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Northwest Area Mobility Study: Initial recommendations released

RTD held three public meetings in January to seek input and provide an update on the Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS).

The study is in response to significant cost increases associated with building and operating the next phase of Northwest Rail, the 41-mile commuter rail line from
Denver to Longmont included in FasTracks.

The first 6.2 miles are already under construction and scheduled to open in 2016.

Transit alternatives

Conducted by a consultant team led by HNTB, the study seeks to help RTD and northwest area stakeholders agree on a set of transit alternatives to bring commuter rail and/or other transit improvements to northwest communities sooner than current projections for when RTD can complete the Northwest Rail Line to Longmont.

"We are energized by the significant collaboration and cooperation between RTD and northwest area governments throughout this study," said RTD General Manager Phil Washington. "We remain committed to making the vision of FasTracks a reality for the northwest area," he added.

Key focus areas

The meeting presented information and preliminary recommendations regarding the five key focus areas of the study:
• The phased construction of Northwest Rail
• The feasibility of extending North Metro Rail to Longmont
• The evaluation of new arterial Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes
• Analysis of the I-25 reverse commute between Denver Union Station and U.S. 36
• The confirmation of remaining FasTracks U.S. 36 BRT commitments

Rail comparison

The study compared phasing the construction of Northwest Rail in segments to a potential extension of the North Metro Rail Line to Longmont.

After reviewing preliminary cost and ridership data, stakeholders have indicated a preliminary preference for implementing Northwest Rail instead of extending North Metro.

The study is currently in the process of determining the financial viability of completing Northwest Rail in its entirety or in phases.

Arterial Bus Rapid Transit

NAMS also evaluated the feasibility of new arterial BRT routes as an interim step towards rail service. RTD and stakeholders identified six arterial BRT routes and are working to prioritize them for potential funding and implementation.

The routes include Colorado Highway 119 between Boulder and Longmont, U.S. 287 between Longmont and Broomfield, as well as 120th Avenue, South Boulder Road, Colorado Highway 42 and Arapahoe/Colorado Highway 7.

Because these arterial BRT routes weren't included in the original FasTracks plan, RTD can't use FasTracks funds to construct or operate them. So, new funding would need to be identified for them to be implemented.

Public Meetings

All of the materials presented at the public meetings can be viewed online here.

Additional public meetings are scheduled for Thursday, January 16 in Boulder (5:30-7:30 p.m.at Rembrandt Yard, 1301 Spruce Street, CO 80302) and Monday, January 27 in Longmont (5:30-7:30 p.m. at Longmont Civic Center, 350 Kimbark Street, Longmont, CO 80501).

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.



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