Get the Facts About the Jefferson Parkway.
The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, in its regular business meeting today, voted unanimously to reduce Jefferson County’s 2020 budget placeholder for JPPHA from $1M to $400K. This occurred during its agenda item for a hearing on Jefferson County’s proposed 2020 budget. Note this does not necessarily mean JPPHA will receive any of these funds. It was noted by the Commissioners that this is only a budget and that before any dollars are released to JPPHA, they must be approved by the Commissioners, and that ultimately they could approve all, some, or none of this amount.
We want to thank everyone who sent emails to the Commissioners from our Action Alert on Sunday--your messages were heard.
With the failure of Jeffco’s ballot measure 1a (de-Brucing) and resulting $16M budget shortfall, it is now increasingly difficult for Jeffco to justify continued funding of the Parkway from a financial perspective, as well as from a public health perspective. In addition, we learned today the County will be facing a need to reduce it's 2021 budget by a similar amount--further supporting our message that it's time to back out of the Parkway and focus on the needs of the Jefferson County public.
The Commissioners have also been closely watching this year's deliberations in Broomfield about the Parkway. As of today, thanks to our efforts and those we are partnering with, Broomfield has not approved any funding for the Parkway for 2019. Based on last week's elections that resulted in changes to the Council, it appears there may now be a majority on the Broomfield Council that are opposed to the Parkway's current alignment due to concerns for public health if construction were allowed along the Indiana right-of-way in the former Rocky Flats area.
Unfortunately, the Arvada City Council still has a solid majority supporting the Parkway, so our primary efforts at the governmental level will continue at Jefferson County and Broomfield.
Thank you for your continued interest in stopping Jefferson Parkway. We will continue to keep you informed of any happenings on the Parkway.
You can view the meeting minutes and video by clicking the photo at the top of this article. The following time stamps will lead you to the relevant elements of the meeting regarding the Jefferson Parkway.
1:18:45 Randy Stafford comment
1:31:10 Mike Raabe's comment
1:48:15 Beginning of Board's discussion
1:51:40 Casey Tighe specifically talks about Parkway "we need to have a discussion about what is the future of the Parkway"
1:52:33 Lesley Dahlkemper talks about reducing Parkway funding
1:53:00 Libby Szabo advocates reducing Parkway funding
1:55:10 Lesley Dahlkemper asks about making a motion to show Board's intentions
1:56:15 Deputy County Manager Kate Newman points out the Board still has to approve each expenditure on JPPHA
1:56:45 Libby Szabo questions the need for a motion; procedural discussion ensues
1:57:15 Lesley Dahlkemper advocates for a motion again, cites sharing rationale with public
1:57:45 Casey Tighe clarifies it would be a supplemental motion to reduce JPPHA funding
1:58:25 Libby Szabo defers supplemental motion-making to end of discussion
2:00:00 Lesley Dahlkemper states the Jeffco BCC takes the Parkway issue very seriously
2:08:20 Libby Szabo calls the question. Casey Tighe moves to approve budget with amendment to reduce JPPHA funding from $1M to $400K. Amended motion carries unanimously.
IT WAS ALMOST EXACTLY 9 MONTHS TO THE DAY IN THIS VERY ROOM THAT THE MOVEMENT TO STOP JEFFERSON PARKWAY WAS BORN. LET’S GO BACK TO THAT POINT IN TIME—THE PARKWAY HAD ALREADY COMPLETED A REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATION, RECEIVED 5 RESPONSES, SELECTED 3 OF THEM AS POTENTIAL CONCESSIONAIRES TO RUN THE TOLLWAY, AND JPPHA WAS IN THE PROCESS OF COMPLETING A REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL WHICH WAS TO BE SENT TO THOSE 3 BIDDERS BY MID MARCH. A RESPONSE TO THE RFP WAS EXPECTED BACK BY THE END OF THE YEAR, AND A CONTRACT COMPLETED AND CONSTRUCTION STARTING IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2020. IN OTHER WORDS, AFTER 10 YEARS, THE TOLLWAY WAS SUDDENLY ON A FAST TRACK.
AS OUR GROUP BEGAN OUR WORK OVER THOSE NEXT FEW WEEKS, WE WERE TOLD BY MANY THAT OUR EFFORTS WERE TOO LATE, THAT THE TOLLWAY WAS GOING TO BE BUILT, AND THAT THERE WAS NOTHING WE COULD DO ABOUT IT.
SO, NINE MONTHS LATER, HERE WE ARE IN THE SAME ROOM, AND WE HAVE SOME GOOD NEWS AND NOT SO GOOD NEWS TO SHARE. LET’S START WITH THE GOOD NEWS.
DESPITE FACING LONG ODDS, THROUGH OUR EFFORTS AND THOSE INDIVIDUALS, ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMUNITIES WE HAVE PARTNERED WITH, WE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN DELAYING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PARKWAY. IT’S APPROACHING MID-OCTOBER AND NO RFP HAS GONE OUT, NOR IS ONE EXPECTED TO GO OUT BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR.
SO, IT’S LIKELY WE HAVE STOPPED THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PARKWAY FOR ABOUT A YEAR. GIVEN WHERE WE WERE IN JANUARY THAT IS NOT ONLY GOOD NEWS, IT’S GREAT NEWS, IT’S QUITE FRANKLY REMARKABLE AND EVEN A LITTLE UNBELIEVABLE. MAYBE WE HAVEN’T SHOCKED THE WORLD, BUT WE’VE CERTAINLY SHOCKED MARC WILLIAMS, DAVID JONES, BILL RAY AND MANY OTHERS. THOSE OF YOU WHO OPPOSE THE PARKWAY, PLEASE GIVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE TO OUR CORE TEAM AND TO YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. WE’LL TALK MORE ABOUT HOW THIS CAME ABOUT IN A FEW MINUTES.
