The MMT 2040 Plan and Transit Through ONEN

The MMT 2040 Plan and Transit Through ONEN

June 17, 2016

The bus move to Nevada through the Old North End is the first step in MMT’s 25-year (2040) plan to make Nevada Avenue a core corridor between downtown and UCCS. There is a meeting on Monday, June 20, 2016, between 6:00-8:00 pm at the First United Methodist Church, 420 N. Nevada Ave., Fellowship Hall (in the basement, use north entrance off St. Vrain). Here are the details:

City of Colorado Springs Chief of Staff Jeff Greene invites you to participate in a Neighborhood Meeting regarding bus service on North Nevada Avenue from Jackson to Uintah. Council Member Jill Gaebler and City transit staff will also be in attendance. Please come prepared to present your recommendations or suggestions for solutions to some of the issues that have been raised. This meeting will address transit issues and is not intended to be a forum for discussing the safety-sizing of Old North End Neighborhood streets in general, as that action has been suspended for the time being.

ONEN feels the 2040 plan violates the ONEN Master Plan as described in this earlier post. ONEN urges you to attend this meeting to learn more about the MMT 2040 plan and voice your opinions. The SOS Nevada group and the ONEN Transit Committee will also make presentations.

Keep reading to learn more about the 2040 plan. To skip ahead to a preview of the recommendations of the ONEN Transit Committee, click here.

2040 Plan

The transit portion of the 25-year (2040) plan gives us more detail of the near- and far-range goals to provide the anticipated need for public transit. Nevada Avenue has already started to feel this impact as MMT started the first phase of this plan on May 1st with 15-minute bus service and widened hours that establishes North Nevada Avenue as a core corridor for transit services connecting UCCS to downtown.

The 2040 Transit Plan was published in July 2015 by the Transit Services Division. This defines core corridors on p. 80 and in Figure 5.2…

Academy Boulevard, Nevada Avenue, Platte Avenue, and US 24/Colorado Avenue have been defined as core corridors, which are characterized as services with operating the high frequencies and wide service spans.

CoreCorridors

Services that operate along these corridors would be largely prioritized for service frequency increases and time span expansion earlier in the plan’s horizon.

…MMT started the near-range implementation of this plan on Nevada Avenue on May 1, 2016, including 15-minute service, expanded hours, and added weekends. But are they trying to service the ONEN and Patty Jewett Neighborhoods with this core corridor? Maybe, but as a secondary goal. Also on p. 80…

A system like Mountain Metro requires a suite of services providing different roles. Core services, while important in linking to major destinations in the service area, rely on a supporting network that provides adequate service coverage within the existing service area—as a majority of passengers do not begin or end their journey within walking distance to Core corridors. Thus, a network of Intermediate corridors, have been identified to provide an improved level of service coverage and frequency (at a lower priority than Core corridors) to provide the needed connections to neighborhoods and destinations not close to Core Routes. Based on these route classifications, a preferred route network concept was developed to provide direction on how the proposed network would operate and guidance for improving service over time.

…This may help explain why MMT feels 2-blocks to Bon Shopping Center is close enough. In order to establish a core corridor, the travel time must be minimized and the bus frequency must be maximized. This makes the entire bus system more efficient, but it does not particularly serve the best interests of the neighborhood or the people who ride the bus to reach the local amenities.

ONEN Transit Committee Short-Term Plan

The ONEN Transit Committee thinks there is a better way. Why not take the two routes that together make up the 15-minute service down Nevada Avenue (Route 9 and Route 19) and split them down Cascade and Wahsatch Avenues? The Cascade bus can be an express service to minimize the travel time since there are very few amenities along Cascade Avenue. The Wahsatch bus can be a local bus to serve the Bon Shopping Center and several other amenities along its path. Each of these buses will have 30-minute intervals, which is much more reasonable for residential streets through historic districts. The committee feels this will better serve the patrons that require the services within the neighborhood while creating a new express route to act as MMT’s core corridor. Together they create 15-minute service between UCCS and downtown. Finally, this plan fits the ONEN Master Plan.

Move one bus route to Cascade Avenue (blue) as an express service (remove bus stops marked with with blue pins). Move other bus route to Wahsatch Avenue (yellow) as a local service past the Bon Shopping Center and other local businesses (red pins) using existing bus stops (yellow pins)

Move one bus route to Cascade Avenue (blue) as an express service (remove bus stops marked with with blue pins). Move other bus route to Wahsatch Avenue (yellow) as a local service past the Bon Shopping Center and other local businesses (red pins) using existing bus stops (yellow pins)

2040 Long-Term Goals

The 25-year Transit Plan goes on to describe what measures could be implemented if the volume of passengers exceeds the capacity if the initial phase. p. 93…

Consider High-Capacity Transit
As services and ridership improve and mature over time, there will be opportunities to consider higher-capacity transit services. The immediate plans are focused on:

  • Supporting increased ridership and service levels back to and beyond pre-2009 conditions
  • Expanding the system’s market to capture more riders through its current bus services

Higher-capacity transit services should be considered when ridership grows to support cost-effective transit services at 15–minute frequencies or better on Core services. For instance, there may be opportunities to operate limited-stop express services to improve travel times for longer-distance trips within the service area. Particularly along corridors with higher levels of congestion, bus priority measures could be implemented (e.g. queue jump lanes, dedicated transit lanes) to improve the speed and reliability of services operating on the corridor. Finally, as ridership capacity becomes limited with the operation of conventional 40’and 60’, there are further opportunities to explore higher capacity technologies. The appropriate technologies are likely enhanced bus or BRT, but higher capacity technologies including streetcar and light rail should be considered for comparison.

