  One of the most outstanding trees at the intersection of Ralston Road and Brooks Drive met its fate at the hands of a chainsaw last week.  The venerable old tree was simply too close to the bridge to have survived the new channel work. 

Garrison cottonwood during construction

In a note to the neighborhood association, Shelley Cook wrote, “This is heartbreaking — the tree was one of the most familiar and prominent.  But I can tell you that [City Forester] Craig [Hillegass] and his crew have done tremendous work to maximize the trees saved and keep the transplanted and remaining trees alive, through an incredibly dry and stressful summer.  They have installed an extensive watering system for the trees at both Garrison and K-8, and are out there every day tending to their wards.”

The City has recently updated its information page on park construction at Arvada.org with a good description of the channel and dirt work.  Follow this link to see more:

http://arvada.org/parks-and-recreation/garrison-street-north-jeffco-park-renovation

ELECTION FORUM ON THURSDAY NIGHT

Still undecided on which Colorado legislators to vote for?  The CLRC doesn’t cover elections for the Colorado General Assembly.  There seems to be too few local issues that are dealt with by our legislators for us to try to do interviews.  But that doesn’t mean these elections are not important. 

The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County is hosting several candidate forums.  One of these will be local and held at the Arvada City Council Chambers at 8101 Ralston Road on Thursday, October 4th, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  The invited candidates are running for Senate District 19 (Hudak/Sias) and House Districts 24 (Schafer/Leydendecker), 27 (Szabo/Allport), and 29 (Ramirez/Kraft-Tharp). 

And, no, you don’t have to be a member of the League to sit in on the forum.  Nor is Ralston Road expected to be closed for security reasons.  There will be plenty of seating available.  Most of us living near the central Ralston Road corridor are in Senate District 19 and in House Districts 27 and 29.

If you miss it, the candidate forum is supposed to be rebroadcast by KATV-8.  I don’t have a schedule for that.  However, you might also find a live broadcast link on the homepage of Arvada.org at 7:00 pm that night.

TRAFFIC TICKETS AT GARRISON STREET

Four-way red lights on Brooks Drive

I’ve noticed that not everyone is stopping at the four-way flashing red lights at Garrison Street and Brooks Drive.  The Arvada Police Department seems to have noticed as well and have been seen writing tickets for those not stopping.  There is something about a flashing red light and the distraction of nearby construction that is causing people (including me) to sometimes forget to come to a complete stop. 

The police can probably write as many tickets as they want to at that location.  I sat by the intersection recently and watched the cars going through it for about ten minutes.  About a third of the vehicles just slowed down as they went on through.  Pay attention and save yourself the aggravation and points of a citation by remembering to come to a complete stop.  California-style ‘rolling stops’ are not legal in Colorado.  

Remember too, that flag people anywhere on the park construction site have the same legal authority as a stop sign or a traffic light under Colorado law.  Flaggers are being used for lane closures on Carr Street and to help big trucks hauling loads out on Garrison Street.  Flaggers are not noted for being shy about complaining to the police when drivers blow past their STOP paddles.  A stop sign won’t write down your license plate number, but a flagger might.

WATCH YOUR KIDS — ANOTHER POLICE ALERT FOR CHILD ABDUCTIONS

Fitzmorris neighborhood street

It’s easy to forget when folks are so friendly in Arvada, but there are also some scary people out there.  The Arvada Police Department seems uncertain whether the abduction attempts are by one person or several. One of the most recent attempts happened near Fitzmorris Elementary School.

Please take a few minutes to tell your kids what to do if approached by strangers, and if you see anything strange going on, don’t hesitate to jot down a license plate number.  Here are the links to a couple of Denver Post articles about the most recent incidents:

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21547486/arvada-police-release-sketch-suspect-attempted-child-abduction?source=rss

and

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21539525/arvada-police-seek-man-who-tried-entice-two

ROAD CLOSURE ON RIDGE ROAD

Ridge Road Bridge

Starting in the middle of last month, the Ridge Road closure doesn’t seem to have caused traffic volumes to drop off on Independence Street. 

Arvada Station apartments

That may be because of the initial opening of the Arvada Station apartments just north of the Target store.  Most of those new apartments look like they are still under construction, so more of the traffic they will generate has yet to come. 

The City’s website says the Ridge Road closure is supposed to last two months, but RTD’s bus-stop-closed signs say the bridge stops will be open again on October 12th.  Here is the link to Arvada’s announcement: 

http://arvada.org/transportation/ridge-rd-overpass-at-kipling-pkwy-closure-notice

CITY COUNCIL REDISTRICTING

Will you be reassigned to another Council District?  The City is sometimes required to rebalance the Council district boundaries as the districts’ populations change.  Now is one of those times.  For almost all of us the answer to that question seems to be ‘no’. 

Right now all of us living along the central Ralston Road corridor are in either Districts 2 (Councilor Mark McGoff) or 3 (Councilor Shelley Cook).  And, of course, we have our three at-large representatives, Mayor Williams and Councilors Allard and Fifer.