SO, NOW ON TO THE NOT SO GOOD NEWS—WHILE WE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN DELAYING THE TOLLWAY, LIKELY FOR A YEAR, IT IS STILL ALIVE AND THERE ARE ONGOING EFFORTS TO ENSURE IT’S BUILT. AGAIN, WE’LL TALK ABOUT WHY THIS IS IN A FEW MINUTES.
IT’S IMPORTANT WE REMIND EVERYONE IN THE ROOM, WHY WE OPPOSE THE TOLLWAY. GIVEN OUR TIME, HERE’S A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE TOP 5 REASONS:
1. THE TOLLWAY DOES NOT COMPLETE THE BELTWAY
2. THE TOLLWAY’S PRIMARY PURPOSE IS COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND DOES NOT ALLEVIATE TRAFFIC IN NW ARVADA.
a. DAVID JONES TOLD US IN OUR VERY FIRST MEETING WITH HIM THAT THE PRIMARY REASON FOR THE TOLLWAY IS INCREASED SALES AND TAX REVENUE THROUGH INCREASED COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT, MORE JOBS AND AMENITIES AROUND CANDELAS, AND AROUND ROCKY MOUNTAIN AIRPORT WHICH IS OWNED BY JEFFCO.
b. WE BELIEVE THE TRAFFIC STUDY THAT WAS DONE TO JUSTIFY THE PROJECT BY AN OUTSIDE FIRM, IS FLAWED AND WILL NOT MEET PROJECTIONS. WE BELIEVE THE TOLLWAY WILL INCREASE CONGESTION ALONG 93 AND 128, IT HAS LIMITED ACCESS POINTS, AND IT WILL INCREASE CONGESTION ON INDIANA AS THE PLANS CALL FOR A ROUNDABOUT ALONG THE NORTHERN PART OF THAT ARTERIAL.
3. THE TOLLWAY WILL DO PERMANENT, LONG-TERM DAMAGE TO THE LEYDEN ROCK COMMUNITY
a. THE SAFETY ISSUES; HEALTH ISSUES; QUALITY OF LIFE IMPACT (NOISE, LIGHTS—AND 2 YEARS OF CONSTRUCTION RIGHT THRU OUR NEIGHBORHOOD)
b. We would submit that due to the many harmful impacts this project would have on our community that there is no more important issue facing this community than the Jefferson Parkway.
4. THE TOLLWAY POSES AN INCREASED HEALTH RISK TO MULTIPLE COMMUNITIES BY STIRRING UP PLUTONIUM CONTAMINATION FROM ROCKY FLATS—MORE ON THAT LATER.
5. THE TOLLWAY IS USING MILLIONS IN TAXPAYER DOLLARS (OVER $6 MILLION NOW IN ARVADA SINCE 2008 AND COUNTING). THAT TOTAL HAS BEEN MATCHED BY JEFFERSON COUNTY, AND BROOMFIELD HAS CONTRIBUTED ANOTHER $3.5 MILLION, WITH ANOTHER $2.5 MILLION UP IN THE AIR. MOST OF THE VOTING PUBLIC ARE UNAWARE OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE USING THEIR TAXPAYER DOLLARS IN THIS MANNER. AND REMEMBER I JUST SAID THERE ARE ONGOING EFFORTS TO BUILD THE PARKWAY? WELL ARVADA HAS $800,000 FOR THE PARKWAY IN ITS 2020 BUDGET WHICH WILL BE APPROVED LATER THIS MONTH. BROOMFIELD HAS $2.4 MILLION IN IT’S 2020 BUDGET WHICH IS UP FOR APPROVAL IN 2 WEEKS, AND JEFFERSON COUNTY HAS $1 MILLION IN ITS BUDGET WHICH IS UP FOR APPROVAL AT THE END OF THE MONTH.
OUR GROUP HAS BEEN FOCUSED ON 3 STRATEGIES TO STOP THE PARKWAY
1. STOP THE FUNDING
a. EACH OF THE 3 FOUNDING MEMBERS OF THE AUTHORITY (ARVADA, BROOMFIELD AND JEFFCO) WERE ASKED TO CONTRIBUTE $2.5 MILLION IN 2019 (WHICH WAS A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE OVER THE $400,000 THEY HAD BEEN AVERAGING OVER THE PAST 3-4 YEARS).
b. OUR GOAL WAS TO STOP THE FUNDING AT ARVADA AND/OR BROOMFIELD (JEFFCO APPROVED IN OCTOBER 2018). IF WE COULD STOP THE FUNDING, WE MIGHT STOP THE PROJECT.
c. DESPITE A STRONG EFFORT FROM OUR COMMUNITY, WE DID NOT SUCCEED AS ARVADA APPROVED THEIR FUNDING ON APRIL 1 BY A 5 TO 1 VOTE (ALTHO OUR EFFORTS DID CAUSE A DELAY IN THE RFP PROCESS).
