Castle Rock launches study exploring transit options

Study will ask residents for input on which modes would be good fit

Posted 10/28/19

Castle Rock has launched what's expected to be a year-long study to determine what types of transit may be a good fit for the town. The study officially kicked off when the town council approved …

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Castle Rock launches study exploring transit options

Study will ask residents for input on which modes would be good fit

Posted

Castle Rock has launched what's expected to be a year-long study to determine what types of transit may be a good fit for the town.

The study officially kicked off when the town council approved creating a focus group for the study at its Oct. 15 meeting.

Ryan Germeroth, a transportation engineering manager for Castle Rock, said the town chose to undertake the study after Castle Rock's most recent community survey showed interest in the issue.

The study will also for explore what sources of funding could be available for projects. Staff aim to complete the work by October or November of next year.

“Transit, it could be a whole host of things really. It's essentially getting from one place to another without taking your personal vehicle,” Germeroth said.

When it comes to what kinds of transit they'll examine, staff haven't identified any front-runners and will take a comprehensive look at options, Germeroth said.

That could be through services like bus but also taxis or ride-share. Today, Castle Rock operates a taxi voucher program and contributes to a senior center transportation program, but that's the extent of transit offered by the town, Germeroth said.

“What we're trying to do is, what's feasible downtown, what's feasible to move us to and from the south, north, east and west end of our own corridor,” Mayor Jason Gray said.

The town is working closely with the Colorado Department of Transportation to bring a stop for the Colorado Department of Transportation's bus service, Bustang, to Castle Rock. That might be one of the town's quickest and best options to expand transit locally, Gray said. The town doesn't yet know what it would cost to pursue Bustang, but Gray believes CDOT would cover much of the expense.

Councilmember George Teal represents the county on a committee working on a long-term plan for RTD in the Denver metro area.

He believes the town's study is an opportunity to learn if the public wants transit that helps them commute outside of Castle Rock, such as to the Denver Tech Center or downtown Denver for work — or if they are more interested in transit that helps them travel among town neighborhoods.

Teal also hopes the study can gauge whether the lack of transit is a concern for a majority of residents.

“We know it's a concern for some,” he said.

Gray, Teal and Germeroth all said the Regional Transportation District's light rail is likely too costly and difficult to bring south of Lone Tree to Castle Rock. Germeroth said there are physical constraints in the topography between Castle Rock and the light rail's nearest station.

The town also voted itself out of the RTD in 2005. Getting back in would require an election and new taxes.

“One of the hard things is, we get questions now and again about light rail, and light rail is just not feasible,” Gray said.

Expanding the light rail through three new stops in Lone Tree spread over a roughly 2-mile stretch took three years and $233.1 million to complete.

Gray also said the town doesn't have the population to sustain light rail. He believes Castle Rock would need somewhere between 200,000 or 300,000 people. At full buildout, Castle Rock expects to reach a population between 130,000 and 150,000.

Germeroth said the town isn't excluding exploring RTD as an option altogether. RTD also provides bus and call-and-ride services.

“We'll see if the public has interest in investigating that further,” he said.

Castle Rock will collect public input during the study on its website. Staff will post a webpage dedicated to the study, including a survey for residents to fill out. They also plan to host open houses in November and will update town council at its meetings periodically throughout the study.

Germeroth said it's too early to say how transit might affect the town's transportation system, adding, “We're hoping to find that out.”

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