Optimism & Unexpected Trail Closure Update

A Reason for Optimism
Programming Alert: This morning at 10am, Councilors JJ Trout and Casey Brown have invited City Manager Jason Slowinski to join Coffee with a Councilor to answer questions about the unexpected trail and bridge closure.

A reason for optimism: Heart of Golden
I am truly optimistic about improving our town. This week Golden residents have demonstrated, again, that we are engaged, active, and care about our small town.

On a cold and snowy Wednesday night I joined nearly 200 enthusiastic residents who showed up to share our thoughts on re-imagining the Clear Creek Corridor (now that we’ve purchased the Coors property). 

Showing its better side, the City effectively reached out and communicated with residents ahead of time. Which proves that when given a chance, Golden residents respond. We all care about our town!

I encourage everyone to visit GuidingGolden.com to join the Heart of Golden process and learn about the City’s responses regarding another issue, the unexpected 8th street trail and bridge closure. And on that note… 

Unexpected Trail & Bridge Closure Update“Surprise!” may be the most disliked word in the English language. Not surprisingly, it became a common and appropriate description of our collective reaction to the unexpected 8th Street trail and bridge closure along with the City’s initial lack of responsiveness. 

Yet, the concern is not simply for late or lacking communication: Residents are rightly concerned for the reality of true impacts in people’s lives for mobility and safety and recreation and schools.

Among others, I reached out to City Councilors and the Mayor, the City Manager and Staff, and attended the MTAB (Mobility and Transportation Advisory Board) meeting to question one of Golden’s City Engineers.

From multiple conflicting responses through various channels, it is clear the communication and closure problems occurred over the course of months. This was not just a last minute “oopsie” forced on us by a private developer and the Church Ditch company beyond our control. And it’s likely to last longer than we thought – now opening in mid-to-late March.

This didn’t have to happen. It was a significant process issue and our frustration is valid – we’ve seen this before for both City and private developer projects!  

What’s next?
Life’s too short to spend time figuring out who to blame. We should expect accountability! Understanding this, many comments from residents reflect a positive Golden path forward:

o First, there is still opportunity to encourage the City Manager to take advantage of Golden’s creative engineering expertise as the hometown of School of Mines to figure out an alternative or bypass to the construction. We can do this.

o Second, everything I’ve heard from neighbors suggests there is tremendous value in understanding what did or didn’t happen. This is not to point fingers, it is so we can improve and embed processes within the City codes, Staff workflow, and our advisory boards to help reduce the likelihood of this happening again.

o Finally, Phew! Because the bridge was also closed, there was concern for structural safety. Nobody from the City has suggested a safety concern for the pedestrian overpass across Highway 58.

Whether it’s too late for this project or not, this exercise remains real — more road closures are already in the works. If you haven’t heard, the City has just announced a major road closure for weeks on Ford street (from 7th to 10th) for Xcel Power. 

I ask Golden’s City Council and Manager to take the lead in understanding what happened. Let’s learn from this, improve the process, and ensure better results going forward.Regards,

BilFish

—William “BilFish” Fisher – Candidate for Golden City Council Ward 4

P.S. Don’t forget to join me in taking advantage of Golden Restaurant Week!

Special Election Reminder: Ballots will be mailed out starting April 6th for this mail-in ballot only election and must be returned before April 28th.

Email bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.

Golden’s Unexpected Bridge Closure

First… Thank you!

I appreciate everyone who has emailed or caught up with me on the trails, at the gym or attending Golden events with encouragement for my candidacy, as well as sharing your thoughts on how to preserve and enhance our city!

Last week City Council approved Golden’s first Transportation Master Plan to codify our community values. In part this aims to ensure the reliability of bike and pedestrian connections (so they remain open during construction).

On the very same day, the City suddenly announced the unexpected and immediate closure of the priority pedestrian and bicycle trail and bridge over Highway 58 from the North neighborhoods into downtown Golden.

Not only was the bridge closed without warning… the closure will last more than 30 days!

The trail is arguably the most heavily trafficked north-south route for non-motorized commuting and recreation in the City, including for Mitchell Elementary students.

This isn’t simply an inconvenience, it’s a critical safe route to schools for our families!

As residents, we have clearly prioritized the opportunity to not only have good streets for cars, but also reliable options for residents and students to get across Golden safely on foot and bicycles – for work, school and recreation.

Pedestrian trail is closed

Core Values

It feels legitimate to ask whether this action is consistent with our core values.
  • Where is the accountability to ensure our City government lives by our stated values?
  • Why wasn’t appropriate notice given to the community?
  • Why can the Developer close this trail at minimal cost with major disruption?
  • Why are the Developer and City not required to consider alternative safe routes to school and work for residents?
  • And was this closure truly necessary at all?

I have shared my thoughts with City Council and encourage you to do the same. (CouncilComments@cityofgolden.net)

If elected I commit to represent all Ward 4 residents and engage in thoughtful, respectful, and critical questioning about how the City thinks of transportation and other issues important to us.

Regards,

BilFish

—William “BilFish” Fisher – Candidate for Golden City Council Ward 4

Special Election Reminder: Ballots will be mailed out starting April 6th for this mail-in ballot only election and must be returned before April 28th.

Email me at bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.