FAQ: Northwest Area Mobility Study

Northwest Area Mobility Study MapWhat is the Northwest Area Mobility Study?

The Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS) was a 13-month long planning effort led by the Regional Transportation District (RTD) that developed a prioritized list of transit mobility improvements for the northwest metro region.

The study was a collaborative effort that addresses significant cost increases and delays associated with building and operating the 41-mile Northwest Rail commuter rail line from Longmont to Denver.

The study concluded with elected officials, the Regional Transportation District (RTD), Colorado Department of Transportation, and 13 area jurisdictions (City of Arvada, City of Boulder, Boulder County, City and County of Broomfield, City of Lafayette, City of Longmont, City of Louisville, Town of Superior and the City of Westminster) University of Colorado-Boulder and agencies reaching consensus on transit priorities in the region.

What areas does the study include?

The study concentrated on the northwest metro region including Longmont, Boulder, Lafayette, Louisville, Superior, Broomfield, Thornton, Westminster and Denver.

What priorities does the study include?

  • Phased construction of Northwest Rail: The study evaluated operational/service options and construction phasing options along the Northwest Rail line from Westminster to go through Boulder and Longmont.
  • Feasibility of Extending North Metro Line to Longmont: As an alternative to providing commuter rail service to Longmont on the Northwest Rail through Boulder, the study evaluated the feasibility of providing commuter rail service to Longmont along various alignments by extending the North Metro Line.
  • US 36 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Commitments: The study determined the remaining final commitments for the FasTracks BRT funding and scope for the US 36 corridor and complete corresponding commitments.
  • B Line (Formerly known as Northwest Rail): Annually evaluate strategies to accelerate the implementation of the B Line while recognizing it is a long-term project. Evaluate the feasibility and cost of constructing the line in segments.
  • US 36 to Denver Reverse Commute: Work with CDOT to evaluate the reverse commute traffic between Denver Union Station and US 36. For the I-25 downtown express lane, evaluate alternatives to ease reverse commute traffic.
  • Additional arterial BRT: Consider implementing additional arterial BRT/enhanced bus corridors.

What are some of the US 36 Bus Rapid Transit Commitments?

US 36 BRT was included as part of the ballot initiative that funded the original FasTracks plan, which stated RTD would provide a set financial commitment to the US 36 project. This commitment assumed to provide stations and park-n-rides along the corridor and a proportional share of the cost to provide bus/high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

BRT has been considered an alternative for rapid transit service on US 36 since the completion of US 36 Major Investment Study in 2001.

NAMS determined the remaining final commitments for the US 36 BRT service. The US 36 BRT FasTracks program included two implementation phases.

The first phase, completed in May 2010, included the first FasTracks project to reach 100% completion.

  • It consisted of three separate projects along US 36, designed to improve park-n-Ride access as well as travel-time savings between Boulder and Denver.
  • Improvements included pedestrian bridges and bus stops for McCaslin Boulevard, Church Ranch Boulevard and Broomfield stations.

The second phase included building an express lane in each direction to accommodate HOV, Bus Rapid Transit and tolled Single Occupancy Vehicles (SOV).

What were some of the corridors listed in the study?

The corridors listed include:

  • SH 119: The Diagonal Highway corridor project connects Boulder to Longmont and travels through Niwot and Gunbarrel. There are an estimated 45,000 vehicles that travel the corridor daily, and it is projected there will be a 25% increase by 2040.
  • US 287: The corridor between Longmont and Broomfield. This project is currently undergoing a re-envisioning process which includes a Bus Rapid Transit implementation to address the growing congestion and travel demand in the area.
  • Colorado 7: The corridor is between Brighton and Boulder. By 2040, there is projected to be more than 56,000 new residents and 38,000 new jobs along the corridor. This will lead to a 37% increase in traffic along an already congested corridor.
  • Additional Arterial BRT: The plan considered implementing additional arterial BRT/enhanced bus corridors such as 120th Avenue, Colorado 42/95th Street and South Boulder Road.

What are some resources I can read?

SH 119 Diagonal Highway Corridor Project – February 2021 Updates

SH 119 First and Final Mile:

Small H 119 First and Final Mile Study by Commuting SolutionsCurrently, Commuting Solutions is working with its consultant, Fehr & Peers, to put the finishing touches on a First and Final Mile Study recommendations draft, which will go to the public this spring for input.