d. HOWEVER, WE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL, SO FAR, WITH THE BROOMFIELD CITY COUNCIL AS THEY HAVE NOT APPROVED THEIR 2019 BUDGET REQUEST OF $2.5 MILLION, AND ARE UNLIKELY TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE UNTIL AFTER THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS. WE BELIEVE A MAJORITY OF THIS COUNCIL HAS RESPONDED TO CONCERNS FROM OUR GROUP AND FROM THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE ABOUT THE PUBLIC SAFETY CONCERNS OF ALLOWING CONSTRUCTION ALONG THE INDIANA RIGHT OF WAY. A VOTE WAS SCHEDULED IN SEPTEMBER, AND WE FELT WE HAD A MAJORITY OF THE COUNCIL TO DEFEAT THE FUNDING REQUEST, AND QUITE POSSIBLY, END THE JPPHA. UNFORTUNATELY, IT’S OUR BELIEF THE MAYOR AND STAFF PULLED THIS ISSUE OFF THE TABLE AND SO NOW, NO VOTE IS SCHEDULED.
2. 2019 ELECTIONS:
a. OUR GOAL IS TO CHANGE THE MAKEUP OF THE ARVADA CITY COUNCIL TO ONE THAT OPPOSES THE PARKWAY. THAT’S ANOTHER TALL ORDER, BUT THAT’S PART OF WHAT TONITE IS ALL ABOUT.
3. LEGAL ACTION
a. WE HOPE WE DON’T HAVE TO GO DOWN THIS ROUTE, BUT IT MIGHT BE OUR LAST OPTION IF OUR FIRST 2 STRATEGIES DON’T SUCCEED. WE HAVE DONE SOME EXPLORATORY WORK IN THIS AREA WITH AN ATTORNEY FROM SUPERIOR WHO CURRENTLY REPRESENTS SEVERAL GROUPS CONNECTED TO THE ROCKY FLATS ISSUE.
Rocky Flats/Plutonium Issue Overview Update
WE WANTED TO SPEND SOME TIME TONITE TALKING ABOUT ROCKY FLATS AND PLUTONIUM. WHILE WE KNOW A LOT MORE ABOUT THIS ISSUE TODAY THAN 9 MONTHS AGO, OUR CORE TEAM ARE NOT EXPERTS ON THIS ISSUE. WE HAVE PARTNERED WITH RANDY STAFFORD WHO HAS BECOME OUR SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT ON ROCKY FLATS, BUT RANDY COULD NOT BE HERE TONITE.
THE PURPOSE OF THESE NEXT FEW MINUTES IS TO PRESENT TO YOU WHAT WE KNOW AND WHAT OUR GROUP BELIEVES. WHY—BECAUSE UNFORTUNATELY, THE IMPACT TO LEYDEN ROCK IS AN ISSUE LOCALIZED TO US. THE ROCKY FLATS ISSUE IMPACTS MULTIPLE COMMUNITIES AND THIS IS THE ISSUE THAT HAS RESONATED WITH THE BROOMFIELD CITY COUNCIL, WITH SOME OF THE JEFFERSON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, AND WITH THE MEDIA. IT’S ALSO THE ISSUE THAT ALLOWED US TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHER INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS.
SO, HERE IS WHAT WE DO KNOW, HERE ARE THE FACTS ON ROCKY FLATS:
THE ROCKY FLATS REFUGE—THAT AREA OUTSIDE OF THE CENTRAL OPERATING UNIT, INCLUDING THE JP RIGHT OF WAY—WAS NOT REMEDIATED BY THE ROCKY FLATS CLEANUP PROJECT, ONLY THE CENTRAL OPERATING UNIT WAS REMEDIATED.
THERE IS PLUTONIUM ON THE GROUND ALONG THE +2 MILE PLANNED CONSTRUCTION PATH TO THE WEST OF INDIANA BOULEVARD. NO ONE ARGUES THAT POINT. WHAT IS ARGUED IS WHAT IS A SAFE LEVEL OF PLUTONIUM?
TO UNDERSTAND THAT, IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE BACKGROUND MEASUREMENT IS. PLUTONIUM IS NOT PART OF NATURAL BACKGROUND RADIATION. NATURAL BACKGROUND RADIATION HAS BEEN ALTERED GLOBALLY BY THE ADDITION OF FALLOUT OF PLUTONIUM AND OTHER RADIONUCLIDES FROM HUMAN ACTIVITY OF DETONATING NUCLEAR DEVICES IN THE ATMOSPHERE. SO TODAY, THE AVERAGE BACKGROUND RADIATION INCLUDING FALLOUT FROM PLUTONIUM IS .06 PICOCURIES PER GRAM OF SOIL IN COLORADO.
IN 1973 THE CDPHE ESTABLISHED THE FIRST STANDARD IN THE WORLD FOR PLUTONIUM CONTAMINATION OF SOIL (IN RESPONSE TO THE REVELATION OF THE 1969 MOTHER’S DAY FIRE AT ROCKY FLATS). IT WAS SET AT .2 PICOCURIES/GRAM OR 5 TIMES BACKGROUND RADIATION. THAT MEANT THAT ANY SOIL MEASURING ABOVE THAT LEVEL WAS UNFIT FOR RESIDENTIAL USE, OR COMMERCIAL OR INDUSTRIAL USE.
