Oh, is there a #Boulder city council meeting tonight? I almost forgot.

J/K. I've been teasing it for a month. Tonight's agenda: Homelessness and encampments. Bone up. (tee hee) boulderbeat.news/2021/01/16/bou…
Also, before that, you might be interested in hearing an update from/on RTD and one from CU RE: spring semester plans.
No public hearing tonight, but there is open comment, so I expect community members to air their grievances there.
The city has listed "activists" as one of the challenges contributing to camping (by handing out warm-weather gear and "encouraging camping"). So, yeah, open comment should be fun.
Obligatory COVID exposure notification and vaccination announcement. www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/Exposure_…
Lynn Guissinger and Erik Davidson are here from the RTD board. There have been pretty deep cuts during COVID, including to Boulder-area routes. dailycamera.com/2021/01/08/thr…
And maybe you saw this recently where RTD was like, sorry Boulder, you don't have enough population to support this train we've been talking about for ~20 years. cpr.org/2021/01/13/new…
"Overnight in March, we left 75% of our ridership, Gussinger says. That's come back "a bit" but still down 60%. Service cut in April "because we were just driving around empty buses."
RTD did get $232M from the feds, which allowed them to keep employees last year. (Guissinger again) Another $200M round in 2021 will let laid-off workers return.
"One of our big issues right now is bringing back ridership," Guissinger says. "We rep our constituents and we rep the district. We're trying to keep the district in a stable place, in a good place."
Guissinger: "RTD needed change. One things you sometimes here is we're becoming the agency of no. Which is not a good place to be."
No is what I would hear every time I asked for an interview. Which, admittedly, wasn't often. But still.
Guissinger: My goal is that we're not telling you, local gov't, what changes in service will be, but that we're working together on those things.
One of the biggest changes was a new CEO/director. Apparently good reports from Boulder-area staff.
Davidson: "We're a very large transit agency.... We can't do it all from one agency. We have to be partnering with cities. ... We have a number of challenges ahead of us, and I think we'll only get through them together."
Davidson: The priority is recruiting new riders. We have many full-time riders and many people who could be full-time riders.
Davidson: I want to see this organization become very financially strong. "We're not trying to win an end game; we need to be here forever."
Guissinger: DRCOG (Denver Regional Council of Gov't) has recommended legislation ... intended to give more flexibility to RTD. (For example, stipulation on where its revenue comes from = gone)
"It's cleaning up some pieces that may not be major, earth-shaking things for RTD," Guissinger says, but it will impact how we go forward in the future.
Also: Working on a poll "to see why people have left — obviously it's COVID, but what pieces of COVID: is it safety? Are they not working?" Guissinger says. We need to know how to bring people back.
Young asks a q and apparently stumps the RTD directors. (I mean, I missed it, so I can't really throw shade.)
Davidson: COVID "really highlighted who our regular riders were."
Some routes were "more full" but others were entirely empty, Davidson says. "Not all our lines serve the same types of people. That was an important reminder going forward where we need to add or change service."
Guissinger echoes that and adds: "The next challenge is, how do we address people we also want to bring back? Part of our challenge is, of course, to get ppl out of their cars."
Young makes a plug for the pass working group she sat on, and the work they did.
Brockett: "Obviously ridership is way down. I used to ride RTD all the time. Haven't been doing that much because I've barely left my house. ... (Post-COVID) Do you see RTD getting back to where it was before or going in a new direction?"
Guissinger: There was an article in the Washington Post about why transit agencies need to rethink things, even like EcoPasses, "which we hold dear here" but "It needs to be able to work for people who may not be going into the office as much."
"Money has been an issue for a long time and will continue," Guissinger says.
Davidson: "I think people will be returning to offices, and I think there's an opportunity for transit in all this. ... Does your family need to own two cars if you're not commuting every single day?"
(Tried to find that WP article Guissinger mentioned but couldn't)
Guissinger briefly touches on Boulder kicking in for taxi vouchers for people going to/from Lyons, since that bus route was cut.

"I think that's the kind fo thing we might see more of from RTD in coming days."
Weaver asks about changes to the RTD board.
Guissinger: "I really think we have a good group right now."
Davidson: "Overall change to the board is premature and down the road a little bit."
That's it for this RTD update. @threadreaderapp please unroll. Thank you!

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More from @shayshinecastle

20 Jan
Time for the main event: Encampment and homelessness policy. (Or, if you're the city, "Maintaining Safe and Welcoming Public Spaces") www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/Item_6A_-…
That was the staff presentation. Here's my story again, for reference. Same facts but adds a bit of context: boulderbeat.news/2021/01/16/bou…
This context WAS provided in the memo, but not the main body. All of the stuff about why unhoused people are unhoused and why it's a difficult problem to solve came from a city attorney's office memo attached to the packet.
Read 249 tweets
20 Jan
A quick touch on Macy's agreements before we head into the homelessness discussion. On the consent agenda are that company's agreements to pay an extra $3M into the affordable housing fund, and offer below-market-rate commercial space to retailers.
Some flexibility written in there in case "the mall is torn down" and there's no longer retail there, Carr says.
Wallach: "Why wouldn't the remedy for that condition be affordable office (space)" as opposed to nullifying the requirement to provide affordable space?
Carr: "We don't know there will be office space there either."
Wallach: "I'm uncomfortable with this expiration cause."
Read 14 tweets
20 Jan
Here's the open comment speaker list. Some new, some old names up there. I can't imagine how many people signed up; only 20 ppl get picked, via random lottery. www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/January_1…
"How much is enough in CU's insatiable appetite for growth?" Ron DePugh asks to start us off. "Is Boulder's real destiny to be absorbed and subordinated" to CU's growth?
10/10 for drama
Read 43 tweets
20 Jan
Patrick O'Rourke is here from CU.
I hate to say this, but this dude always puts me to sleep.
O'Rourke: "The spring semester, we have the same degree of anxiety and uncertainty as we saw in the fall."

CU is remote right now, until Feb. 15 (to some degree)
The infection rate in Boulder is currently below the 350 per 100K ppl, "which is great. ... We hope the infection rate will continue to abate" at which point we would bring students back.
Read 25 tweets
19 Jan
I'm going to share an email exchange I had over unhoused persons and encampments, in response to this story I wrote over the weekend. boulderbeat.news/2021/01/16/bou…
I'm sharing it because I want people to know how I approach what I’m doing. Why do I report the things I do? What context, facts and perspectives am I considering? What should YOU consider?
I’m going to thread it out, but also share photos of the original email and my response (because it's a long thread). I’m not hiding the person’s name; they didn’t have one attached to the email.
Read 40 tweets
13 Jan
OK, gonna start a new thread for this one: A look at council's priorities, what's been achieved so far and what's coming up this year.
This will also include a look at Department work plans for 2021. Only 1 dept reported having capacity for additional work items: The municipal court.
Read 84 tweets

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