The First and Final Mile Study will provide phased recommendations for safe and comfortable multimodal connections to existing and future transit stops and stations, as well as to a more direct bikeway along SH 119.

The recommendations from the study will consider how the station areas vary across the corridor, by land use, transit user and trip types and the surrounding street network.

Recommendations will include:

  • Low-stress bicycle and pedestrian connections
  • Way-finding signage
  • Shared parking – in Gunbarrel only
  • Microtransit – in Gunbarrel only
  • Transportation Demand Management
  • New programs

Read more about the First and Final Mile Study.

SH 119 Bikeway:

Conceptual View of the SH 119 BikewayBoulder County is in the process of designing a paved, off-street, multi-use path along SH 119 between Longmont and Boulder. The bikeway will optimize regional mobility between Longmont and Boulder by providing multimodal bicycle and pedestrian improvements, which results in safer, more reliable, more comfortable, and more appealing travel options.

The bikeway will be physically separated from the SH 119 roadway and feature underpasses or protected signal phasing for pedestrians and bicyclists where bikeway crosses major intersecting roads.

The bikeway will also connect to the SH 119 BRT stations, which will allow commuters to easily connect to public transportation.

Currently, the County is hiring a consultant to complete the design.

Conceptual Image of Coffman Street

Coffman Street Update:

The Longmont Coffman Street Busway project is currently looking at utilities and Right-of-Way (ROW) in the corridor. The purpose is to clearly delineate the space available for the proposed improvements and begin work on an alternative that fits the project’s guiding principles.

The Coffman Street Busway will transform Coffman Street into a multimodal street and be safe for all users. There will be wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, on-street parking, one travel lane running in both directions and a center-running bus lane.

RTD Discusses Northwest Rail during Study Session

RTD Rendering Northwest Rail Train CarOn Feb. 9, RTD Board of Directors held a Study Session where they discussed Northwest Rail.

Northwest Rail’s adopted plan seeks to bring 41 miles of new light rail and commuter rail to the northwest region. It includes 18 miles of Bus Rapid Transit, more than 21,000 parking spaces, 31 new Park-n-Rides and much more.

The Northwest Rail would extend the B Line current terminus through Boulder to Longmont, totaling 35.3 miles. It would provide 55 trains per day, with 30-minute peak frequencies and 60-minute off-peak frequencies.

According to an RTD presentation, peak service would include three one-way trains from Longmont to Denver in the morning,

During the Feb. 9 Study Session, RTD CEO and General Manager Debra Johnson requested for a plan to be brought forth to the RTD Board of Directors in 60 days.

RTD’s presentation can be found online.

US 287 Corridor Project – February 2021 Update

US 287 Corridor Project MapBoulder County is currently working with stakeholders, regional partners, and members of the public, to conduct a multi-phased re-envisioning process.

The first phase of the study closely examines Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) implementation on the US 287 corridor between Longmont and Broomfield to address the growing congestion and travel demand in the area.

The study will recommend the type and location of capital investments that will enhance transit travel times on US 287 by conducting an analysis that will assess traffic patterns, current transit operations and infrastructure, vehicle queue lengths, opportunities for intersection treatments and Station Area Toolkits.

The study will also identify potential funding sources and provide the framework for the next steps for the implementation of the BRT along US 287.

In December, Boulder County created and distributed a survey to the public. Results will be shared soon!

Colorado Highway 7 Corridor Project – February 2021 Update

Colorado State Highway 7 Corridor Project MapThe Colorado State Highway (CO) 7 Corridor Development Plan was recently approved by the CO 7 Coalition.

CO 7 between Brighton and Boulder is a major east-west regional arterial corridor that connects residents to jobs, activity centers and to the regional transportation system.

The CO 7 corridor project will address a multitude of regional goals and desired outcomes.

The CO 7 corridor project envisions Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) improvements supported by multimodal infrastructure and transit-supportive land development at planned station areas.