LATER THAT YEAR, CDPHE RELAXED THAT STANDARD TO 2.0, OR 50 TIMES BACKGROUND—WHY? BECAUSE THE ORIGINAL STANDARD WOULD NOT HAVE ALLOWED ARVADA TO DO ANY DEVELOPMENT AROUND THE AREA. AND LAND EXCEEDING THAT WAS NO LONGER “UNFIT FOR USE” BUT JUST REQUIRED “SPECIAL CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES”. SO AS FAR BACK AS 1973 LOCAL POLITICS WAS PLAYING A ROLE IN FOCUSING ON AND ALLOWING FOR COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT AROUND ROCKY FLATS.
THE 2.0 STANDARD WAS CRITICIZED BY SEVERAL EXPERTS INCLUDING JEFFCO PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DR. CARL JOHNSON, BUT IT’S THE STANDARD STILL IN EFFECT TODAY AND APPLIES TO ANY CONSTRUCTION THAT MIGHT OCCUR ON STATE LAND, SUCH AS EAST OF INDIANA. (ALSO, THAT STANDARD ONLY APPLIES TO THE TOP LEVEL OF SOIL—THE DEEPER DOWN YOU GO THE LOWER THE STANDARD IS).
NOW LET’S MOVE TO STANDARDS FOR ROCKY FLATS WHICH IS ON THE WEST SIDE OF INDIANA AND WAS ON FEDERAL LAND.
THERE’S TOO MUCH DETAIL TO GET INTO HERE, BUT SUFFICE TO SAY THAT IN A SPAN OF 8 YEARS, SETTING THE SOIL STANDARD WENT FROM A RECOMMENDATION OF BACKGROUND LEVEL IN 1994 TO THE FINAL NUMBER SET BY DOE/EPA/CDPHE OF 50 PICOCURIES/GRAM IN 2002 (OVER 220X BACKGROUND)—AND THAT’S WHERE WE ARE AT TODAY. IN ADDITION, THOSE AGENCIES ALSO CLAIMED THE FEDERALLY OWNED ROCKY FLATS SITE, INCLUDING THE JP RIGHT OF WAY WAS SAFE AND AVAILABLE FOR UNRESTRICTED USE AND UNLIMITED EXPOSURE. THAT’S WHY JPPHA HAS BEEN SAYING UP UNTIL RECENTLY THEY WERE NOT REQUIRED TO DO ANY SPECIAL TESTING, MONITORING OR DUST CONTROL MEASURE DURING CONSTRUCTION.
(DETAILS NOT DISCUSSED AT MEETING: A WORKING GROUP INITIALLY SET THE STANDARD AT BACKGROUND LEVEL IN 1994. THAT WAS CHANGED BY DOE/EPA/CDPHE TO 651 PICOCURIES/GRAM (33,000X BACKGROUND) IN 1996. AFTER AN OUTCRY BY THE PUBLIC, A NEW PANEL RECOMMENDED 35 PC/GRAM IN 2000, STILL 1750X BACKGROUND), BUT AGAIN DOE/EPA/CDPHE RAISED THAT TO 50 PC/GRAM IN 2002 (2,257X BACKGROUND)
IT’S IMPORTANT TO INTERJECT HERE THAT CDPHE’S OWN DATA SHOW PLUTONIUM SOIL LEVELS IN THE PARKWAY RIGHT OF WAY OF 8-10 PC/GRAM—OVER 500X BACKGROUND AND ABOVE THE STATE SOIL ACTION LEVEL OF 2.0. OVER 10 SEPARATE AND INDEPENDENT SOIL SAMPLE STUDIES CONDUCTED BETWEEN 1971 AND 2012 HAVE ALL CONSISTENTLY FOUND THAT SAME LEVEL OF SOIL CONTAMINATION. IF THE RIGHT OF WAY HAPPENED TO BE ON THE EAST SIDE OF INDIANA, ON STATE PROPERTY, THE STATE’S 2.0 PC/GRAM STANDARD WOULD BE EXCEEDED AND SPECIAL CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES WOULD BE REQUIRED. THAT WOULD LIKELY CAUSE A HUGE COST INCREASE TO CONSTRUCT THE PROJECT AND MIGHT HAVE PREVENTED THE PROJECT FROM EVER GETTING OFF THE GROUND.
ON AUGUST 16, WE THOUGHT EVERYTHING WAS GOING TO CHANGE WHEN AS PART OF THE SOIL SAMPLING BEING CONDUCTED BY JPPHA, THEY REPORTED THE DISCOVERY OF A HOT PARTICLE TO CDPHE OF 264 PC/GRAM. THAT FINDING WAS OVER 14,000 TIMES BACKGROUND RADIATION AND OVER 5 TIMES MORE THAN THE SOIL ACTION LEVEL OF 50 PC/GRAM. THIS WAS ALL OVER THE NEWS THE NEXT FEW DAYS, AND AT LAST WE THOUGHT, THIS WAS IT—THIS IS WHAT WOULD STOP THE PARKWAY.
BUT NO. IN A CALL WE HAD WITH CDPHE SHORTLY AFTER THAT, THEY TOLD US THAT DESPITE THE SOIL ACTION LEVEL AGREED TO TWO DECADES AGO OF 50 PC/GRAM, A FINDING OF A HOT PARTICLE OF OVER 900 PC/GRAM WOULD HAVE TO BE FOUND TO CREATE ACTION, AND THAT WOULD COME NOT FROM CDPHE BUT FROM EPA. WELL FINDING THAT TYPE OF READING IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY TO OCCUR.
