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Get the Facts About the Jefferson Parkway.
Get the Facts About the Jefferson Parkway.
On Tuesday, February 25th, the future of the Jefferson Parkway was dealt a serious blow when one of the three governmental partners voted to leave the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority (JPPHA). The Broomfield City Council unanimously voted (9-0) to withdraw from the JPPHA.
The Movement to Stop Jefferson Parkway played a critical role in helping the Council reach their decision. Movement Core Team member Mike Raabe led the effort in Broomfield with the support of Randy Stafford, a Jefferson County resident, who has served as the Movement's subject matter expert on plutonium contamination in Rocky Flats.
Together the two along with other individuals, organizations and community groups spent the last year educating and talking with Council members about concerns with the proposed Parkway. In 2019, those efforts led to the Council delaying their vote to approve a $2.5 million funding request from JPPHA. By the end of 2019, Broomfield still had not approved any funds for JPPHA. In November, a new Council took office with four new members. They were all opposed to the proposed Parkway project.
The February 25th Council meeting, the four new members (Anderson, Henkel, Lim and Lindstedt) joined other Council members (Castriotta, Groom, Jezierski, Shaaf and Tessier) in supporting the resolution to withdraw from the JPPHA. Council member Law-Evans was absent. Over 20 residents spoke in support of the withdrawal resolution, while no one spoke against it. The Council also received numerous emails in support of the resolution.
Here are some comments from the Council members on the 25th:
• Council member Henkel said this was a "risky superfund tollway". She added that "throwing more money at this is not wise". She asked "who is driving this? It's not the people."
• Council member and Mayor Pro-Tem, Castriotta, told the audience this was a "testament to the power of a committed group of people, who were really engaged and trying to educate us."
• Council member Lindstedt said that after the finding of the plutonium hot particle last summer, it would be "irresponsible to move forward with this alignment."
When the vote was announced, Mayor Quinn allowed the crowd to celebrate with loud and long applause.
The next steps will be for Broomfield to formally send their letter of withdrawal. Per the establishing contract with the JPPHA, Arvada and Jefferson County must unanimously accept the withdrawal and Broomfield must meet any outstanding "obligations". It's unclear what those obligations are but Council staff believes that will include a request for money.
The Movement will continue to monitor this situation as any significant dollars that might come from Broomfield would be used by JPPHA to continue the project. Our group will also continue the dialogue that started last year with the Jefferson County Commissioners. It's unclear how Jefferson County will continue their involvement given their budgetary crisis. With Broomfield's withdrawal, it is possible Jefferson County might consider a similar action.
The media has been very active with coverage of the Jefferson Parkway project since the beginning of the project as well as community involvement. Below are links to Press Releases and Media Reports regarding the Broomfield City Council meeting and vote to withdraw from the JPPHA.
City of Broomfield: https://broomfield.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1820
FOX Channel 31: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-JLz9Xc4gY
Greetings and Happy New Year to you and your families. January marks 1 year since our little group was formed to oppose the Jefferson Parkway. Along the way we had some successes and failures but at the end of the day the road design has not been issued for bids. In no order of importance consider the following:
1) One of the three JPPHA approved bidders has withdrawn from the project citing continued delays, opposition within the community and a softening in support by some of the governments. This leaves two bidders and as bidders withdraw the possibility of a favorable contact lessens for the JPPHA
2) Despite assertions to the contrary a highly dangerous plutonium hot spot was found in the road right of way. This is all the more significant and concerning because the sampling plan was so broad as to almost assure non detection, EXCEPT they found a hot spot. Time will tell if the JPPHA will consider the safety impact of the find and require significantly more testing to assure safety or pray that " all is well"
3) The November election results were a mixed bag with only one of three people opposed to the Jefferson Parkway winning election in Arvada. In Broomfield however the anti fracking group prevailed over those favoring the parkway. Broomfield has appointed two members to the JPPHA who are opposed the parkway as designed. The 2020 JPPHA budget narrowly passed 2 to 1 when one of the two Broomfield representatives in attendance voted NO on the budget.
4) Our efforts led by Mike Raabe and Randy Stafford were particularly effective in influencing the Broomfield council to NOT allocate the $2,500,000 requested by the JPPHA in 2019. As of this writing this money still has not been appropriated. The money was needed to allow the more detailed design and review plans for the road.
5) Jefferson county proposed and lost a vote on increasing taxes which resulted in a $600,000 cut for JPPHA earmarked funds. Although the county still appropriated $400,000 for the JPPHA in the current year, the county will need to cut the budget again in 2021 absent any taxpayer approval to increase taxes. At some point the county ( we hope) will prioritize existing services and employees over the as yet non existent potential for a road that is described by many as useless.
