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?

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.

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.