SO TODAY, ALMOST 2 MONTHS AFTER THE REPORT OF THE HOT PARTICLE, WE HAVE EMAILS FROM EPA, DOE (ENERGY), FISH & WILDLIFE AND CDPHE—THEY ALL SAY THEY HAVE NO JURISDICTION OVER JPPHA AND THE PARKWAY. SOIL SAMPLING CONTINUES AND IT WON’T BE UNTIL THE YEAR END WHEN JPPHA’S SOIL SAMPLING RESULTS ARE RELEASED. HOWEVER, THE HOT PARTICLE FINDING FROM AUGUST IS NOW BEING CALLED AN ANOMALY—AN OUTLIER. NEEDLESS TO SAY, WE ARE FRUSTRATED AND IN DISBELIEF. WE CAN ONLY HOPE ANOTHER HOT PARTICLE IS FOUND, BUT THAT IS UNLIKELY GIVEN THE SIZE OF THE LAND WE ARE DEALING WITH AND THE LIMITED SCOPE OF THE SOIL TESTING.
SO, WE’RE BACK TO WHAT IS A SAFE LEVEL OF PLUTONIUM. AS I TOLD THE MEDIA OVER LABOR DAY WEEKEND, THAT IS A RIDICULOUS ARGUMENT.
IF YOU DO RESEARCH ONLINE, YOU’LL SEE THAT PLUTONIUM IS REGARDED AS THE MOST DANGEROUS MATERIAL IN THE WORLD.
WE AGREE WITH DR. MICHAEL KETTERER, PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF CHEMISTRY AND BIOCHEMISTRY AT NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY WHO HAS BEEN CONDUCTING SOIL SAMPLES AT ROCKY FLATS FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS. HE TOLD THE MEDIA AFTER THE HOT PARTICLE FINDING THAT “IT’S INEVITABLE THERE’S GOING TO BE SOME RELEASE OF THESE HOT PARTICLES AS A RESULT OF THIS CONSTRUCTION PROJECT” (MEANING IT’S NOT AN ANOMALY, THERE ARE MORE HOT PARTICLES OUT THERE). AND, There is no air monitoring equipment (WHICH ISN’T REPORTED IN REAL TIME ANYWAY) that can test down to the micron level, so no evidence of plutonium particles might ever be found.
SO, ON ONE SIDE OF THE INDIANA WE HAVE ONE STANDARD BY THE STATE, AND ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET WE HAVE ANOTHER HIGHER STANDARD SET BY THE FEDS. HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE THAT THERE SHOULD BE DIFFERENT STANDARDS ONLY ABOUT 50-60 FEET APART? AND CDPHE IS BOWING TO THE FEDS AND AGREEING THAT ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS ON THE WEST SIDE IS FIT FOR ANY USE, INCLUDING CONSTRUCTING A HIGHWAY.
let me CONCLUDE with some comments from Dr. harvey nichols WHO SPOKE TO THE BFCC ON june 18. DR. NICHOLS IS EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY AT CU FOR 40 YEARS, AND HAS BEEN ENGAGED WITH ROCKY FLATS SINCE 1975.
he said his analysis showed quote--there are tens to nearly 100 billion plutonium particles/acre laid down over the 40 years of operation and that has merged over to indiana.
he went on to say quote: plutonium was designed to kill people. if we don’t control it now and for many generations to come, it will do the nasty job it was created to do.”
Conclusion: Importance Of Election
ALL OF THIS POINTS TO THE CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF THE 2019 CITY ELECTIONS WHICH IS OUR NEXT TOPIC OF DISCUSSION.
MAKE NO MISTAKE THE CURRENT ARVADA LEADERSHIP AND CITY COUNCIL WANT THIS TOLLWAY TO BE BUILT, AND HAVE DEMONSTRATED THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT LEYDEN ROCK OR THE PUBLIC SAFETY RELATED TO POTENTIAL RELEASE OF PLUTONIUM CONTAMINATION ALONG INDIANA.
SHORT OF LEGAL ACTION, IT’S LIKELY THE ONLY WAY TO STOP THE TOLLWAY IS TO CHANGE THE MAKEUP OF THE COUNCIL. IF MARC WILLIAMS, DAVID JONES AND BOB FIFER ALL ARE RE-ELECTED, THE $800,000 FUNDING FOR THE TOLLWAY WILL BE ALLOCATED NEXT YEAR AND MORE TAXPAYER DOLLARS WILL BE APPROVED LIKELY FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS AFTER THAT. WE NEED TO UNSEAT THEM, TO HAVE A CHANCE TO STOP THE TOLLWAY NEXT YEAR.
1. 2019 ARVADA CITY ELECTIONS
Election Day: Tuesday November 5
Ballots mailed: Friday 10/11; drop off boxes open Monday 10/14
We need a sense of urgency due to these deadlines
a. VOTE FOR candidates who oppose the Jefferson Parkway
i. Mayor: Harriett Hall
ii. District 4: Jordan Hohenstein
iii. At Large: Jeff Cannon
b. Engage others
i. Use social media to communicate about the election and support our candidates
ii. Use neighborhood meetings, parties, gatherings, etc. to communicate about the election and support our candidates
c. Put yard signs up supporting our candidates ASAP
2. Support the Movement to Stop Jefferson Parkway
a. Sign up on Movement to Stop Jefferson Parkway email list (sign-up sheet going around) for updates/action alerts
b. Visit our website @ stopjeffersonparkway.com
c. Volunteer to participate in our efforts (need help on Core Team)
This is the first fact sheet about Jefferson Parkway (JP), its support by our city council and JPPHA board, and the potential impact on Arvada citizens.
