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Possible cycling improvements for east Boulder County

 

November 25, 2020

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RTD Rail Trail proposed alignment map

On Nov. 18, Boulder County hosted a virtual public meeting to discuss current and future improvements to cycling corridors in east Boulder County. The virtual meeting discussing future bike improvements had 113 participants and was followed by a short Q/A session.

Three separate issues related to improving cycling safety, and access in eastern Boulder County were discussed with several county representatives giving a high-level overview of each project or proposed improvement.

First, construction has recently started on an intersection improvement at Hwy. 287 and Isabelle Road. The work, which began on Nov. 16, will widen Isabelle Road, install striped bike lanes at the intersection, lengthen existing turn lanes, and realign the road intersection to improve sight distance for both southbound and westbound traffic. The project will also add pedestrian crossings at all four corners and construct a new wetland area northeast of the intersection.

According to the Boulder County website, this project is partially funded by a $2.6 million award from the Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program. Colorado is providing $290,000, the Town of Erie is providing $300,000, and the remainder will be paid for using Countywide Transportation Tax funds.

The second topic of the meeting was the East County Line Road/Weld County Road 1 corridor master plan. This master plan is intended to guide future multimodal roadway investments along a 10-mile corridor of East County Line Road spanning from Highway 66 north of Longmont to Jay Road.

The goal of the master plan, per the plan's website, is to develop goals and objectives for future improvements; identify opportunities, constraints, and potential obstacles for corridor improvements; and recommend a list of phased projects for completion. These plans span everything from widening roads and shoulders and creating safer intersections to improving cycling and pedestrian infrastructure and mitigating environmental impacts. The full master plan can be viewed at EastCountyLineRoad.com

Currently, this master plan is entering a final stage for public review and comment. Public comments can be submitted on the main project website. Additionally, Boulder County is hosting three virtual workshops on Dec. 15, 16, and 17 for the public to learn more about the project and to provide input.

The final proposal to be discussed was a possible future multi-use trail, called the RTD Rail Trail. At this time, Boulder County, in partnership with the City of Boulder and Town of Erie, is evaluating options for the creation of a new soft-surface regional trail connection along the RTD-owned rail corridor linking Boulder and Erie.

This proposal has been a long time in the making as the corridor was originally identified back in 2003 as a possible regional trail connection. The Countywide Sales Tax Ballot, passed by voters in 2007, provided possible funding for the project which went into initial stages of development in 2019 with the first step being to draft a master plan to identify needs, opportunities, and constraints in constructing this regional trail.

That process is ongoing, and Boulder County planners along with the City of Erie are working to determine the preferred alignment for this possible trail. Their current timeline is to present a final master plan at the beginning of 2021. This proposal does not guarantee the construction of the trail-rather it represents the process of evaluating the possible benefits and impacts of the proposed trail along with providing a recommendation on the best trail alignment.

Once the review process of the master plan concludes, it may result in Boulder County and the City of Erie taking the next step to start construction of the trail, but this is not a guaranteed outcome. More information on the current proposal and ongoing review process can be found at Rtdrailtrail.com

Residents should expect to see continued cycling improvements in east Boulder County. Safety continues to be the cornerstone of the Boulder County Transportation Master Plan as Boulder County works toward its goal of eliminating all crashes involving people. As part of that mission, the County will continue to look for ways to provide safe, equitable, and affordable means of transportation, a goal in which bicycles play a large role.

 

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