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Study for Diagonal Highway improvements set to be released in April

Colo. 119 expected to have a 25% increase in traffic by 2040
2020_07_27_colo119_hover
Traffic is seen on Colo. 119 at Hover Street in Longmont on July 28, 2020. (Photo by Shona Crampton)

A group aiming to improve commuting on the rapidly growing Diagonal Highway is preparing a plan to help people make connections on transit stops along the roadway, deemed a trouble spot and a high priority for improvements by state transit planners.

Commuting Solutions is working with its consultants, Fehr & Peers, to put the finishing touches on a First and Final Mile Study recommendations draft, which will be available to the public in April, according to the nonprofit’s website.

The recommendations include:

  • Low-stress bicycle and pedestrian connections along the highway
  • New improved signage
  • Shared parking in Gunbarrel only
  • “Microtransit” in Gunbarrel, which is typically transit shuttles based on consumer demand
  • Transportation Demand Management
  • Introduction of new transit programs along the corridor.

Fehr & Peers worked for over a year on its recommendations and was funded through a Denver Regional Council of Government grant, said Commuting Solutions Executive Director Audrey DeBarros in an email.

The Louisville-based Commuting Solutions works with the Denver Regional Council of Governments,or DRCOG, and seven other transportation management groups — including the Colorado Department of Transportation, or CDOT, and the Regional Transportation District, or RTD, — to promote car and van pools, cyclists and transit options on U.S. 36 between Boulder and Denver as well as the Diagonal Highway, according to the organization’s website.

Commuting Solutions, in 2020, helped the city of Longmont receive grant funding for railroad “quiet zones” in the city and a development grant for improvements on Colo. 119 and Hover Street, the organization states.

One of Commuting Solutions main efforts is a proposed $253.3 million package of upgrades on the Diagonal Highway, which currently attracts 45,000 vehicles a day. There is a projected 25% increase of traffic along the corridor by 2040, according to the Commuting Solutions website.

RTD, along with the Northwest Mayors & Commissioners Coalition, determined in 2014 that a Bus Rapid Transit system along the Diagonal should be considered a high priority project to address the growing travel demands.

At least $93 million in funding for the Diagonal improvements has been secured by Commuting Solutions, according to its website. The sources include $30 million from RTD; $13.5 million from DRCOG; $9 million from CDOT while the cities of Boulder and Longmont have chipped in $1.15 million. Improvements on the corridor will be phased over time as funding becomes available, the website states. 

The planned enhancements include Bus Rapid Transit along the corridor along with managed lanes and a bikeway, according to the website.

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