2018 Election: County Commissioners and State Transportation Propositions

This Year Election Day is Tuesday November 6!

County clerk’s throughout the state have already begun mailing out ballots. While Coloradans can register and vote through Election Day, October 29 is the last day to register and receive a mail-in ballot. 

As your local bicycling nonprofit, Bike Fort Collins feels informed voters are an important mechanism to support safe enjoyable roads for ALL cyclists in our community. Each election year there are candidates for both local offices and local ballot measures that could have some impact upon our bicycling environment. With the objective of educating voters on local candidates views towards bicycling, we’ve sent a short questionnaire to this years County Commissioner candidates. The questions and responses are below.

Bike Fort Collins cannot take any official position endorsing candidates, this is information for you to potentially consider when making your own decisions.

County Commissioner Candidate Questionaries 

Candidate: John Kefalas

Where is your favorite place to ride your bicycle?

I mostly ride my bicycle for commuting purposes such as when I need to be on the CSU campus. That said, I enjoy riding and running along the Poudre Trail – starting in Martinez Park and heading mostly west and sometimes east.

Recently a Fort Collins cyclist, Gary Moody, died in a tragic accident in the Berthoud area. What could be done to make our roads safer for all modes of transportation?  

Yes, the death of cyclist Gary Moody is a tragedy, and accidents between cyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles happen all too often. Generally speaking, I would work to expand commuter and recreational bicycle ridership through public awareness and safety campaigns and improvements to our transportation infrastructure. In 2010, I sponsored HB-1147, the Bike Education and Safety Act (CRS 43-1-120), which provided safety curriculum for the schools and codified CDOT’s directive regarding bicycle and pedestrian safety, and I would follow up with CDOT’s pedestrian/bicycle safety coordinator to assess how we’ve implemented this law and where there are existing gaps. I would work closely with schools and safe routes to school programs, Bike FC and other stakeholders to assess specific problem areas where safety is an issue as a way to prioritize our responses. I would have the county participate in public awareness education campaign for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists – use of helmets, following the rules of the road, distracted driving, 3-foot passing law. These are some ideas.

Do you support adoption of a local Vision Zero policy for the county, and why or why not?

Yes, I support adoption of a local Vision Zero policy for the county and the region to achieve zero traffic fatalities and severe injuries for all road users – bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers and transit users; seems to me we should include animals.

There are many bicycling infrastructure gaps between cities and unincorporated areas of Larimer County. How would you collaborate with cities to bridge those gaps? 

There are serious problems with traffic congestion and public safety on our roadways. We need to continue improving and maintaining our local and state roads and bridges, continue the progress on I-25 lane expansion and Hwy 34 repair work through the Big Thompson Canyon so people can get to work and school on time.  Nevertheless, as we grow, we can’t just pave our way out of congestion and accidents. I would use the Larimer County Transportation Master Plan as a guiding document and work with all the public and private-sector stakeholders including NFMPO, local jurisdictions, educational systems, businesses, law enforcement and community groups to ensure that our regional efforts are aligned, complementary and comprehensive. A perfect example of such collaboration is the Long View Trail – Fort Collins, Larimer County and Loveland.  I am interested in developing multi-modal transportation systems that serve everyone, including people who can’t or don’t drive, to connect our cities, towns and counties efficiently and conveniently.  I am interested in supporting state efforts to establish a phased-in front range commuter/passenger rail system. I’m interested in revisiting the pros/cons of establishing a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) that could include a regional light-rail system and other effective mass transit options while advancing smart/sustainable growth best practices such as Transit Oriented Development (TOD) that includes affordable housing.  I am interested in work with local public and private-sector transportation and health care providers to consider service delivery systems that improve our para-transit, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT), and Non-Medical Transportation (NMT) services for aging adults and persons with chronic medical conditions.  As mentioned, I wish to expand commuter and recreational bicycle ridership.

Bike Fort Collins supports all forms of alternative transportation. What do you feel is the importance of regional transit in Northern Colorado? 

