Archive for the Transportation Category
On Sept. 5, the Boulder Carbon Tax Tracker project held a workshop to hear perspectives on the carbon tax from a range of local stakeholders. This is the second in a series of video interviews with stakeholders done at this event.
Karen Worminghaus is Executive Director of Boulder CarShare, a local nonprofit transportation program. Highlights from her views on how Boulder’s carbon tax is working out:
- “I don’t believe we’re on track for meeting our initial goals [for the carbon tax].”
- “The city’s initial goals weren’t even sufficient for what needs to be done.”
- “Personally I’ve reduced my energy demand as much as I can. Haven’t owned a car for seven years now.”
This evening the Boulder City Council will hold a study session on the city’s climate action plan, transportation and renewable energy strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I’ll be attending.
A study session is a meeting of city council members and staff to go over current and upcoming issues, discuss topics, and give staff/consultants direction. The public is welcome to observe, but no public comments, questions, or statements are taken. However, the public may be asked questions. No formal voting takes place.
According to the 65-page memorandum from the Boulder Dept. of Environmental Affairs to the City Council, this session will provide an update on initiatives undertaken as part of Boulder’s Climate Action Plan (CAP, see backgrounder), and the Transportation Master Plan’s FasTracks Local Optimization (FLO) initiative (a planned transportation system in Boulder that will integrate regional rail and bus rapid transit, expected to be implemented around 2014-16).
Also tonight, Environmental Affairs will introduce its draft renewable energy strategy for the city.
Apparently, council has been pushing the city’s Climate Smart program to pursue emissions cuts more aggressively….
We posted a little bit ago about how the University of Colorado-Boulder commutes, so it only made sense to check in with Naropa University, also located in Boulder. Paul Montgomery, transportation coordinator, said that Naropa hasn’t done the kind of intensive surveying that his counterpart at CU has done.
At the same time, Naropa does participate in Bike to Work Week (which fell on June 24-30 last year), and some employees make pledges to carpool, bike or walk. We’re hoping to get some stats on this — how many employees have pledged, for example.
Naropa also gives out EcoPasses to full-time staff and students pay a mandatory $30 for their EcoPasses. Thirty bucks!
What’s black and gold and commutes an estimated 571,122 miles per day? The people that learn, teach and work at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Which means: How they commute is pretty important.
David Cook, alternative transportation manager at CU, mentioned at a recent meeting of Boulder-area transportation managers the total mileage that he estimates students, faculty and staff at his university commute on a daily basis: nearly 600,000 miles.
|One of the lucky ones: I’ve got my Ecopass. Where’s yours?
I’ve been chatting with Boulderites about energy, transportation, and CO2 emissions issues, and I keep hearing a recurring plea: “I’d love to get an Ecopass. I’d use it. Why can’t I get one?”
The attraction of an RTD Ecopass, which provides a lower-cost annual pass good for unlimited rides on all regular RTD transit services, is obvious. The cost savings are enormous.
How cheap is it? My neighborhood (Greenbelt Meadows, in the SE corner of Boulder), participates in the Neighborhood Ecopass (NECO) program. This year I contributed $120 for my pass, since I’m car-free so my RTD usage is high. My neighbors contributed an average of about $75-85/household. If I was to buy 12 one-month RTD passes (at $144/each, to cover the same transit options as Ecopasses), I’d pay a whopping $1728 per year!
The catch: Currently, Ecopasses are available only to employees of participating companies, or to neighborhoods that can generate sufficient participation among residents. Unfortunately, most Boulderites are not eligible for Ecopasses — which has led to significant levels of “Ecopass Envy” in some quarters.
This program appears to have succeeded in generating significant interest in using public transit more. However, if so many of the people whose interest has been piqued by Ecopasses cannot get them, the question becomes: Is this program undercutting RTD’s mission by creating more frustration than ridership?
Conflicting priorities at RTD may be hobbling the Ecopass program — thus preventing it from achieving its full potential to cut carbon emissions, relieve traffic congestion, and other benefits.
Here’s what I’ve learned about this problem so far, and what some Boulderites are doing to try to expand access to Ecopasses…
|GOBikeBoulder.net says I should take this route to lunch today. Thanks, but I prefer off-street riding.
It’s that time of year again: Walk & Bike Week is upon us — when Boulderites are cajoled and coaxed to get out of our cars and onto the town’s many trails, sidewalks, and bike lanes.
To celebrate, GO Boulder’s new local bike route resource, GOBikeBoulder.net, is finally up. The Daily Camera reports that this web application was a year in the making and cost a total of $150,000.
In about an hour I’m having lunch with a colleague from my former employer, E Source, to talk about the carbon tax tracker project. They’re located in the office park just north of Arapahoe and East of 55th. I’m biking to that meeting, so I thought I’d see how GOBikeBoulder.net would direct this trip…
|Buses idling in downtown Boulder.
Sometimes, environmental issues literally hit you in the face. Even so, they may not always be exactly what they seem. This is why “digging” is a crucial part of citizen journalism.
A couple of weeks ago I was having lunch with local science writer Catherine Dold at an outdoor table of the South Side Walnut Cafe. While we sat there, a large delivery truck pulled up in front of the restaurant. While the driver got out to make the delivery, that truck sat idling — emitting considerable noise and smelly fumes — for about 20 minutes. No kidding.
This annoyed us, and it got us wondering what impact lengthy bus and truck idling has on local air pollution — including, of course, greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
Then last week, as I sat at a Denver airport bus stop waiting for a Skyride back to Boulder after a long flight home, I chatted with an older gentleman who was also waiting for a bus. As we sat there, RTD bus after RTD bus would pull up and sit idling for anywhere from three to 12 minutes. He started coughing and grumbled, “You know, we’re paying for all that diesel fuel they’re burning up just sitting there.”
Fumes from large idling diesel vehicles are something you can’t help but notice, even in Boulder — especially if you use mass transit regularly. They’re an attention-getting annoyance. But how much do they really contribute to local greenhouse gas emissions?
I’m just starting to look into this angle, but I’d like to share my digging process with you. Here’s what I’ve learned so far…