Castle Rock now has a road map for bringing transit options to town in future years, although none of the plans are funded and it will be up to the town council to prioritize if, how and when the …
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Castle Rock now has a road map for bringing transit options to town in future years, although none of the plans are funded and it will be up to the town council to prioritize if, how and when the proposals are implemented.
The town council unanimously approved the Castle Rock Transit Feasibility Study on Oct. 20. The study, a year in the making, lays out what forms of transit town staff would recommend for Castle Rock and how to phase the different modes of transit into town services if the town council chooses to pursue them.
There is no funding in the 2021 budget for any of the study's plans, nor is there any in the town's five-year capital improvement plan.
“This feasibility study's goal was to provide a practical blueprint for transit in Castle Rock,” Public Works Director Dan Sailer said.
Tom Reiff, the town's transportation planner, said the study found transit would help the town serve vulnerable populations, improve connectivity throughout the region, support the local economy and support the town's population growth.
Three modes of transit identified in the study could be used in conjunction with each other or stand alone, he said. They were a point-to-point, on-demand service like taxis; a local, microtransit service like shuttles around town; or a commuter service, such as a commuter shuttle to the Ridgegate Lightrail station.
All would have low upfront capital costs and would likely entail a public-private partnership, Reiff said.
Reiff said staff would recommend phasing in different types of transit.
Phase one might entail expanding the town's existing taxi voucher program by adding hours and opening it up to all trip types. Currently the program is available to seniors and is limited for rides to needs like grocery shopping or medical visits. This option would increase the town's budget by $25,000 to $50,000.
Phase two would convert the taxi voucher program to an on-demand service, instead of by appointment as it has operated. This would increase town costs by $150,000 to $250,000.
Phase three would transition the town to an on-demand service available to the general public. Reiff recommended piloting this in a specific geographic area like the downtown before expanding it town-wide. This plan would increase town costs by $300,000 to $600,000.
Phase four would bring a “hybrid commuter service” to town. The town would phase out its taxi voucher program and provide a commuter service to the RidgeGate Lightrail station in Lone Tree.
“There is no implementing time frame for the program because we don't have identified funding for it yet,” Reiff said.
Councilmember Caryn Johnson voiced some concerns about the study on behalf of a public works commissioner, she said, citing a lack of analysis into how the plan would affect carbon emissions and reduce vehicles in town as one worry.
“Any time we start establishing any component or phase of this,” Sailer said, “we would absolutely have to do some assessment or monitoring.”
Town Manager David Corliss said the council will likely see the presentation again once new councilmembers have assumed office next year. Corliss called the study a worthwhile undertaking.
“We think this has been a very helpful process,” he said.
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