These could include core corridors such as Academy Boulevard, Nevada and Cascade Avenues, Colorado Avenue, Platte Avenue, etc.

A focus should be provided on implementing the complete street’s visions developed for Academy Boulevard based on the Academy Boulevard Corridor Great Streets Plan completed in 2011. Multiple corridors may require enhanced transit to create stronger mobility and connectivity. However, the focus should first be on continuing to develop the base level of service across the transit system (high frequencies and operating hours). As the transit service grows, enhanced (high capacity) transit could be further considered on:

  • Academy Boulevard
  • Nevada Avenue
  • Cascade Avenues
  • Colorado Avenue
  • Platte Avenue

MMT has already requested City traffic to add a dedicated transit lane to Nevada Avenue (The ONEN Board of Directors rejected that idea). So what are these other things? 60′ buses? “enhanced bus” or BRT? Streetcar? Light Rail?

60footbus

Sample 60-foot Bus

brt

Sample Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

modernstreetcar

Sample Modern Streetcar

Light Rail in Denver

Light Rail in Denver

I think it is clear that this type of transit vehicle does not belong on residential streets through an historic district. It is certainly obvious to MMT that Nevada Avenue (or any of the ONEN streets) cannot sustain the long-term goals of a core corridor. These types of vehicles clearly belong on the I-25 corridor. Here is what ONEN feels is appropriate for long-term transit goals through our residential streets and historic districts…

historictrolley

Colorado Springs Historic Trolley

Please join the ONEN Transit Committee on Monday, June 20th to meet with Chief-of-Staff Jeff Greene and MMT staff to discuss these issues.

 

Click here to see all posts on the Transit Committee Blog

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

 

Comments

  1. Laura Scott, June 18, 2016
    I perused the 180+ page MMT 2040 plan a few weeks ago. It's an interesting and frightening read, with the general theme of growth, growth and more growth. Buses, bigger buses, increased frequency, with projections of 'full to capacity' buses therefore leading to 'high capacity' transportation...right down Nevada (maybe even with its own bus lane). Right down Cascade. Down Platte and Colorado. Mountain Metropolitan Transit's 'high capacity bus route'. Our neighborhoods. Whether it's 2016 or 2040, the MMT's projection plan is completely unrealistic and incompatible with the efforts of preserving our historical neighborhoods. The plan also contradicts its self when projecting its eventual high capacity needs when one of the biggest identified hurdles for them is 'limited growth in ridership'. They are using our neighborhoods for their business plan. A plan that is only focused on their business and stakeholders needs without any consideration on the negative effects of our street's and neighborhoods. 'Projections' are fine, but not at the expense of the value, character and livability of the most historical parts of Colorado Springs. Our streets, especially Nevada, is on the brink of ruin as it is. Nevada has been neglected and we now live on a 'highway free for all'. What would happen if the Chief of Staff or the Director of MMT woke up one morning to a bus stop in their front yard, with buses going by every 15 minutes, without proper notification or a chance at having any input on this? I bet they would say 'oh, hell no' and be showing up to a meeting on June 20th to fight for their neighborhood. This is a glaring lack of respect on their part. A white piece of copy paper, wrinkled, with ink blurred by rain, taped to a pole with packing tape isn't how you communicate to the neighborhoods. And excuse us for not checking the MMT website every morning with coffee. This is why MMT didn't even ask this community, because they knew it was wrong. Putting the bus route on Nevada is wrong. The statistics show it. The buses need to be removed immediately. And wherever the buses get moved to, the 15 minute frequency needs to stop. 15 minutes is not a need, it's MMT's attempt at increased ridership. This is not New York. This is a static downtown area, with minimal building and population growth. 35-40 foot buses are completely inappropriate on ANY of our neighborhood streets. Sit and watch the buses go by. How many people are on those buses? 3? Give or take 1 or 2? What an amazing amount of visual and noise pollution for a small population. Did you know that one diesel bus or heavy truck produces the noise equivalent of over 32 automobiles? If MMT doesn't realize, one bus slowing down to the bus stop, makes approximately 2 blocks worth of unacceptable noise. This, on top of 35 mph speeds on our streets, (which translates to up to 50mph for some drivers), semi trucks ignoring weight limits, motor cycles racing... Enough is enough. Step one....the buses...MMT you can do better than this. Reply
  2. michelle Richardson, June 28, 2016
    Confusion and more confusion.... Today my son went to catch the southbound bus in front of the hospital on Nevada ave. Needing to go downtown for a job. He got to the bus stop, and saw a city worker removing the posted sign for that bus stop. The worker told my son, the bus will not be coming down the southbound lanes this morning. He would have to cross the street and take a north bound, that will EVENTUALLY head south. This is the kind of thing that metro should be advertising on a blog, or website daily. He is now an hour late for a job. I am expecting the supervisor to tell him to just go home. You can not depend on this route ever. It has been nothing but problem after problem since it has been on Nevada. The old route on Cascade was never a problem. Why fix something that is not broken? On top of that, living off Nevada and Monroe, I see all the garbage that people coming and going are leaving behind as they get on and off busses. There is no place for garbage and in many cases, no place to sit and wait. People are sitting on curbs that makes it even more dangerous. Reply
    • Brian Safigan, June 28, 2016
      Michelle, In MMT's defense, this is posted on the MMT Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MountainMetro/) and I think they also send these out over twitter. I saw last night that Jackson Street is closed due to 2C construction. I was wondering where the buses were being redirected. This issue will continue to happen as our streets are fixed under 2C. This is not specific to Nevada Avenue. Reply

ADD YOUR COMMENT




  • Penrose-St. Francis Health Services Penrose-St. Francis Health Services Platinum Sponsor