The CO 7 Corridor Development Plan will do the following:

  • Establish the goals for the project
  • Identify the changed conditions along the corridor
  • Define the environmental analysis approach
  • Identify the technical methodologies
  • Prioritize the elements of the project
  • Define the budget, schedule and resource plans for delivery
  • Document the plan in a final report

Products of the Corridor Development Plan include:

  • Program of project element (scope, budget, schedule and resources plan)
  • Implementation plan for full corridor multimodal deployment
  • Communications plan for project delivery
  • Funding opportunities for full corridor improvement

The CO 7 Coalition provides a forum to coordinate and advocate for the planning and implementation of multimodal transportation improvements and transit-supportive development in the CO 7 Corridor between Brighton and Boulder. It consists of representatives from the City of Boulder, City of Brighton, City of Lafayette, the City of Thornton, the Town of Erie, Boulder and Adams Counties, the City and County of Broomfield, Commuting Solutions, the Northwest Chamber Alliance, Smart Commute Metro North, Adams County Regional Economic Partnership, the University of Colorado-Boulder, RTD, CDOT, DRCOG, FHWA and FTA.

The full Corridor Development Plan can be read online.

A Message from the Commuting Solutions Executive Director – February 2021

Audrey DeBarros HeadshotAs we approach spring, Commuting Solutions is gearing up to begin the public input portion for the SH 119 First and Final Mile Study.

Commuting Solutions has been working on the First and Final Mile Study for more than a year now, and we’re so excited to bring the process back to the public. We are excited to introduce some recommendations for the corridor located between Boulder and Longmont, which identifies safe and comfortable multimodal connections to existing and future public transportation and the SH 119 Bikeway as well as create easy access to public transportation.

A survey will be created next month and housed on the Commuting Solutions’ website, to allow the public to read the draft plan and make comments. We look forward to hearing and seeing what everyone thinks of the plan!

For more information about the SH 119 First and Final Mile Study, and the corridor project, visit commutingsolutions.org/regional-planning/sh-119-first-and-final-mile-study/.

Cheers,

Audrey DeBarros

State Highway 119: Our Next Regional Priority

RTD Bolt service on SH 119State Highway 119 is going to be seeing a lot of change in the coming years. The goal is to transform it into a multimodal corridor, similar to US 36, with a managed lane, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), and a corridor-wide bikeway in order to help ease congestion and make traveling along the corridor more efficient and enjoyable for all who use it.

Who is part of the State Highway 119 Coalition?

The State Highway 119 Coalition is comprised of the City of Boulder, the City of Longmont, Boulder County and Commuting Solutions. Also involved in the planning and process is the Regional Transit District (RTD), the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) and the local area chambers.

The SH 119 Coalition provides a political forum to coordinate and to advocate for the local and regional planning and implementation of multi-modal transportation improvements connecting Boulder and Longmont and serving regional and inter-regional travel needs for today and into the future.

Photo of traffic along SH 119What is State Highway 119?

State Highway 119, better known as the Diagonal, is the primary corridor that connects Boulder to Longmont. The highway in its entirety stretches from Clear Creek Canyon between Golden and Idaho Springs to I-25 in Longmont: 63.7 miles. The portion between Boulder and Longmont is roughly 20-miles long and is the focus of the coming changes. Currently the primary ways to travel along State Highway 119 between Longmont and Boulder are driving, riding the BOLT or J bus services operated by RTD and cycling along the LoBo trail.

Why does State Highway 119 needs these changes?

Traffic along a corridorCurrently over 45,000 vehicles travel daily along SH 119 and that is only going to increase with the region’s increasing population. By 2040, it is predicted that traffic along the corridor will increase by 25 percent. That would increase the number of vehicles traveling the corridor daily to almost 57,000. And that’s just an estimate.

Currently, State Highway 119 has four-foot shoulder for cyclists to use to travel the corridor, but they are next to high speed lanes of traffic and the majority of cyclists do not feel safe traveling the corridor. Plans have been developed for a commuter bikeway, similar to the US 36 Bikeway, with the aim of providing a safe and efficient multiuse facility along SH 119 that interfaces with the proposed BRT improvements and enhances bicycle and pedestrian usage in the corridor.

Northwest Area Mobility Study Map 2019In 2016, the Northwest Area Mobility Study was completed to address the significant cost increases and delays associated with building and operating the 41-mile Northwest Rail commuter rail line from Longmont to Denver, which is now projected to be completed by 2045. The study concluded with elected officials, RTD, CDOT and 13 area jurisdictions and agencies reaching consensus on transit priorities in the region in interim of rail coming to our region: the highest of which is implementing BRT on State Highway 119.

