Designing a 'healthier approach' to mobility

Lone Tree's new mobility manager hopes to 'move people' not just cars

Posted 10/22/19

Lone Tree hired its first mobility manager, Dan Raine, at the end of August. Raine came from the City of Denver's planning department and came to Lone Tree for the challenge of designing …

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Designing a 'healthier approach' to mobility

Lone Tree's new mobility manager hopes to 'move people' not just cars

Posted

Lone Tree hired its first mobility manager, Dan Raine, at the end of August. Raine came from the City of Denver's planning department and came to Lone Tree for the challenge of designing something new.

“There's so much new opportunity to get it right the first time,” Raine said. “Big cities are great opportunities, and I've enjoyed all that various work, but you don't get much access to do new development from scratch. Being able to have that opportunity to start fresh, as a transportation planner of 25 years, I have not had that opportunity.”

Raine came to Denver by way of Houston where he turned the bicycling culture around before being hired to work in Denver in 2014.

Meet Lone Tree's first mobility manager:

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a transportation planner with over 25 years of experience. I was born and raised in New Jersey and blessed by Texas because that’s where I met my wife working in Houston, helping take the City of Houston to the worst bicycling city in the nation to an entry-level bicycle friendly community. I was offered an opportunity with Denver Public Works in 2014. Having worked there for more than a few years, an opportunity came up to be Lone Tree’s first mobility manager, and it’s such a really interesting opportunity.

My priorities here are to oversee and manager the Link On Demand transit service we have and work with transit agencies and transportation management agencies on transit-related grant and funding opportunities to continue to expand the cerebus and work with our neighboring communities to make more of a regional link cerrebus as well as pilot some first last mile peak period services to get folks multi-modal and shifting out of their cars or giving folks who don’t have access to an automobile or who are disadvantaged to take advantage of this transit service so they can be mobile as well.

What made you attracted to Lone Tree in the first place?

With 25 years of experience, I’ve done a variety of different work all across the country. I basically have learned to develop, through concept planning, design and implementation, various transportation projects – certainly not in that order. Being able to take on a position that has a wide variety of responsibilities for a very nice community is very exciting, with the addition of the expansion of the light rail service, we have a real opportunity to capitalize on that and other investments, like the Link, and enhancing our walking and cycling networks to not only maintatin but enhance the quality of life in the City of Lone Tree.

The title “mobility manager” encompasses more than just vehicle traffic or public transit, including pedestrian access. Why is it important, from a mobility standpoint, to look at these as a whole and include walkability in the transportation conversation?

That’s the key to it all. Every single one of us is a pedestrian in various stages of our day, whether we’re walking to public transit, walking to our car, from our car to our destination, but to be able to have options is important. We really can’t afford to continue to just expand roadway networks. We will, as a part of expanding RidgeGate and expanding east. Everyone is affected by transportation. When you’re in your office and people come in, probably the first thing they may vent about is how good or how poor their commute was to work. If everyone just drove by themselves, not only would it continue to reduce our air quality and affect our health and lives that way, but it just relieves extra congestion to get around town. Being able to provide folks options will better utilize the public right-or-way for the movement of all people, no matter what mode they choose. It’s all to influence good behavior and discourage bad behavior. As movility manager, working with our public works team and working across the city administration and with the public and our major stakeholders and businesses, but also with our partners…to really provide a lush transportation network that’s not too dependent on just a singular mode and helps us move people. Transportation in general has to walk away from just moving cars to moving people because it’s a healthier approach to livable communities.  

You held some high-level public works positions for two big cities. Why come to Lone Tree?

When you work in a lot of big cities that are heavily developed, everything you’re looking to approach is retrofit. You’re changing what’s already been out there. In Lone Tree, there’s so much new opportunity to get it right the first time. Lone Tree was looking for someone who had that big city experience and big project experience so we can take a look at things and make the right decisions and then implement them. Big cities are great opportunities and I’ve enjoyed all that various work, but you don’t get much access to do new development from scratch. Being able to have that opportunity to start fresh, as a transportation planner of 25 years, I have not had that opportunity. The City of Lone Tree has a great vision and a great mission and a lot of great ideas of having a visionary transportation network. As a transportation planner, those are the key things to work with. Lone Tree is going to grow by three-fold. And don’t forget we grow by 30,000 people every day with employment. There are some big city aspects to this. How do we best manage that so we avoid the pitfalls some larger cities have fallen into and maintain our beautiful natural environment and thriving neighborhoods and businesses.

What are you hearing about the mobility needs for Lone Tree residents?

Having just completed by third week in the City of Lone Tree, I’m learning folks really like our transportation system but they are concerned of the increasing volume of traffic and increasing speeds traffic is operating. They’d like us to look at and revisit our roundabouts to see if we can make them safer. We do have a decent bike lane network of bike lanes, but they’re not the highest ease of use bikeways. They meet design criteria, but when you’re riding on Yosemite adjacent to 40 mph vehicles, it’s not very comfortable and not very encouraging to use them.  Looking at the idea of high ease-of-use bike ways, high ease-of-use pedestrian crossings of our busier streets, high-visibility intersections, safe route-to-school plans…Looking at speed limits, looking at the number of travel lanes and being able to study it so we have a balanced transportation network.

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