At a recent Council workshop, the Arvada City Council was offered two proposals by City Staff in response to the need to update Council district boundaries.  One of those extended Councilor Zenzinger’s District 1 to the south while giving Councilor McGoff’s District 2 more of District 1’s western side.  Under that proposal, Councilor Cook’s District 3 would cover all of Olde Town rather than leaving it evenly split between District 2 and 3 as it is now.

The second proposal was to keep the existing boundaries as close to their current limits as they could be within the new Jefferson County precinct designations. 

Most Council members said that they were okay with either arrangement.  They felt they represented all of the City no matter who actually elected them.  But Councilors Allard and Zenzinger objected to significant changes in the district boundaries.  Mr Allard said that even minor changes in district boundaries have caused lasting complaints in the past.  Councilor Zenzinger said she had done a lot to interact with the residents in the western part of her district and didn’t want those residents and businesses to feel disenfranchised by finding they had a new Council representative.

The rest of the Council then agreed, and Staff was asked to prepare boundary changes that were as unchanged as possible.  Does that end the matter?  No, according to City Staff members.  Any boundary changes the City makes now will likely have to be changed again in five or six years because of the continuing population growth at the western end of the City. 

ARVADA’S VISITORS’ CENTER CRANKS UP A NOTCH

The Council recently approved an agreement with the Arvada Chamber of Commerce (CoC) to run a Visitors Center for the City of Arvada.  The CoC has had a Visitors Center sign outside its door for years, but this year it gets serious.  Instead of just promoting CoC members, the new Visitors Center will act as an agent for the entire City promoting Arvada as a tourist and Gold Line rail destination.  The ground floor of the CoC officdes on Grandview will be given over to the new center and will include restrooms and free coffee. 

Local businesses do not have to be members to leave brochures for distribution and those materials may now be distributed to other visitor centers around the state.  The Visitors Center’s new concierge will be an employee of the CoC, but will not have any other CoC duties and will answer to a new joint review committee.  The cost of having the concierge will be funded by the City of Arvada.  The new operating agreement takes effect this month.

Councilor McGoff pointed out that he was pleased to see that one of the duties of the new concierge is to help coordinate Arvada’s many public events to avoid scheduling conflicts. 

MEYERS POOL CLOSURE

In an online notice, Apex recently announced that the Meyers Pool at 79th and Carr is now closed indefinitely.  The facility is owned by the City of Arvada, but is maintained and operated by the independent Apex Park and Recreation District. 

Although more information is not expected for another week or so, the announcement currently says, “At this point all we know is that there is a substantial structural issue with some of the wooden support beams that have rotted internally.”  Closing a much-used facility for structural faults sound pretty serious.  In meantime pray for a light snow load on the building this winter.

Meyer’s scheduled aquatic events and lessons have all been moved to the Apex Center’s pool.  Please call 303-424-2739 for more information or check Apex’s website at

http://apexprd.org/meyers-pool-closed-notice

RALSTON ROAD CORRIDOR PLAN

The effort to have sidewalks installed on Ralston Road between Wadsworth and Kipling  (which has been going on since 2008) has now restarted.  After rejecting an earlier sidewalk and development proposal in October of 2011, the Arvada City Council approved a contract with the engineering firm of Felsburg Holt & Ullevig to interview over a hundred property owners along the corridor about their access needs and to come up with preliminary designs for sidewalks along the road.  The contract will cost $200 thousand and take a year to complete.

Ralston Road sidewalk near Carr Street

District 3 Councilor Shelley Cook said she saw the need to do the sidewalk upgrades in phases.  She urged Staff to identify which sections of the road needed reconstruction first.  Councilors Allard, Zenzinger, Fifer and McGoff voiced their support for Councilor Cook’s request. 

CLRC members T.O. Owens and John Kiljan used the public comment period to say they also supported early implementation for the worst parts of the corridor — even if temporary sidewalks had to be installed and then taken out for other improvements a decade later. 

Some sections of Ralston Road have no sidewalks at all, and the lack of safe sidewalks along the road has been a top issue for CLRC members.  Narrow lane width are also a problem for drivers who have to deal with pedestrians who will walk in the road when rain or snow make the existing walks impassable.

The Council meeting took place on September 17th.  For some reason the video of the Council meeting is not available online.  However, you can hear the audio at

http://static.arvada.org/media/120917_council.mp3

Fast forward to the play to the 30-minute mark to hear the corridor discussion.

The proposed schedule for the work can be seen by looking at the Council packet for the meeting on page 62 at

http://www.arvadarecords.org/councilpacket/past_week/2012…..09-17-2012, Council Meeting Packet.pdf

The last City update for the corridor plan can be found at

http://arvada.org/pages/ralston-road-corridor-plan-january-2012-update

A Council workshop presentation from last January with possible cross sections can be viewed at

http://static.arvada.org/docs/1327603652Jan_2012_PPT_and_Maps.pdf

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community regularly posts information on its website at http://www.ralstoncommunity.org/ as it becomes available.  Or you can friend us on Facebook.  Our new Facebook name is now ‘Clrc Arvada’.

John Kiljan, CLRC Notes: 303-423-9875 or jpkiljan@yahoo.com

October 3, 2012

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