In addition, RTD recently conducted a Bus Rapid Transit Feasibility Study. State Highway 119 was identified as one of their top priority projects and an ideal corridor for Bus Rapid Transit.

What is the vision for State Highway 119?

Future SH 119 improved corridor section diagram/graphic depictionThe vision for State Highway 119 borrows from the success of US 36 and aims to replicate a similar model for the corridor. The highway would be expanded to add a Managed/Express Lane in each direction for BRT, High Occupancy Vehicles and vehicles paying a toll, in addition to the already existing general purpose lanes. The multimodal improvements would also include the construction of a paved bikeway along the entire corridor to make it accessible and safe for cyclists.

More specifically, the plan is to implement BRT using managed lanes. BRT and managed lanes will provide:

  • Highest travel time savings: 37-minute travel time (29 minutes saved in comparison to the BOLT)
  • Best transit service reliability
  • Higher transit ridership
  • Greatest number of travel options and benefits for all users: vehicles, transit, carpool, express tolls, and bicyclists while reducing congestion. 7,620 – 7,640 people traveling through the corridor per day – a 33% increase compared to the existing corridor
  • Improvements can be phased over time as funding becomes available

Why does State Highway 119 need Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)?

Bringing BRT to State Highway 119 is going to reduce traffic congestion and make the corridor faster for everybody to travel. It is projected that travel times will be cut in half by those who use BRT and the Express lanes along the corridor when the project is completed, compared to those driving solo.

In a recent interview with Colorado Public Radio, CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew, praised the US 36 project and the success of BRT along the corridor.

US 36 Multimodal Corridor graphic depiction“The U.S. 36 corridor between Denver and Boulder was a CDOT expansion project in a public-private partnership. One of the great innovations of that project is that the managed lane both helps with demand management, which helps from a congestion perspective, and it also provides a really efficient bus route. The Flatiron Flyer is, by the accounts of all who take it, one of the most efficient bus experiences in Colorado. And part of that is because we used our capacity expansion project to create a more efficient bus route. That’s an opportunity that exists in many highway projects.”

The State Highway 119 project hopes to replicate the success of the US 36 corridor and move people more efficiently between Boulder and Longmont.

And what is Bus Rapid Transit exactly?Bus Rapid Transit station diagram

Bus rapid transit (BRT) service is high-frequency bus service that emulates rail transit, and provides fast and reliable service on a dedicated route.  In addition to high-frequency, fast and reliable service, the BRT system along SH 119 will include:

  • Managed lanes for BRT to use for expedited travel times
  • High-quality stations: Stations that accessible for persons with disabilities, offer shelter from inclement weather and provide up-to-date information on schedules and routes.
  • Branding: Consistent branding that identifies the stations and transit vehicles.
  • Technology: Streamlining fare collection, transit priority, etc.
  • Vehicles that offer rapid boarding and alighting

What will the bikeway look like?

A large component of turning State Highway 119 into a multi-modal corridor is to add a bikeway, similar to the US 36 Bikeway. It will be a continuous, paved path that connects Boulder and Longmont. The plans for the bikeway are in the initial phase of design, but as more funding is identified, they will be able to further the plans. During 2020, Boulder County and CDOT are proceeding to take the corridor bikeway to a higher level of engineering and design to further define the alignment.

Now for the big question, who’s paying for the project?

Graphic with the funding breakdown for the SH 119 project

The total cost of this project is an estimated $250 million including construction of managed lanes, Bus Rapid Transit and the corridor bikeway.

Currently $93 million in funding has been secured for project: $30 million from RTD, $13 million through the Denver Regional Council of Governments, $9 million from CDOT and $1.15 million in local matching. At the end of 2019, CDOT awarded the State Highway 119 an additional $40 million from the funding made available through SB-267.

The State Highway 119 Coalition is continuing looking into funding mechanisms for the project including federal grants, CDOT grants and other innovative funding solutions.

What’s Coming in 2020?

In 2020, the SH 119 Coalition is going to continue with identifying additional funding for the project. There is roughly $160 million in funding that has yet to be secured. Early in the year, they will be applying for a federal BUILD grant to secure funding for improvements to the intersection at SH 119 and Hover in Longmont. BUILD is an acronym for Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development and planning and capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. BUILD funding can support roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports or intermodal transportation.

