In your mail this week, you likely received a couple of slick, glossy expensive pieces of propaganda from “Yes for Greenwood Village” regarding the June 6 special election on the proposed changes to Greenwood Village’s Comprehensive Plan, which sets forth Greenwood Village’s vision, goals and planning framework. VOTING NO on June 6 maintains the existing comprehensive plan and vision for the Village.
Their mailings, website and full-page ads in the Villager claim that voting yes, “enables a 35-40% reversal of traffic congestion”.
Using traffic statistics from the Village’s traffic engineer, it is estimated that the 3.3 million square foot development plan (3-times the Size of Streets of Southglenn) that Alberta Development Partners submitted last summer could produce 34,000 VEHICLE TRIPS PER DAY (and that was only on 55% or 24 of the 44-acre development opportunity in the Subarea). Most of these trips would be incremental, since the Marilyn Hickey Church and empty 13-acre lot in the proposed Subarea currently produce a limited amount of traffic. This is over TWICE the amount of traffic from a sold out Nuggets or Avalanche game.
The mailing I received yesterday repeats a misleading quote, three-times, from Councilwoman Leslie Schluter. (Note: Schluter’s husband, Drew Sweeney is a co-chair of Yes for Greenwood Village). In her quote, she says “if we don’t make the change, we are saddled with the worst profile for traffic congestion”.
Don’t be fooled, here’s why:
The implication is that mixed-use development is better for traffic than commercial office because mixed-use spreads traffic throughout the day.
Unfortunately, Councilwoman Schluter’s comments are refuted with traffic statistics presented to City Council on August 17, 2015 by the GV consultants.
The statistics presented by GV’s consultants, who are also Alberta’s consultants, show the following based on 100,000 square feet:
- Mixed-use produces 50% more trips per day (1,680 vs 1,110 trips) and 10% more in the peak afternoon hour than office space (165 vs. 150 trips).
- Mixed use with mass transit (being next to the light rail) produces the EXACT same peak hour traffic as commercial office (150 trips), but still produces 40% more throughout the day (1,550 vs. 1,110 trips). Additionally, mixed-use also increases traffic to 18-hours a day and on weekends.
If people believe light rail is the answer, the traffic consultants only assume that mass transit will reduce vehicle trips by 7.7%. This is slightly higher than a recent traffic study of the South I-25 Corridor that shows less than 7% of commuters currently utilize light rail or the bus.
Again, based on these statistics, mixed-use development (even with mass transit) produces:
1) MORE daily traffic;
2) MORE peak afternoon traffic;
3) MORE non-peak traffic (including nights and weekends).
The only exception is morning rush hour.
It is ludicrous to believe that changing the comp plan to allow for an enormous increase in density will improve traffic because we will then be able to have mixed use. The current comprehensive plan and zoning already allows for 2.3 million square feet of mixed-use development opportunity (they can already build 2-times the size of Streets of Southglenn).
Finally, note that the city’s traffic consultants, Felsburg, Holt & Ulleving are also the same traffic consultants that Yes for Greenwood Village is referencing in its mailings. If you read Felsburg’s 2011 Greenwood Village traffic study (which assumed NO new development in Orchard Station), you will see that the engineers reached very different conclusions about the ability to improve the Orchard/I-25 interchange. In 2011 the engineers stated,
“Improvements needed for intersection capacity would require extensive bridge reconstruction and right-of-way acquisition. Improvements would need to be part of a coordinated interchange reconstruction with the Colorado Department of Transportation.”
Is Yes for Greenwood Village promising reconstruction of the I-25/Orchard Bridge if residents vote to change the language in a document outlining the City’s vision?
I am very happy that the incredibly intelligent residents of Greenwood Village get to determine the future for Greenwood Village.