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Public Roundtable: Transportation: Traffic, Transit and Trucks

March 11, 7-9 pm at the Summit Community and Senior Center.

Moderator: Howard Hallman, President, Our Future Summit Attendees: 32

Participants: Michael Penny, Chairman of the I-70 Coalition and Frisco Town Manager; Captain John Lupton, Colorado State Patrol for Summit and Clear Creek Counties; Brian Good, Director of Operations and Maintenance for Denver Water; John Jones, Summit Stage Director; Summit County Sheriff John Minor

Michael Penny opened the community conversation on transportation by summarizing the efforts of the I-70 Coalition over the last decade; it has been a collaborative effort of entities and ideas with the end result a consensus recommendation. Until a federal Record of Decision occurs and money becomes available, the process is on hold. If the Coalitionís recommendations are approved the single largest construction project in the nationís history would be the result.. More immediate improvements include the Silverthorne interchange, zipper lanes, four-day school weeks. While no money is currently available to put plans into action, it is important to have projects like the Silverthorne exit 205 interchange engineered and shovel-ready.

Other early action items for reducing I-70 congestion include lane improvements, moving the weigh/inspection station from Dumont to Empire Junction and prohibiting trucks from using the passing lane on the steepest inclines.

Implications of increased vehicle capacity to the mountains include impacts on the forest, water, air, ski resorts, housing, noise levels, habitat, quality of mountain living, and transportation.

Captain John Lupton of the Colorado State Patrol has one goal: to keep the roads open while enforcing the law. Lupton deals in the every day problems and solutions of what leads to traffic congestion. Signs and a targeted road philosophy are employed to keep the public aware of immediate road conditions and the Patrolís presence. CDOT and the State Patrol have reduced the time it takes to tow a vehicle from the highway from 45 to 30 minutes.

The patrol places emphasis on three aspects of highway transportation: engineering, education and enforcement.. The CSP has 611 patrol officers statewide, with 20 serving the Summit/Clear Creek County area. During any 24 hour period, six patrol cars are on duty, three on each side of Loveland Pass and the tunnel.

Subsequent conversation centered upon strategies to entice ski resort day trippers and other travelers off the highways during peak periods by taking advantage of special discounts on meals and lodging. Better use of variable messaging systems to inform drivers about road conditions and options was a popular suggestion.

Facing a $1.42 million deficit due to reduced revenues last year, John Jones, director of the Summit Stage has overseen a policy to cut back services and use more efficient scheduling of bus drivers to limit costs. The Stage seeks to return funding to the level it was in 2006/07 (operating on 96% sales tax revenue). Greyhound Bus Lines is now offering $17 one way service to DIA. New daily service to and from Lake County is underway funded by Lake Country, CDOT and user fees. A new van that accommodates handicapped passengers has been purchased and will be delivered in June. Mountain Mobility received praise for its service.

Working together since the Dam Road closure in 2008, Brian Good of Denver Water and Sheriff John Minor were in obvious and cordial agreement that the goal is to reopen the Dillon Dam Road 24/7 to passenger vehicles. They agreed on the need to balance security with public access, using smart technology along with smart solutions. Great strides in communication have been made since the sudden road closure two years ago. Denver Water Board and Summit County are now on the same dispatch radio frequencies and Good and Minor can reach each other at any time.

Related articles:

State Sen. Dan Gibbs presses ahead with I-70 laws
New commander of the Colorado State Patrolís Summit and Clear Creek troop expresses some of his concerns with proposed highway

Feds want user-friendly version of I-70 study ę Summit County Citizens Voice
Planning for I-70 improvements is moving at a pace something like the traffic down to Denver on a Sunday afternoon, Michael Penny said at a transportation forum in Frisco Thursday evening


























Our Future Summit is a program of The Greenlands Reserve

 Howard Hallman, President