6) The Arvada council was shocked by Charles McKay ( developer of Candelas and a major driver for construction of the Jefferson Parkway) when he and his partner told the council that they have been unable to sell ANY land alloted for commercial development. The Candelas development includes approval for 7,500,000 square feet of commercial space. The original hope was that this area plus other undeveloped land on Indiana Street would lead to a tech center that rivals the Denver Tech Center. A UC professor employed by McKay testified that his research indicated that commercial developers require free road access rather than toll roads. Development is occurring along the free route 36 corridor rather than the expensive Jeffco Parkway. The UC professor indicated that the toll road HINDERED rather than ENCOURAGED DEVELOPMENT.
7) McKay indicated conditions were so poor for commercial opportunities that he requested that the council consider development options other than commercial for the Candelas property. In this case "OTHER" indicates massive housing projects. City officials indicated that if McKays' development requests were granted almost all of the surplus water allocated to Avada would be consumed. This prospect was concerning to some on the council but ultimately the council voted 4 to 3 to allow McKay to submit alternative projects ( ie housing) for consideration. Council members Ford, Simpson and Fifer voted against the request with the Mayor, and councilmen Miller, Marriott and Jones voted to approve the request.
8) To date the three JPPHA partners have spent $16,000,000 in support of Jefferson Parkway development. Not a single dollar has been recouped from this investment and this is money that could have been used for immediate effect. The investment itself is risky as illustrated by a number of other P3 ( Public Private Partnerships) projects that have failed. For example there is the fiasco at Denver International airport last year and the spectacular failure of the Indiana toll road. Ultimately these failures result in taxpayers footing the bill. The return on investment is low while the risk of loss is high. This is certainly not the best equation for success.
9) A concerned group of citizens, including myself, filed an ethics complaint against Mayor Williams for the large number of developer contributions he accepted in the last campaign. The mayor received contributions from Charlie McKay ( mentioned above) Richmond American homes ( a local housing builder that even supplied the mayors' planning commission chairman with campaign space) and Chris Elliott. Chris is the developer of Leyden Rock and he donated $7500. Arvada is a " home rule" town meaning that government is determined by who has the biggest guns rather than the rule of law and ethics. The town ruled that there was no reason to assume the Mayor was compromised by accepting the funds.
10) We identified that the Jefferson Parkway connection at Indiana Street would include a roundabout rather than a more expensive traffic signal intersection. One key to success in the view of the JPPHA is a road design that is not overly expensive for the bidder to construct. Consequently the Jefferson Parkway was estimated to cost $250,000,000 to construct rather than the $400,000,000 required to build the Northwest Parkway. History tells us that the NW Parkway cost and associated traffic projections contributed to the ultimate default of the bonds. The JPPHA of necessity must keep costs low and lower costs translate into eliminating the safety and quality of life features necessary to protect families from a high speed highway running within 200 feet of some homes.
11) Speaking about the roundabout, JPPHA executive director Bill Ray indicated that the roundabout would work and he pointed to the success of the roundabout in front of the Ralston Valley High School. The RV high school roundabout does work, except when it experiences delays such as the school population entering or leaving the building grounds. So we might say that the RV High School roundabout DOES NOT WORK. In fact the design failed to the point that the town or school district added a second lane solely to bring traffic into the school from the east and effectively bypassing the roundabout. I do not believe that there is any traffic analysis to determine the estimated level of service grade for the roundabout design ( ie how traffic moves through the roundabout) so your guess is as good as the next person. I believe it will fail during rush hours resulting in slower moving traffic and increased commuting times. We do know that Bill Ray has not stated whether the Jefferson Parkway or Indiana street will be the first traffic path to enter the roundabout. My gut tells me that priority will be given to the toll road which of course will further slow traffic on Indiana.
12) On Tuesday January 21th at approximately 2:15pm the Jefferson County commissioners will be meeting with councilman Jones and JPPHA executive director Bill Ray to discuss the future of the Jefferson Parkway project. The meeting is open to the public but no public comments are allowed. We do not know about the details but certainly there is increasing uncertainty about the project. Mike Raabe from our team will be in attendance to monitor the discussion. Please feel free to stop by and say hello.
From the start I indicated to those who asked that stopping this project was an uphill battle and chances of success were not great. I am not an optimist but I do believe that our chances have improved. We must however expand our scope beyond this being a local community issue to one that affects a large number of people. We need your help to inform your neighbors, your friends in the area and the clubs and groups you belong to so that more people are educated. We can help you with facts, materials or speakers to spread the message but we need your active support in spreading the message. Our effort really will take a village and our success is greatly related to your continued efforts. Jeff S.
DENVER POST ARTICLE 12/28/19
The long-planned Broomfield-to-Golden segment of the metro area’s beltway has hit another roadblock, with one of three firms in the running to build the tollway telling highway officials this month the Jefferson Parkway is not close to making financial sense.
The Jefferson Expressway Group, in a Dec. 11 letter to the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority, said it was withdrawing from consideration as a private-sector partner to design and build the 10-mile road, concluding that “anticipated (toll) revenue potential does not adequately support the Project’s costs by a sizable gap.” The firm, one of three consortiums chosen a year ago to submit a proposal to construct the controversial $250 million highway northwest of Denver, also cited “ongoing environmental challenges” as a reason for pulling out.
