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$2.7M comes to Colorado Blvd, teleworking *is* working, and more  — read on!
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January 2021

The Smart Commuter

Colorado Boulevard Gets Some Love | 144th FlexRide Returns to a Fixed Schedule | Commuter Survey Results Point to Power of Telework | Smart Commute Works with Region on Commute Regulation | N Line Commemorative Book Pick-Up Events |  and news to peruse — read on!
RTD Riders:  Sign Up for real-time alerts for your routes on the RTD Rider Alerts page.

Waiting for the N Line?  Check out RTD NextRide, available by phone, tablet or computer.

The CDOT Transportation Commission recently approved a list of 30 projects in support of the Safer Main Streets Program.  Included in the list of $58.9 million, $2.7 million will be used locally to improve the safety and accessibility of Colorado Boulevard from 68th to 70th.

The Colorado Boulevard Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements Project is located near the Commerce City | 72nd Station of the N Line, and no sidewalk or active transportation infrastructure currently exists in this corridor (seen easily in Google Street View).  This corridor is directly adjacent to housing, and will provide safe access to the new station from the neighborhood.

Specifically, this project will improve Colorado Boulevard by adding curb and gutter to the outside edges of the travel lanes, and multi-modal facilities will be provided through a six-foot wide concrete sidewalk on one side of the roadway and a 10-foot wide bike path on the other side of the roadway. Drainage improvements will be included as part of this project, as well as street lighting, further improving safety in this area for all roadway users. This project will provide alternate modes of travel for the existing neighborhood and commuters to the new N Line rail station.

For more information about the Safer Main Streets Program, visit the CDOT News Release.

On January 11th  the 144th FlexRide achieved the monumental task of going back to a fixed-route schedule during weekdays!  We are excited about this latest tweak (#7, if you are keeping track!) because it means the businesses and patrons at all four corners of 144th can now rely on time points to use the service.
 
Here are some highlights we’d like to draw your attention to:
  1. Pay attention to the time points for the new weekday schedule – they are different from the Saturday scheduleThis is especially important for the riders who are riding so frequently that they have the schedule memorized.
  2. We will be meticulously observing how this new schedule works with bus connections at Wagon Road.  If we are missing connections, we will contact RTD to make necessary adjustments (contact us if you have a suggestion).
  3. Finally, we still do not have full mid-day service during the weekdays from 10 am to 4 pm - this is another difference between the weekday and Saturday schedules.*   
*The FlexRide areas east of I-25 have mid-day, on-demand service you can schedule by calling 303.299.6000.  This covers trips to the Grove, Denver Premium Outlets and Amazon, and connects these places to the Wagon Road Park-n-Ride and the N Line at Eastlake/124th Station mid-day.  (If you are on the west side of I-25 looking for a ride mid-day, we recommend calling the number above and customer service can direct you to the nearest point on the Thornton side to drop-off/pick-up the bus - this will most likely be the gas station south of 144th across from Amazon!)
 
For questions about the 144th FlexRide, contact Jeanne.
In December, Smart Commute released the full report on the 2020 North Metro Commuter Survey.  2020, which was a year unlike any other, showed stark differences from previous years, one of which was the sudden emergence of teleworking as a normalized commute option.

Without special attention, the normalization of teleworking might be swept aside.  However, Smart Commute advocates for teleworking as an important commute option alongside transit, biking, carpooling and walking.  We want to make sure that our Smart Commuters understand why teleworking is an important option, and the resources available to support teleworking in the workplace.

In 2019, teleworking represented a mere 2.5% of all commute reported by survey respondents.  In 2018, it represented 2.4% reported commutes.  In 2020, as would be expected, this figure grew enormously, representing about one in three commutes reported by survey participants.  The growth in teleworking in 2020 is directly responsible for a corresponding drop in the drive-alone rate (from 88.4% of all commutes in 2019 to 61.7% of all commutes this year).  This is important, because, as a region, Denver will soon be responsible for reducing our "mobile source" emissions by reducing drive-alone commutes.  We've talked about the reasons behind this in past issues, and we mention our current work in this area briefly below.

If every employer implements a reasonable telework policy allowing employees to telework 1-2 days each week, we would significantly reduce our drive-alone commutes as a region (we do NOT recommend full-week teleworking unless an organization's model benefits from exclusive remote work).  Such a telework policy is reasonable, and has tangible benefits for both our region and the implementing organization itself (as flexible work policies are correlated to employee retention).

Smart Commute has been working locally to support teleworking for years.  We've heard it all.  Additionally,  we are grant-funded by Way to Go to implement teleworking, and we do not charge employers for the time and assistance to get teleworking "right" for their company. 

We encourage anyone exploring teleworking to visit our teleworking resources page to get a quick look at some easy-access resources we have, but recommend just setting up a meeting to discuss your organization's goals with a codified teleworking program.
In early 2020, Smart Commute began working on an Employer Trip Reduction Program (ETRP) Working Group, along with our sister organizations across the Denver Metro, the Denver Regional Council of Governments, and the Regional Air Quality Council.  This working group is meeting due to the Denver region's recent reclassification to a "Serious" nonattainment area under the Clean Air Act.  We are working on this problem as a region, and want to make sure our Smart Commuters are aware of the work being done, and the reasons we're doing it.  
Be a Part of the Solution
Smart Commute created a one-of-a-kind N Line Project Commemorative Book, and included this book as a surprise gift to TransForum attendees in October 2020.  While this book is available for purchase (or at local libraries, for reservation), TransForum attendees will have a chance to pick up their book at outdoor N Line distributions - watch for an email with more information.

News (etc) to Peruse

"Advancing Adams" an opportunity for local collaboration and input (Adams County)
RTD service changes take effect Sunday (9News)
How to Safely Share a Car During Covid, According to New Research (First for Women)
Study: Airflows inside passenger cars and implications
for airborne disease transmission (Science Magazine)
New RTD Boss Questions Wisdom of Long-Promised Boulder Train (CPR)
A new way to travel across the US (BBC)
Smart Commute is the Way to Go provider for the north metro area. Learn about this regional program at waytogo.org.
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