Study begins on rapid transit


October 27, 2017

The Regional Transportation District recently began a study to find out the possible benefits of bus rapid transit along the Diagonal Highway between Boulder and Longmont.

According to the RTD, those involved in the study include officials from the cities of Boulder and Longmont; Boulder County; Boulder and Longmont chambers of commerce; Niwot Business Association; Commuting Solutions; North Area Transportation Alliance; CDOT, Denver Regional Council of Governments, Federal Transit Administration, BNSF and the University of Colorado – Boulder.

The RTD had previous plans for a 41-mile light rail system along the front range to connect the two cities — along with stops in Gunbarrel and Niwot in between — but those plans have stalled.

Chuck Klueber was picked to represent the Niwot Business Association in these series of meetings on the technical advisory committee — which will join the policy advisory committee to work with RTD to evaluate the viability of this possible bus route.

“Now what is happening is that the RTD is looking to cut back on congestion along the Diagonal between Longmont and Boulder,” Klueber said. “They initiated the study to figure out how to improve that and what is the best way to do it.”

The committees will have six quarterly meetings over the next 18 months.

Since there is no time table on the addition of a rail system, the bus rapid transit is being considered as a “stop-gap” measure to the traffic problems along the Diagonal.

Klueber said that in the first meeting, issues such as dedicated lanes for the buses and having a bus run every 15 minutes during peak hours were discussed.

An issue that would need to be resolved, particularly in Longmont, would be getting to a destination after the stop.

“At the moment there aren’t any concrete solutions to that, but it is one of the goals of these meetings,” Klueber said. “It is to improve the congestion on either end, as well as in the middle.”

“I personally don’t take the bus,” Klueber said. “I have talked to people that do, and they think this would help a lot.”

In a release from the RTD to announce the study, General Manager and CEO Dave Genova had this to say:

“The ultimate goal is to get State Highway 119 ready for BRT service. The highway is a critical link and the primary travel corridor between Boulder and Longmont, with connections to Niwot, Gunbarrel and rural eastern Boulder County. Traffic congestion in the corridor is tied to increased development, which is expected to continue into the future.”

There will be a total of five public comment sessions on this matter over the next year. The first is slated for 4 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 15 in Longmont with another on Nov. 16 at the same time in Boulder. Specific locations for these meetings have not been released as of press time.


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