The highway has long been opposed by neighborhood and activist groups, who say it serves no good mobility purpose and risks stirring up wind-blown plutonium and uranium that was deposited during the 40 years Rocky Flats was an operating nuclear weapons manufacturing plant. An elevated reading of plutonium that was found last summer on the eastern periphery of the refuge, right where the parkway would sit, prompted additional soil testing and analysis that has led to months of delay to the project’s start. The news of a firm stepping away from the bidding process comes as state health officials this week released the latest batch of test results on soil samples collected earlier this year in and around Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.
With the exception of the single reading found last summer, all of the samples submitted to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment thus far show levels of radioactive contamination well within the federal government’s safety threshold. That includes 48 samples taken by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 27 samples collected by Jefferson County and approximately 275 samples taken by the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority over the past half year or so.
“After initial analysis of the additional soil sampling results and other information, we found there were no other elevated results,” Jennifer Opila, director of CDPHE’s Hazardous Material and Waste Management Division, said in a statement. “We have and continue to hear community concerns and will continue to analyze the data and evaluate next steps as necessary.”
There are still a dozen or so samples taken at depth along Indiana Street that have yet to be compiled. Jefferson Expressway Group, which includes Broomfield-based Flatiron Constructors as a principal, gave a dire fiscal prognosis in its departure letter to Bill Ray, executive director of Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority, concluding the “project is not feasible under the current procurement approach.” Still in the running to build the tollway is Beltway Connection Partners and Colorado Front Range Connectors.
Ray said Friday he’s not surprised that “with no clear timetable, (Jefferson Expressway Group) would move on and focus on other projects.” He said the parkway is “on idle for the moment,” as his team waits for CDPHE to draw up a map of all the sampling points and perform a thorough risk assessment for construction workers who would build the road. CDPHE expects to wrap up its work in April. The plan is for the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority to then request proposals from the two remaining bidding teams. Groundbreaking for the highway wouldn’t happen until the spring of 2021 at the earliest, Ray said.
Arvada Mayor Marc Williams, who sits on the authority’s board, said he’s still optimistic about the prospects for building the tollway. Previous analysis of the road’s economics, he said, shows that future toll revenues collected on Jefferson Parkway would be sufficient to support the project.
But the parkway faces internal challenges, as well. Broomfield, which along with Arvada and Jefferson County makes up the authority’s membership, has been reticent to pony up $2.5 million in 2019 dues it owes to the project. Deputy City Manager Kevin Standbridge said the recent exit letter from Jefferson Expressway Group will factor into deliberations city leaders are having about Broomfield’s future as a parkway member. “The council is currently discussing the wisdom of continuing to participate in the Jefferson Parkway, and this will fold into that discussion,” Standbridge said.
Mike Raabe, an Arvada resident who is with The Movement to Stop Jefferson Parkway, said the fact that one of the project’s potential bidders pulled out should be a red flag that building the parkway in the shadow of a contaminated Cold War Superfund site is a bad idea.
“The bottom line is there is plutonium on the ground along the Indiana corridor right of way where the tollway construction would occur — that fact is not in dispute,” he said. “What is being argued is what is a safe level of plutonium? This is a dangerous argument considering plutonium is the most hazardous material on the planet.”
December 11, 2019
Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority
William A. Ray, Executive Director
c/o City Manager's Office
Arvada City Hall – Third Floor
8101 Ralston Rd
Arvada, CO 80002
REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS TO DESIGN, BUILD, FINANCE, OPERATE AND MAINTAIN THE JEFFERSON PARKWAY PROJECT – UPDATE ON PROJECT FEASIBILITY AND NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL
Dear Mr. Ray,
On behalf of Jefferson Expressway Group (JEFFEX), I am writing to provide you an update of our team’s evaluation of the Jefferson Parkway Project (the Project). Following submission of our SOQ and subsequent shortlisting in December 2018, JEFFEX continued to work diligently and invest significant resources in order to advance our analysis of the technical and financial elements of the Project and its underlying economic feasibility.
Unfortunately, we have found through this additional analysis (and alongside our traffic and revenue and financial advisors) that the Project’s anticipated revenue potential does not adequately support the Project’s costs by a sizable gap. This determination, when considered alongside other significant issues including the unavailability of any public funds to help address the funding shortfall and the ongoing environmental challenges, has led us to our view that the Project is not feasible under the current procurement approach.
In light of these findings and the significant challenges that must be overcome to advance the Project under a reasonable and timely manner, we respectfully withdraw from the procurement. If you wish, we welcome the opportunity to discuss in more detail the analysis that led us to this difficult decision.
Our team members would like to sincerely thank you for the opportunity to be considered for the Project. We have followed its developments closely over the past months and commend you and your team’s efforts to advance the Project and manage its many challenges. We wish JPPHA success in its ongoing efforts to make the Project a reality.
Jefferson Expressway Group (JEFFEX)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Actual Roundabout Merge Diagram
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