The original idea was to build a beltway around metro Denver. The northwest parkway, E470 and C470 comprise about 60% of the circle, but the project bogged down due to resistance by Golden. Until recently, the words “nearly complete” have been used by media and proponents to support the beltway idea. Business development is the story now, even though a consultant reported no benefit whether the road is built or not.
Several options were considered, including CO 93 and Indiana, but these were rejected due to state funding and other issues. The plan for JP is to be 10 miles long and wend through Leyden Rock, linking CO 93 and 128th. The southern entry is 12.5 miles from C470 and the northern one is 7.5 miles to NW parkway. So the notion of JP as nearly completing the beltway is just not true. There are 20 miles of “missing gaps” remaining until some speculative future date; they are twice the length of JP.
The road idea was floated ~30 years ago, but citizens voted against it. In the past decade, however, financial support was given to the JPPHA board. The idea of a public-private toll road is not new, as there are several in this country.
· In 1988, Arvada citizens voted 4-1 against a parkway, but that didn’t stop the formation of the board and its financial support by Arvada and two other cities.
· The total funding to date is ~$23 million which the board has used for staff, consultants, physical testing, preparing an RFP and marketing to the public.
· A Leyden Rock committee worked for a year on recommendations which were rejected by the board, until pressure for some reconsideration occurred.
The parkway is supported by almost all of the city council, which preaches business as a rationale. The proponents include Jones (4th), Williams (mayor) and Fifer (at-large), who are all running for re-election.
Watch for future fact sheets which will unveil more information that supporters may not want you to know. However, you should be very concerned about the implications.
This is the second fact sheet about Jefferson Parkway (JP), its support by city council and impact on Arvada citizens. This speaks to adverse impact on Leyden Rock homes.
There are 148 homes along the proposed route of JP that will be affected by noise, lights and safety from the toll road. The impact will change those living in their homes. The strategy of the neighbors group is to endorse mitigations that would reduce the noise and lights to an acceptable level. But that is just not technically possible.
The JPPHA board consultants have been measuring possible decibel levels that those homes will receive. Even they indicated the 75 +/- 5 decibels from cars and trucks will moderated only to ~65, which is still 10X a normal talking voice, by 8-12 ft. walls (at a project cost of $2.5m per mile). This is not what the board wants to discuss.
When it comes to light mitigation, there is no solution. A road must have certain lighting “boomers” to meet highway standards; they will easily destroy the night time darkness for those homeowners in their back yards and from their decks. Even 1-2 ft-candles, the typical parking lot standard, stands out, much less the 5-10 likely to be imposed.
Then there is the safety aspect. On a ten–mile stretch of C470, there was an average of one grass fire every four months during a ten-year period, from accidents and flying metal. The prospect of such fires 100-200 ft. (5-10 car lengths) to the backyards of those 148 homes is too frightening to contemplate.
The fire department said they had not yet been contacted by JPPHA to discuss access on an emergency basis to our neighborhood. Because the two end points of JP are on CO 93 and 128th, there is no access. The fire department is relying on cross-country vehicles to respond in time to fires endangering homes.
These then are the implications of how homeowners’ lives will be altered even decimated by this road. While buyers were told about the possibility, no one ever thought the road would bring such environmental harm and home value losses.
Every homeowner, adjacent to the route or peripherally affected, should contact the city council and JPPHA board. Those running for election should be defeated. Those officials spending citizen money should be challenged as to their transparency and decision-making. Arvada citizens demand accountability for its stakeholders!
This is the third fact sheet about Jefferson Parkway (JP), its support by our city council and use of our taxpayer dollars. The subtle spending is significant and has to be dug out of city budgets.
As stated in an earlier fact sheet, the Arvada city council approved ~$8.5m this year to continue support of the JPPHA board. (Its staff even hired a marketing firm to tell the board’s story.) Those are our tax dollars at work, to move the process ahead that would see the construction and operation of this private tollway.
Now what would this money do for our city and its needs for funding. City documents state that 70% of its streets are rated only fair. Anyone who drives on them knows that original construction and continued maintenance haven’t conquered the bumps and potholes. Consider other road projects for that amount of money in 2019:
· $9.7m for overall street maintenance
· $7.1 million being spent on 72nd and Indiana changes
· $16.6m needed for Ralston improvements
Although our money for JPPHA won’t cover the above projects, it shows how the tollway spending just for planningthe road compares. Additionally, there are other needs for the city to support police and fire, family services, health-related outreach and the like. Money from Arvada will continue to be requested for the toll road too.
The prospects for payback are grim, despite promises it would be part of the RFP and negotiated. The fact is that major projects, this one sought for $250 million, would be loath to return ~10% to the cities early in the operation. If it takes 4-5 years from the opening to generate revenue, it will go first to building the road and its maintenance.
In the future, payback will shrink over time due to inflation. In 20 years, value would be half; later on, it could end up in dimes and nickels if it’s paid. Northwest Parkway is an example with its junk bonds and buyout by a foreign firm. Poor performance by the road financially might cause the operation to go bankrupt and our tax dollars are then totally lost. Another fact sheet will list failures of private tollways in this country.
The money Arvada City Council has donated to JPPHA for the “Road to Nowhere” is our money, and can be used for much higher-priority expenditures. Vote in the next election for those candidates who have fiscal accountability.
This is the fourth fact sheet about Jefferson Parkway (JP), and its financial support by the city council for private tollways that are on shaky ground as investments.
