Monday, April 18

Monday Propaganda: What Planners Plan

While I am a Planner, I don’t plan much. The picture I had in my mind of where my career would go after college didn’t involve so many fence permits. And that's where Bike Arvada comes into play. I want to be involved in Transportation Planning. This was something I realized even before the ink on my business cards was dry when I started my current job. Unfortunately when I was sending out thundering hoards of resumes around the country I couldn’t be picky. I had exactly two options: my current job and a comparable one in coastal North Carolina where hurricanes are prevalent.

I don't scribble here on my wailing wall a lot about planning issues, but I am constantly analyzing the infrastructure as I pass by and over it. I peruse Google Earth on my lunch breaks and look for potential connections where none currently exist. I am seriously embedded in transportation cycling for many reasons; my own transportation needs not the least of them.

So its very exciting to me to see improvements moving along that seem both valuable to me for the community and for me as an individual. The City of Arvada has recently been awarded money to complete two different infrastructure projects. One is a Safe Routes to School improvement on Alkire north of 72nd. The other is an improvement project on my beloved Ridge Rd. Unfortunately the worst part of Ridge Rd is within the city limits of Wheat Ridge. I think I may be writing a letter to the City of Wheat Ridge very soon.

But regardless, the improvements will benefit me and my family and the community as a whole. The plans are to widen the bridge over Kipling to allow for bike lanes in both directions, as well as a pedestrian bridge. This is important to the community because there will be a light rail station on the future Gold Line between Kipling and Miller Street to the west. Currently there are not even shoulders on Ridge Rd in this section.

With this improvement there will be continuous cycling infrastructure or cycling friendly conditions from Independence (a block from my house) to Miller where you can turn north on nice bike lanes all the way to the Van Bibber Creek Trail.

Then the next piece of the puzzle comes into play. Jeffco Open Space has announced plans to extend the Van Bibber Creek Trail to the west closing a loop consisting of the Van Bibber Creek Trail, the Fairmount Trail and the Ralston Creek Trail. Construction is projected to start 2013-14, but the extension is still a postive step to greater connectivity in the area. It would give me another viable commuting option that would keep me off of roads that increase stress-related weight gain.

With these infrastructure improvements and the Gold Line going through my back yard with a station a half mile away the possibility of my family becoming truly carfree within the next five years is increasing dramatically. Once the light rail is completed out to DIA we will have no need of a family car. We'll have light rail access to Amtrak and airlines.

I keep my ear to the ground for opportunities to move into transportation planning. But for now I stay involved through Bike Arvada. I'm trying to learn as much as possible by being involved as a volunteer since I can't work directly in transportation now. And sometimes its frustrating because zoning tends to foster the wrong sorts of development and I can see it, but I can't do much about it from where I sit now. Life has given me enough perspective to realize that condition is only temporary.

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