Saturday, September 21, 2013

The N Bus Rides Again

Location: Nederland, CO 80466, USA
The Nederland N Bus has the highest per capita ridership
in the entire RTD Region
The N Bus is back by popular demand, and for a limited time only.

Starting Monday, Sept. 23, RTD will run a morning service and an evening service Monday through Friday, between Nederland and Boulder, through Gilpin County. The bus by Via Mobility will run smaller buses through Sunshine Canyon during the day, and The Climb is back. Here is a link to all the details.

Boulder Canyon has been raised to one of the top priorities for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The road has been assessed, the contract has been issued, and the contractor was mobilized a several days ago.

In addition, I had been working to find alternatives to get the N Bus, up and running again. As you know, the N Bus has the most ridership per capita in the entire RTD Region, and it means a lot to our community. I explain it in more detail here: Nederland EcoPass Success and here: Nederland EcoPass Moves Forward.

There was a hiccup, and we were so excited that we sent out an earlier notice prematurely. But this time it is real. I know it must have felt like getting a touchdown, and having the referee throw a flag on the play. This is how it happened:

CDOT agreed to allow a bus through once in the morning and once in the evening on the condition that it was escorted, because it would be the only vehicle allowed in the canyon. I contacted RTD District O Director, Chuck Sisk to confirm that they had a driver, buses, and would coordinate the route. RTD exceeded my expectations by providing two buses for each trip to handle the anticipated volume. We had the times and places established, and we were excited that we could put the plan in place in 24 hours. Touchdown!

Wait! There was a flag on the play, The Colorado State Highway Patrol called a foul. They would not allow the escort. So, we were called back with a 5 yard penalty, and re-take the play.

This all happened in a matter of hours and I thought we had sealed the deal, so I had gone to my regular meeting at the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG). I drove through Black Hawk to Denver. As a matter of background, one of DRCOG's main focuses, is transportation infrastructure funding and planning. Some of their other impacts to Nederland I mention here: Expanding Services in the Mountains in Spite of Federal Cuts, and here: A Lumberjack, a Doctor, and a Tree Hugger, walk into a Bar.

That evening, DRCOG heard a presentation from Don Hunt, the CDOT Executive Director. I saw the email informing me that the Colorado State Highway Patrol blew the whistle and threw a flag on the play, all while I was sitting in a room among all of the top transportation decision makers in the Denver Metro Region.

One of which, was Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones, and Boulder County Transportation was also driving the routes and collaborating on alternative plans to bring back the N Bus through Gilpin County. This too was a bit complicated because Gilpin County Taxpayers rejected RTD many years ago.

I have to say that, all of the entities involved, (CDOT, RTD and Boulder County) kept me in the loop throughout the process, and it was great communication that made it happen. In the middle of it, U.S. Congressman, Jared Polis called me from Washington DC in between his meetings, and helped facilitate the conversation. I am grateful for all.

We still scored a touchdown before the clock ran out. It just took an extra play.

Here is how Valerie Castro from CBS4 News in Denver, covered our story on Boulder Canyon last Tuesday: Nederland Residents Hope For Quick Repairs In Boulder Canyon

[Here is a Video Valediction] This is The Beatles performing Ticket to Ride at Shea Stadium (1965). [What is a Video Valediction?]
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