As more funding for the project is identified, CDOT and partners will be able to further develop plans and designs for the corridor. In March, the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition will go on their annual advocacy trip to Washington D.C. to learn about possible funding opportunities for the project. They will be able to leverage the $40 million they received from CDOT at the end of 2019.

Looking Back: The Start of the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition

Will Toor is director of the transportation program at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), a Colorado based nonprofit that advocates for energy efficiency in six southwestern states. In this role he works to advance both smart growth transportation strategies and electric vehicles. Prior to working at SWEEP, Will spent 15 years in local government, as mayor of Boulder, Colorado , as Boulder County Commissioner, and as chair of the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG).  He serves on the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission and the Mobility Choice Blueprint board of directors.

Roots in Conflict

I still remember attending my first meeting of the US 36 Major Investment Study (MIS) back in 1998, with my infant son slung across my chest in a Baby Bjorn, soon after I was first elected to Boulder’s city council. Life with an infant was exciting but chaotic – which kind of described the 36 MIS debates. There were so many different perspectives – “We need rail! No, we need to expand US 36 to ten lanes! No, we need HOV lanes and better bus service!”  – coming from the different communities, that we couldn’t reach agreement. And without a consensus on the corridor, it was pretty clear that the outcome would be nothing happening – US 36 would just sit there, getting worse and worse.

Against this backdrop, three mayors began talking about whether we could change the outcome –Tom Davidson from Louisville, Bill Berens from Broomfield and me. At the time, Boulder and Broomfield were locked in conflict over Broomfield’s plans to build the Northwest parkway, and to develop what Boulder viewed as sprawl along 36, and we were pretty much disagreeing about everything. But a series of conversations  – sometimes over coffee, sometimes beer – convinced us that we could find common ground on plans for 36 – and that if we could, that probably the whole corridor could. Out of these conversations the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition was born.

The Birth of the Coalition

I still remember the day Bill Berens and I testified together in support of the proposed US 36 MIS alternative – the first time people had seen us in public arm in arm instead of arguing. It made a big impression, and helped get RTD and CDOT on board.

And over the years, I think the initial theory was born out in practice. We had lots of vigorous arguments about what transportation investments we should support, and how best to move these forward – but were always able to come to agreement, and to present a unified front to key decision-makers from regional, state and federal agencies. And that unity made all the difference.

Better Together

The coalition successfully resisted pressure from the Owens administration to add more highway lanes and hundreds of millions of dollars in cost. The years of effort promoting a true multimodal project with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), HOT lanes and a bikeway on the highway corridor paid off when the federal government provided a $10 million TIGER grant and a TIFIA challenge grant, championed by Congressman Polis. The unity paid off when, amazingly, the Coalition was able to leverage that $10 million grant and TIFIA challenge into a $500 million project that combined funding from RTD, CDOT, DRCOG, federal funds and the private sector. It took a while to go from concept to an actual BRT service on 36 (my infant son graduated from high school about the time that 36 was completed), but much of the original vision was realized.

The challenges clearly aren’t over – for example, we need to complete the missing elements of BRT on 36 and complete the arterial BRT corridors that connect to the corridor – but looking back over the last twenty years I’m amazed how far we have come by working together.

Transportation Gains Momentum

What’s Been Going on with Commuting Solutions

Things are always moving and changing at Commuting Solutions and the last month has been no different. Between hosting our Sustainable Transportation Summit, closely watching the progress of SB-001 up until the end of the Legislative Session and progress on the State Highway 7 study that began earlier this year, it has been a full and busy month.

State Highway 7 Study & State Highway 119 Study Build Momentum

Map of State Highway 7 (Courtesy of RTD)

State Highway 7, connecting Boulder to Brighton via Arapahoe Road, Baseline Road and East 160th Avenue, will be undergoing a Station Area Master Plan (STAMP) study over the next two years following the completion of the 2017 Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study. $200K has been awarded to fund the study, which officially began in spring of 2018.

The PEL study determined that there was “both a desire and a need for transit service along the SH 7 corridor in the future” and recommends transit priority and queue jumps at select signalized intersections, along with highway cross sections that included full depth, full width shoulders for bus-on-shoulder operation where feasible.

The results of the PEL grant are congruent with the findings of the City of Boulder’s 2018 East Arapahoe Transportation Plan which also recommends redesigning the streets to accommodate Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), High Occupancy Vehicles (HOVs) and new shared technologies.

