The Regional Transportation District (RTD) of Denver, Colo., held three public meetings in January to seek input and provide an update on the Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS).
Preliminary results point to continued phased construction of Northwest Rail over extending the North Metro Line and interim bus rapid transit options.
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.
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.
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, but because these arterial BRT routes weren’t included in the original FasTracks plan, RTD can’t use FasTracks funds to construct or operate them.
The study was conducted by a consultant team led by HNTB and aims 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.”