Castle Rock Banner
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Bookmark and Share
File #: RES 2020-107    Version: 1 Name:
Type: Resolution Status: Passed
File created: 8/4/2020 In control: Town Council
On agenda: 10/20/2020 Final action: 10/20/2020
Title: Resolution Approving the Town of Castle Rock Transit Feasibility Study
Attachments: 1. Attachment A: Resolution, 2. Attachment B: Castle Rock Transit Feasibility Study, 3. Presentation

To:                     Honorable Mayor and Members of Town Council

 

From:                     Thomas Reiff, Transportation Planner

 

Through: David L. Corliss, Town Manager

 

Title

Resolution Approving the Town of Castle Rock Transit Feasibility Study

Body

________________________________________________________________________________

 

Executive Summary

 

The purpose of this item is to approve a resolution regarding the Castle Rock Transit Feasibility Study. The Town has been assessing the feasibility of transit for Castle Rock since October of 2019. This pursuit aligns with the Town’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP), and the Downtown Mobility Master Plan. In addition, public interest in transit has also been expressed in the bi-annual community survey. In the 2019 Community Survey, 56% of the respondents expressed somewhat to strong support for public transportation. But when asked their willingness to pay an additional tax to develop public transportation, support dropped with only 35% expressing somewhat or strong support to pay. This feedback implies that the impact to future Town budgets should be a primary consideration for any transit considerations. Since the start of the study it has been very important to manage expectations for our residents and businesses since there are no funds currently budgeted for transit and many transit options are physically unfeasible and/or which public costs are not readily achievable. The objective of the study is to develop scalable transit options that are practical should the Town consider implementing transit in the near and/or distant future.

 

Notification and Outreach Efforts

 

Public outreach efforts have been imperative in the development of the Transit Feasibility Study. A comprehensive effort was conducted to collect public and stakeholder input to help develop transit needs and opportunities. The following list shows some of the various efforts the project used to solicit input.

 

1.                     Project web page on Town’s website with ability to complete a questionnaire, provide trip information on an interactive map, and share ideas

2.                     Town wide mailing asking residents to provide input on the project web page and attend a public open house

3.                     Held public open house (November 13, 2019)

4.                     Conduct social media campaign

5.                     Emails to interested residents from various Town events and survey databases

6.                     Four Focus Group Meetings (Nov. 2019, February, March, and July 2020)

7.                     Two meetings with the Downtown Alliance (Downtown Development Authority and Merchants Association Boards (November 2019, September 2020)

8.                     Two meetings with the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce (May and August 2020)

9.                     Numerous stakeholder meetings with outside agencies, organizations, and Town departments (e.g. Outlets at Castle Rock, Senior Center, Miller’s Landing development team, Oakwood Senior Housing)

10.                     Multi-agency outreach and coordination (e.g. Douglas County and CDOT)

11.                     Meetings with public and private transit providers (e.g. RTD, Via Mobility, RideCo, and Metro Taxi)

12.                     Two presentations and discussion sessions with the Douglas County Transit Solution committee (January and September 2020)

13.                     One Town Council study session (April 21, 2020)

14.                     Two Councilmember’s open houses (January 2020)

15.                     Three meetings with the Public Works Commission (January 6, September 14, and October 5, 2020)

16.                     Two study sessions with the Planning Commission (December 12, 2019 and August 27, 2020)

17.                     News releases and articles

18.                     Information tables at public events (e.g. Starlighting)

 

History of Past Town Council, Boards & Commissions, or Other Discussions

 

In 2019 the Town Council approved funding to conduct the Transit Feasibility Study. Consulting firm Felsburg, Holt, & Ullevig was selected to assist Town staff in the study.

 

On October 15, 2019 staff presented the study to Council seeking interested councilmembers to participate in the Study’s Focus Group. Three councilmembers agreed to participate in the Focus Group. In addition, three Public Works Commissioners and three Planning Commissioners also agreed to participate in the Focus Group.

 

A work session was later scheduled with Council on April 21, 2020 to review the status of the study and to provide input. Public and stakeholder feedback was shared at the meeting and the four community mobility needs and opportunities identified during the public engagement period. This included serving the vulnerable population, providing regional connectivity, enhancing economic sustainability, and supporting population growth. In addition, Councilmembers were presented with the three service types being recommended for further evaluation with regard to feasibility. These service types were recommended from the first level of screening and include point to point on-demand service, regional service, and local microtransit. Councilmembers agreed with carrying the three service types forward.