The purpose of a public-private tollway is to build a road and charge tolls that will pay off the total investment for construction and operation. These enterprises are formed because states and cities do not want to spend money on this work, thus consortia are formed to make money for investors with these tollways.
The key is traffic projections of cars and trucks, which yield tolls to pay off bonds and support operations/maintenance. However, there are numerous tollways in the U.S. which have failed because the traffic forecasts are plain wrong. Here are examples:
· Indiana toll road is the most recent, declaring bankruptcy in 2018. The traffic projected by Smith (who also did JP) was to gain 22% every seven years. The reality was an 11% decline, and that caused financial disaster.
· Other public-private roads in Texas (Hwy 130), California (south bay), South Carolina, Alabama, Michigan and others are sordid examples. There are other roads such as in New York that have stopped construction due to economics.
· Taxpayers, directly or indirectly, end up holding the bag from these failed roads, despite a big sell at the onset. The promises of benefits turn out to be sheer folly whether they are for eliminating traffic jams, developing business, and/or solving transportation requirements in the future.
· Anyone can log on to StreetsBlog for its three-part series on economic failures of various toll roads, mostly attributed to overly optimistic forecasts.
· The Northwest tollway was based on traffic projections which never materialized. Thus it went into receivership with only junk bonds until a Portuguese company obtained a 99-year lease, but the tolls continue to increase on that route.
· Unfortunately, Smith has estimated traffic on JP, which should be challenged by the three bidders...else they will be shocked by what actually occurs.
My name is Gary B... I am a Disabled Veteran. For 15 years, I served as an Aerial Combat Photographer, Surveillance Systems, Reconnaissance, Target Acquisition and Battle Damage Assessment Operator in Counterterrorism Special Operations. I travelled all over the world and saw some of the worst things you can imagine. I was wounded several times and suffered many other injuries. My body has healed but one thing has not, my mind. I have severe PTSD. My wife and I lived in Lake Arbor, Arvada for 20 years. We were five blocks from Sheridan Boulevard. The traffic noise and sirens really affected me. I was constantly reacting to loud sharp noises. We decided to buy our home in Leyden Rock because it was well out of the city, quiet and has great neighbors. In 2015 we moved in and construction was still underway. I did not realize the toll that construction noise, for over a year, would have on me. The daily hammering, nail guns and heavy vehicles kept me from going outside and I stayed in the safety of my home. Now, the thought of more than two years of highway construction has me extremely concerned. It is hard to differentiate between construction sounds and combat.
When we purchased our home, we were told by the builder that the Jefferson Parkway would probably never happen. If it did, it would be at least 10 years. My research led me to the conclusion there were so many roadblocks the parkway would never go through. The City of Golden, FAA restrictions on the north end of the Parkway and acquiring land from owners that did not want to sell were just a few challenges. I also investigated Rocky Flats and concluded that it would not be a threat because there was no way that any construction would be approved due to the countless buried Plutonium hot spots. In my wildest imagination, I could not imagine that the US government would sell over 100 acres to the Jefferson Parkway Authority to be dug up to build a road. With so many homes and businesses downwind, I thought this would be impossible. I was wrong.
Now I realize that our government officials that we elected have a different agenda than protecting our citizens. I thought a Parkway would be like all others, with safety, light and sound mitigation as well as landscaping, bike and walking paths to fit in with community design. Now I find out this is not a Parkway, this will be a toll road to be owned and operated by a private entity that could care less about our community. Our disclosure at closing did not say a toll road it stated there was a Right of Way for a parkway.
Our city representatives appear to be more interested in business growth and increased tax revenue. I was also an Arvada Real Estate Broker for 19 years. Leyden Rock, Candelas and several other communities will suffer property value losses, especially those homes backing to the toll road. Hopefully, Jefferson County understands that while our property values decrease, so will their property taxes.
I am asking the Council to step back for a moment and think from your heart. Would you be OK with having your family living next to a toll road with 65+ speeds and only 6-7 car lengths from your back yard? What would you do?
I have talked at length with my veteran brothers about this proposed parkway. As a member, for over 20 years, of the VFW, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans, I have resounding support. If this route goes through the middle of Leyden Rock, we will band together and do what we know. FIGHT! I don’t mean combat, I mean with our voices and numbers.
We did not give service to our country not to be represented by the officials we voted for. Several council members will soon be running for reelection. Trust me, it will be an uphill battle if you do not show compassion and that our citizens are your number one concern. If the route cannot be moved from Leyden Rock, at the very least, provide safety, noise, light and emissions mitigation and make sure not to bring Plutonium into our communities.
Thank You for Your Time.
"Now I realize that our government officials that we elected have a different agenda than protecting our citizens. I thought a Parkway would be like all others, with safety, light and sound mitigation as well as landscaping, bike and walking paths to fit in with community design. Now I find out this is not a Parkway, this will be a toll road to be owned and operated by a private entity that could care less about our community."
The Denver Post just released this article online about our opposition to the Jefferson Parkway Toll Road. It went to press on March 18. Take a few moments to read the article.
Sound and noise are serious issues. It is expected that noise will increase from the Jefferson Parkway (tollway). Based on a noise study, the worst-case noise level increase for Leyden Rock homes that border the tollway is expected to be +30 dB (Decibels). To appreciate what a 30 dB noise increase means we need to understand some basics beginning with existing noise levels.
