RTD FasTracks June 19 telephone town hall

RTD initiated the study in response to the significant cost increases associated with building and operating commuter rail in the 41-mile Northwest corridor. The goal of the study is to collaborate with corridor stakeholders to determine if there is a more cost-effective way to approach improving mobility in the area that could be implemented sooner.

“It is no secret that we have faced a number of challenges in the Northwest area,” said RTD Board Chair Lorraine Anderson. “This study marks a new chapter for RTD and northwest area stakeholders. We are committed to collaborate in a manner that will enable us to successfully move FasTracks forward.”

“We have high hopes that through collaboration and partnership, the Northwest Area Mobility Study will help us find a path forward that helps residents in the northwest area see more benefits of their FasTracks investment sooner,” said Broomfield Mayor Pat Quinn.

The telephone town hall takes place Wednesday, June 19, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Anyone can participate in the town hall by dialing toll free 1-877-299-8493, and entering the ID code 19081. In addition, 50,000 residents in the northwest metro area will be called at random through an automated system and invited to participate in the public telephone forum.

“This is a very effective way to communicate with the public,” said Anderson. “Through this technology, we can talk with a greater number of folks since people can’t always attend a public meeting.”

This 13-month study, led by a consultant team headed by HNTB, will determine cost-effective mobility improvements to serve the northwest area. The study focuses on five key areas:

  • Northwest Rail: Evaluate the feasibility and cost associated with constructing the Northwest Rail commuter rail line in smaller segments over time. The line runs from Denver Union Station to Longmont. The first 6.2-mile segment of Northwest Rail, to 71st and Lowell in Westminster, is under construction and is scheduled to open in 2016.
  • North Metro Corridor Extension: As an alternate to providing rail service to Longmont via Northwest Rail, evaluate the possibility of extending the North Metro Corridor from the planned end of line at 162nd Avenue. RTD is planning to build the North Metro corridor to 72nd Street with FasTracks funds currently available. In addition, RTD recently received an unsolicited proposal for construction of the North Metro Corridor. In response, RTD will issue a Request for Proposal this summer and expect to have a decision on a construction contract by the end of the year.
  • U.S. 36 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Final Program Commitments: Determine final commitments for the U.S. 36 BRT line that is currently under construction and scheduled to open in early 2016. This includes capital, operating and maintenance costs, confirming the operating plan for opening day as well as service levels and fleet requirements needed. The 18-mile line runs between Denver Union Station and Boulder.
  • Arterial BRT lines: Evaluate the potential for early implementation of Bus Rapid Transit lines on major arterial roads that could improve mobility and access to transit in the northwest area. Among the routes that will be evaluated are Colorado 119 between Boulder and Longmont, U.S. 287 between Broomfield and Longmont and various east/west connections between Boulder, Louisville, and Lafayette and onto Brighton.
  • I-25 Downtown Express Lanes Reverse Commute: A high-level examination of the current and future reverse-commute challenges on I-25 between Denver Union Station and U.S. 36. Potential improvements to the current north I-25 managed lanes or other connections between Denver’s central business district and U.S. 36 to accommodate bidirectional use will be identified and tested for feasibility.

Entities participating in the study are 36 Commuting Solutions and North Area Transportation Alliance; the cities of Arvada, Boulder, Broomfield, Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville, Superior and Westminster; Boulder County; Colorado Department of Transportation, the Denver Regional Council of Governments and the University of Colorado–Boulder.

“It’s important to note that any change in the current FasTracks plan will have to be approved by the voters. We encourage everyone in the Northwest to participate, ask us questions and learn more about the Northwest Area Mobility Study,” said Anderson.

FasTracks is RTD’s voter-approved transit expansion program to build 122 miles of commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, add 21,000 new parking spaces, redevelop Denver Union Station and redirect bus service to better connect the eight-county District. For more information, visit www.rtd-denver.com.

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