I believe I have answered this question in #4, and I would add that we need to collaboratively develop a regional and statewide multi-modal transportation system for many reasons including: air quality and public health, public safety and traffic congestion; provision of transportation choices especially with changing demographics – aging in place, reducing energy use in the transportation sector, etc.

Candidate: Sean Dougherty

Where is your favorite place to ride your bicycle?

I really like the Long View Trail.  It allows scenery and a leisurely pace, which is good for both avid cyclists and weekenders out for a couple of miles.

Recently a Fort Collins cyclist, Gary Moody, died in a tragic accident in the Berthoud area. What could be done to make our roads safer for all modes of transportation? 

I think bicycle/vehicle safety is more than just roads. It’s also awareness.  All parties need to be aware of what’s around them, at all times.  I ride a motorcycle, and have found that I, too, need to be hyper aware, due to autos not noticing me on the roadways.  On the County side of things, I was recently involved in revising the Transportation Master Plan, and this Plan calls for widening arterial roadways throughout the County, when road projects are being completed. Please see this link for more information.

Do you support adoption of a local Vision Zero policy for the county, and why or why not?

I think that Vision Zero is an aspirational goal, but could be considered unrealistic due to costs and physical limitations, especially in the mountainous areas of Larimer County. I would be happy to work with County Staff and residents to investigate further.

There are many bicycling infrastructure gaps between cities and unincorporated areas of Larimer County. How would you collaborate with cities to bridge those gaps? 

Larimer County needs to be the convener between all municipalities in the County, for many reasons, including infrastructure.  Some of the more noticeable gaps in bicycle infrastructure occur in the Growth Management Areas, which are unincorporated parts of the County, but are dedicated to Municipal expansion.  This leaves the question of who will take on the expense and construction of these improvements.  Sometimes it will takes development to improve the roadways, in other circumstances, the County and the Municipality will need to work together.

Bike Fort Collins supports all forms of alternative transportation. What do you feel is the importance of regional transit in Northern Colorado?

Regional Transit can mean many different things.  Inside Municipal limits, it could mean a public transportation service.  In the County, it could mean car-pooling or vehicle sharing.  It can also mean rail or air passenger service.  One option for the County to prepare for the residents needs is to work with the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization (NFRMPO) towards seeing what is feasible and wanted in the region.  This could include dedicated parking and pickup/drop-off service for Bustang, possible future rail service, or more viable arterial roadways that can accommodate different types of transportation (bicycle, auto, bus, etc.)  We have a ways to go, but the County has a seat at the table with the NFRMPO and all of the municipalities in Northern Colorado, and these conversations are occurring monthly. I encourage anyone who wants to attend these meetings to please do so, and get involved with what the future will look like in our region!

Ballot Propositions

There are two statewide ballot propositions dealing with transportation this year. Both of them deserve your scrutiny; they have very different approaches to funding.

Proposition 110 or “Let’s Go Colorado”  

Proposition 110, also known as “Let’s Go, Colorado,” focuses on raising revenue allocated for the state highway fund (45%), for statewide multimodal transportation options (15%), and for local transportation priorities decided by cities (20%) and counties (20%). Funding would come from a state sales tax increase of 0.62 percent, or about 6 cents for every 10 dollars spent in Colorado. Such a tax increase is expected to generate $767 million in the first year; with 15% specifically for multimodal transportation options such as bicycling, transit and walking, and the additional potential for funding from cities and counties based on their priorities.

Bicycle Colorado has stated they believe Proposition 110 has the potential to improve everyday life for Coloradans by creating healthier communities.

Proposition 109, or “Fix Our Damn Roads”

This Proposition proposes borrowing up to $3.5 billion from the state treasury for road and bridge expansion, construction and maintenance. Fix Our Damn Roads aims to widen roads, and specifically states that the money may not be used for transit projects. That would include no bicycling projects. Because this proposition supports motor vehicles only, it address only 1 of the 3 triple bottom line sustainability items.

Bicycle Colorado has stated they do not support Proposition 109 since it would not contribute towards providing healthier communities.