An engineering firm measured the existing noise levels for homes that border the tollway. The measured average existing noise for homes bordering the tollway is 38 dB. The existing noise level is needed to compare to the expected tollway 30 dB noise increase that will be heard at homes bordering the tollway.
A 30 dB noise increase means that homes bordering the tollway will hear noise at 68 dB (38 + 30 = 68) once the tollway becomes operational. A 68 dB noise is somewhere between typical speech and a washing machine as seen on the noise meter below. The real issue is the 30 dB noise increase as explained below:
The expected 30 dB noise increase is a serious issue for Leyden Rock residents bordering the tollway because an additional 30 dB is equivalent to hearing noise that is eight (8) times louder than what you’re currently hearing today.
The JPPHA (Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority) is considering noise mitigation for Leyden Rock, but unfortunately the options offered so far seem to be limited to 8 to 20-foot sound walls. According to their noise study, a 20-foot sound wall will reduce the sound by 8 dB, which reduces the noise level from 68 dB to 60 dB. Even with a 20-foot sound wall, the noise level will still be 22 dB higher than today’s existing noise.
A 22 dB noise increase is equivalent to hearing noise that is four (4) times louder than what homeowners are hearing today.
For reference, the Arvada and State of Colorado residential noise level compliance is 55dB between 7am and 7pm and 50dB between 7pm to 7am. The proposed 20-foot-tall sound wall only reduces the expected tollway noise to 60dB, so sound walls by themselves will not mitigate the noise to acceptable levels.
The Federal Highway Authority (FHWA) advises local governments should use their regulatory authority to prohibit residential development adjacent to highways or that they require planning, design, and construction of developments that minimize highway traffic noise impacts. It’s clear that Arvada leaders along with the JPPHA ignored the FHWA recommendations as it pertains to the Jefferson Parkway through Leyden Rock and Candelas.
The JPPHA used the disclosure forms that Leyden Rock residents signed as proof that home buyers were informed about the tollway. The Leyden Rock home builder’s disclosure forms did not inform home buyers that the tollway noise was going to be as high as eight times higher than it would be without the tollway. We will never know how many home buyers would not have purchased Leyden Rock homes bordering the tollway if they had known the truth about how much noise the tollway was going to generate?
We are about to distribute this flyer throughout as many neighborhoods as possible. This is not an easy thing to do. We are asking you to download our Neighborhood Flyer, print it and distribute to your neighbors. We need to get our message out to as many Arvada homeowners as possible. Please help us to spread the word!
Take a moment to watch this newsclip. Local media is starting to notice our Movement.
I recommend that you go to 9:01 on the video so you can watch the Public Comment and responses of the Council.
Large Crowd Attends Movement to Stop Jefferson Parkway Meeting
A full audience of Leyden Rock residents attended the Movement to Stop Jefferson Parkway community meeting last night. Attendees watched the Power Point Presentation and were able to have several question and answer opportunities to fully understand the full scope of the Jefferson Parkway project.
-the background of the Tollway
-how this alignment through our neighborhood happened
-the safety and health risks posed by the Tollway
-what you can do right now to help Stop the Parkway
To view the Power Point Presentation, click the download button below. Once downloaded, click Slide Show on the menu bar at the top of the screen, then press Start on the left of the menu.
Please go to 2:23 to hear Randy Stafford's comments regarding JPAC's advice that was disregarded and the Rocky Flats plutonium issues. Brett Vernon discusses first responder's access from the north of Leyden Rock to Hwy 72. Jeff S. speaks out regarding Leyden Rock issues. At 1:50:45, Mike Raabe addresses the council regarding the well being of Leyden Rock and the Jefferson Parkway.
The Movement to Stop Jefferson Parkway, an Arvada based citizen group opposing the proposed Tollway, wants you to know a little-known fact about how the proposed Tollway will impact Indiana Street.
We discovered that the Tollway construction plans call for a re-alignment of Indiana Street and will include a roundabout. A roundabout is a circular intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise around a center island. There are no traffic signals or stop signs in a roundabout. Drivers must yield at entry to traffic in the roundabout, then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street. The roundabout is planned for the northern section of Indiana Street near Walnut Creek.
The proposed plan shows north bound traffic on the Tollway will cross over Indiana Street and head towards Broomfield. The roundabout will allow southbound traffic on Indiana Street to enter the Tollway, and northbound traffic to exit the Tollway onto Indiana Street. The maps on the right were obtained from the Highway Authority's website (jppha.org) and shows how the roundabout is currently designed.
The roundabout will allow traffic to exit the Tollway travelling north or south. When the traffic exits it will be forced to merge with traffic on the roundabout. For the Tollway to pass over Indiana Street and connect with the planned roundabout, Indiana Street will need to be realigned to the east for approximately a mile or less.
The Movement to Stop Jefferson Parkway group believe this plan is a deliberate attempt to slow traffic down on Indiana in order to direct more traffic onto the Tollway. The opposition group has been hearing rumors of attempts to slow the speed limit on Indiana in order to frustrate drivers into using the Tollway.
We believe the roundabout could bring traffic to a choking point as vehicles from three directions will need to immediately slow down to avoid collisions.
The Highway Authority indicates that the design is only a draft and could be changed by the bidders during the design process. However, the roundabout design will remain in the plan and be in the request for proposal process to the bidders.
Please contact your Arvada City Council and let them know how you feel about this plan to alter and slow down Indiana Street. Better yet, come and tell them at their next meeting on March 4th.
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