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Denver RTD releases corridor study

Posted on October 8, 2013

Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) and the northwest area stakeholders received an interim update from the Northwest Area Mobility Study team on progress that included preliminary capital cost and ridership results for the FasTracks transit options between Denver and Longmont.

The study team led by HNTB was contracted by RTD to provide an objective analysis of transit options for the northwest area which include commuter rail and bus rapid transit (BRT).

Capital costs and ridership numbers are just two of more than 40 criteria that will be evaluated in the study.

The Northwest Area Mobility Study began in spring 2013 with a goal of developing consensus between RTD and northwest area stakeholders. The study is analyzing a set of transit alternatives that could bring commuter rail and/or other transit improvements to northwest communities sooner than current projections for the completion of the Northwest Rail Line to Longmont.

RTD and stakeholders agreed in July to evaluate constructing the Northwest Rail Line in phased segments. The first would extend the line to Broomfield from its current end-of-line at 71st Avenue and Lowell Boulevard in Westminster — being constructed as part of the Eagle P3 project and scheduled to open in 2016. The second segment would reach from Broomfield to Louisville. The third continues from Louisville to Boulder, and the final would extend from Boulder to Longmont.

The study partners also agreed to evaluate another rail option — which would build out from North Metro Rail Line’s endpoint at Colorado Highway 7 to Longmont.

The study team will now move on to further refine the rail options and assess how well they perform among the more than 40 different evaluation criteria including economic development potential, cost/benefit, environmental impacts and more.

The study team also provided a progress update on its work to develop and evaluate potential arterial BRT lines. While the BRT lines would likely serve different markets and travel patterns than rail, they could improve mobility and access to transit in the northwest area.

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