To advocate and coordinate for the construction of this vital multimodal corridor including BRT and a regional bikeway, local governments and organizations have formed the SH 7 Coalition and Commuting Solutions is proud to be a member of this coalition.

Given the relative affordability of housing and the amount of undeveloped land along this corridor, there is great potential for future growth which will increase the travel demands of SH 7. It is projected that by 2040, without BRT, a Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) trip from Brighton to Boulder on SH 7 will take upwards of 80-90 minutes. With a dedicated BRT lane, that trip would only take 60 minutes.

RTD is hosting public meetings to discuss the progress of the State Highway 119 Study and receive public input. If you were unable to attend the meeting in Longmont yesterday, there will be a second meeting tonight [May 24] in Boulder at the University of Colorado at from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

SB-001 Marks a Big Step for Multimodal Transportation in Colorado

On May 8, at the end of the legislative session, SB-001 was passed by both chambers and is the first major piece of transportation funding legislation since 2009. SB-001 provides for an allocation of funds from the state budget to transportation in 2018 and 2019: $495 million in 2018 and $150 million in 2019. The bill also created a ballot measure to issue up to $2.4 billion in bonds to be voted on by the public in 2019.

This bill also addresses Colorado’s need to invest in a multi-modal future with the creation of a new multi-modal transportation fund that will receive 15% of the new revenue and bond proceeds, which will come out to $96.75 million over the next two years.

SB-001 is a monumental step towards closing the $9 billion gap in transportation funding that exists throughout Colorado and helps to establish Colorado’s interest in creating a multi-modal future for the whole state.

On May 19, the Statewide Transportation Coalition voted to proceed with a .62% sales tax increase initiative for the November ballot to help create funding for statewide transportation projects.

Thank You for a Successful Sustainable Transportation Summit

Commuting Solutions’ Sustainable Transportation Summit took place on May 9 at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center and the event was a smashing success. Over 130 attendees gathered to hear the latest insights on multi-modal transportation trends and innovations from local and regional thought leaders.

We want to thank all our amazing panelists and speakers as well as everybody that attended the event. Our event would not have happened without your support and expertise. If you were able to attend the event, we would appreciate hearing your feedback on the event by taking a quick survey.

 

 

Wrapping It Up

Stay tuned with Commuting Solutions this summer we follow the progress of the state wide ballot initiative and celebrate Bike to Work Day on June 27.

Connecting Communities: Northwest Rail Progress Update

Whether we are at a community event or town halls, one of the most frequent questions we are asked is surrounding FasTracks and the completion of the Northwest Rail service. From when construction will begin, service offerings and station locations, the Northwest Rail remains on the minds of residents and employees throughout the northwest metro region.

For over the past year, Commuting Solutions has been working closely with the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) to evaluate service possibilities for the remaining 38 miles between Westminster and Longmont.  RTD still does not have the fiscal resources to prioritize completion of Northwest Rail for quite some time as defined in its full buildout; however, our local elected officials asked RTD to explore the ridership and costs to construct and operate peak hour service only, as a means of beginning the service with a much simpler implementation plan.

Evaluating Our Options

FasTracks Progress Map

After careful review and consideration of three implementation options, coordination with RTD and local elected officials, we support continued evaluation of an option that would provide three trips from Longmont to Denver in the morning and three trips from Denver to Longmont in the evening. The service would include seven station locations throughout the region including: Boulder, Louisville, Broomfield, Westminster, and Longmont. Current models estimate that this trip would take roughly 67 minutes of travel time one way from Longmont to Denver, and have an average weekday ridership of 1,400 additional passengers.

Commuting Solutions and the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition are interested to explore this option to potentially enable initial commuter rail access sooner rather than later, pending funding availability.

 

Keeping Progress Moving

Earlier this month, the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition and Commuting Solutions shared a letter of support for RTD to continue the evaluation of this peak service alternative. We also urged RTD to continue conversations with our local government partners and if necessary, request that BNSF provide an estimate of the potential cost to implement Northwest Rail peak hour service on its rail line.

At Commuting Solutions, we know from experience that transportation projects of this scale are transformative and deserve special scrutiny in this time of limited resources.  We want to reassure community members that we are working closely with our partners to keep progress moving forward for RTD FasTracks completion.