 

Three meetings were scheduled with the Public Works Commission. On January 6 and September 14, the Transit Feasibility Study was presented to the Public Works Commission. During these meetings, input was sought from the Commissioners regarding public transit in Castle Rock. Commissioners were asked if transit was offered what does it look like, where should service be provided, and what other services should be connected. Commissioners were also asked what is the highest priority populations that should be served. The Commission agreed that the vulnerable population, such as the disabled, should be the highest priority. Transit should provide both local and regional service, such as downtown, and connect the neighborhoods. During the second meetings the Commissioners were presented the recommendations and asked to provide input. There was consensus with the recommendations and no amendments were made. Finally, at the October 5th meeting the Commissioners approved a motion recommending to Town Council that they adopt the Transit Feasibility Study on a 4 to 1 vote in favor of approval. There was no further discussion after the vote.

 

Additional presentations were provided to the Planning Commission, Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Alliance Board which includes members from the Downtown Development Authority and the Downtown Merchants Association. The Planning Commission appreciated the opportunity to hear about the project and wanted staff check on the ability to contract service with RTD. However, according to RTD staff the organization is not allowed to provide service or spend money outside the District’s boundaries. The Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Alliance were especially supportive of the regional connection to and from the RTD Ridgegate station.

 

Discussion

 

In October of 2019 the Town kicked off the Transit Feasibility Study. For the first few months an extensive public outreach effort was conducted to collect public and other stakeholder input. Outreach included a number of approaches and efforts, such as mailing a Town wide postcard, interactive project web page, public open house, questionnaires, stakeholder meetings, and a social media campaign. From this input four primary transit needs and opportunities were identified; 1) serve vulnerable populations, 2) provide regional connectivity, 3) enhance economic stability, 4) support population growth.

 

Many types of transit service models were evaluated for their feasibility and ability to meet the needs and opportunities. Light rail transit and traditional bus service were evaluated but were too expensive to build and operate. The three transit models that were identified as feasible options are Point to Point On Demand, Microtransit, and commuter service to/from the Ridgegate RTD station. The commuter service can also be achieved with the planned CDOT Bustang service from Castle Rock. However, the Bustang stop is likely years away.

 

The study recommends implementing a phased approach. It starts with expansion of the current taxi voucher program by increasing the hours of operation and allowing all type of rides for people who are eligible for the program. Service would then be opened to the general public as part of phase two. Phase three would transition to an on-demand service which could be provided through a microtransit or ridehailing company (i.e. Uber or Lyft). The last recommendation, phase four, could expand the on-demand service by adding a commuter element to/from the Ridgegate RTD station. It would be designed to complement the Bustang service, not replace it.

 

Finally, it is important to note that there is no current funding identified for transit service in the Town’s budget or 5-year Capital Improvement Program, other than the taxi voucher program ($25,000) and funds provided to the senior center ($60,000). Additional transit service would need to be part of future budget discussions and compete against other priorities for Town funding. The study has listed potential funding sources but these either need to be approved by Town Council, a public vote, or compete with other transportation projects.

 

The Transit Feasibility Study provides a fiscally responsible path forward with options for how service could be phased in over time. The phased approach includes all service models that grow incrementally with the final phase providing general public transit service throughout Town. However, it is difficult to put a timeframe on how soon or how long it may take to occur.

 

Budget Impact

 

The Transit Feasibility Study was budgeted in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and FY 2020. No additional budgetary impacts are expected. However, as stated earlier recommendations in the study have not been budgeted in the annual budget or CIP. Implementation of the recommendations will have to be considered against other Town priorities by Town Council during the annual budget and CIP discussions.

 

Staff Recommendation

 

Public Works Commission and staff recommends the Town Council adopt the Castle Rock Transit Feasibility Study.

 

Proposed Motion

 

“I move that the Town Council approve the Resolution approving the Castle Rock Transit Feasibility Study.”

 

Attachments

 

Attachment A: Resolution

Attachment B: Castle Rock Transit Feasibility Study