In a nutshell…
The City of Louisville, Boulder County, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) have partnered to improve Hwy 42, both for Louisville’s citizens and business owners, and to address regional transportation needs. To that end, schematic designs (30% construction drawings) will be produced for the Hwy 42 corridor between Lock Street on the south and Paschal Drive on the north. These improvements will include pedestrian and bicycle facilities, roadway improvements, and new intersection designs.
The 42 Gateway project will also create a design for a pedestrian and bicycle connection across the railroad tracks at South Street. This connection will provide a gateway between the Revitalization District and Downtown Louisville. The gateway will help to spur activity in the Revitalization District by building on the success of Downtown Louisville.
The City of Louisville is seeking to develop an integrated infrastructure implementation plan which advances the public outreach and facilitation, planning, and preliminary engineering necessary to define the infrastructure needs for two projects: the Louisville FasTracks Station Area Next Steps Implementation Plan and the Highway 42 Corridor Plan from Lock Street to Paschal Drive. The work effort will include two components:
- A Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) Station Area Next Steps Implementation Plan for the proposed FasTracks Louisville Station Area, specifically: a South Street connection between Downtown Louisville and the Revitalization District across the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) right‐of‐way; creating a multi‐modal connection to the proposed Regional Transportation District (RTD) station while providing a regional connection between the Goodhue Ditch Trail and the Coal Creek Trail and finalizing the pedestrian considerations for the RTD Station Area; and
- A context sensitive and multi-modal corridor design and implementation plan for Highway 42 between Lock Street and the northern City limits (Paschal Drive).
The “Preferred Plan” will be selected through the project evaluation process, incorporating input from all project stakeholders. A committee of ‘Project Partners’, made up of representatives from the different stakeholder organizations, will be created to provide input on key decisions throughout the project.
The study area for the project includes all land within a quarter mile of the proposed RTD/Louisville station platform, as well as all the area within 300 feet of Hwy 42 right-of-way between Lock Street and Paschal Drive.
Funding for the project is being provided by Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation & Economic Recovery (FASTER) Funds, RTD, a Federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Grant (CMAQ), Boulder County Transportation Funds, and the City of Louisville.
The Hwy 42 corridor portion of the project has a 18-month timeline and the pedestrian/bike railroad crossing has a 12-month window, both of which started early November 2011.
The consultant design team will facilitate the process, help negotiate the technical hurdles, and coordinate the various state and federal agencies involved. The City and Citizens will be providing direction and fundamental design goals.
This project has a number of very limiting technical issues, from the width of Hwy 42 right-of-way to the vertical clearance requirements of crossing the railroad with an over/under pass. These physical realities will constrain the options that will be on the table. The process will reflect that by slowing down after the initial public kickoff meeting to gather data (traffic counts, physical surveys, right-of-way boundaries…) and prepare base mapping (and traffic simulations) that will facilitate the development of “build-able” alternatives at the public, stakeholder, and agency design charrettes.
The design charrettes are a fundamental part of this project, as so many design elements depend on a number of other design decisions (most of which intersect several stakeholders). The agencies involved (RTD, CDOT, Boulder County, BNSF) necessitate a process of small incremental steps forward. Each charrette will enable the process to move forward by having key decision makers present to approve (or at least sign off on) design decisions, so that the team can draft concepts and move forward.
This process also gives the project a high level of transparency, understanding, and provides many opportunities for stakeholders and citizens to help design the alternatives and ultimately leads to swift approvals.