East Arapahoe Transportation Plan
Introduction to the East Arapahoe Transportation Plan
The East Arapahoe Transportation Plan is a long-range plan that will consider a number of potential transportation improvements within the East Arapahoe corridor, including biking and walking enhancements, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and local bus service and automobile travel. The purpose of the plan is to:
- Address existing & future transportation needs, including local and regional travel.
- Facilitate safe travel & access by people using all modes – walking, biking, accessing transit, and driving.
- Support existing & future land use in the corridor.
Community Working Group Statement of Findings
Public Open House
More than 50 members of the public joined city staff on February 15 for an open house, where staff shared the recommended alternative for East Arapahoe, incorporating features that offer a variety of safe and reliable travel choices for people walking, biking, using transit and driving. This will be a long-range plan that can be phased over time, with safety, access and mobility improvements that can be incrementally put in place to improve conditions today and into the future. Feedback from the community will be shared with the city's Transportation Advisory Board and City Council this spring.
More details about the feedback from the open house will be posted to this site soon.
Based on input from the CWG, TAB and broader community feedback, staff is recommending Alternative 3, which includes:
- Maintaining two general purpose lanes in each direction throughout most of the corridor,
- Repurposing the existing curbside general-purpose travel lanes to accommodate a combination of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV), right-turning vehicles, and new shared technologies such as autonomous/connected vehicles, and
- Pedestrian and bicycle improvements including an off-street multiuse path and raised protected bike lanes.
This alternative is expected to decrease future travel times for all commuters, maintain auto travel time and provide a transit travel time competitive with the automobile. It is also expected to create greater visibility for cyclists and more separation from general traffic, increasing access and comfort for all people walking and bicycling.
Setting the long-range vision (Recommended Alternative) for the East Arapahoe corridor is the first step in a multi-year journey. Implementing the vision and advancing regional mobility improvements along the length of SH 7 between downtown Boulder and I-25/Brighton will be a long-term project for the City of Boulder and key local and regional partners. It will involve continued community outreach and engagement through each step.
This recommendation is supported by the results of the Evaluation of Alternatives Summary Report .
Frequently Asked Questions about the East Arapahoe Transportation Plan
The Recommended Alternative would increase pedestrian comfort and safety throughout the corridor, with the largest improvements between approximately Foothills Parkway and Westview Drive. In this stretch of the corridor, a planned 12-foot multi-use path with an adjacent 17 to 18-foot amenity zone and bicycle facility acting as a buffer, as well as lower traffic speeds, would contribute to a higher level of pedestrian comfort than today.
Along the corridor, off-street bicycle facilities would provide a higher level of comfort and safety for people on bicycles than on-street facilities. A tradeoff with shared multi-use paths is the potential for increased conflicts between bicyclists and pedestrians, and between autos and bicycles crossing driveways in the opposite direction as traffic.
With implementation of side-running BRT, high-capacity transit service is forecast to maintain or reduce daily traffic in the corridor by as much as 3,700 vehicles per day. In the recommended alternative, the peak hour LOS, a measure of delay at major intersections, would typically be the same as today, except at Foothills where the PM peak LOS would be degraded. By contrast, in the No Build Alternative, the PM peak hour Level of Service would typically degrade by one to two letter grades, from C to D or E. All the Build Alternatives include roadway design features providing safety benefits to drivers.
The Recommended Alternative, which includes lane repurposing, would reduce through auto capacity at intersections. However, because BRT ridership would reduce auto traffic, a balancing effect on travel time is achieved. In the No Build Alternative, future auto travel times are projected to increase with increasing traffic and congestion. For example, a typical auto trip between US 287 in Lafayette and Boulder Community Health takes approximately 14 minutes today in the AM peak hour and would take an additional 3 minutes in 2040 in the No Build Alternative. With implementation of the Recommended Alternative, this travel time is expected to remain at between 17 and 18 minutes in 2040.
The Recommended Alternative would reduce the transit travel time in the corridor compared to driving in the peak hour/peak direction. A typical transit trip between Lafayette and Boulder Community Health takes 18 minutes today in the AM peak hour and would take 19 minutes in 2040 with the No Build Alternative. The Recommended Alternative would reduce this transit trip time to 14-15 minutes, providing shorter travel times than auto travel.
Current ridership on the JUMP is approximately 2,400 daily boardings. With implementation of the Recommended Alternative, ridership is projected to increase to between 7,000 and 10,000 daily boardings. This ridership estimate is between Downtown Boulder and Brighton and include both regional BRT and local bus service in the corridor.
The Recommended Alternative would reduce auto mode share and increase pedestrian, transit and bicycle mode share, moving the city closer to its TMP goal of reducing single occupant vehicle travel to 20 percent of all trips for residents and to 60 percent of work trips for non-residents. As an example, for trips on Arapahoe at 30th Street, 94 percent of all trips are made in autos today. In 2040 with the Recommended Alternative, the auto mode share is reduced to 82 percent, the share of trips made by people walking or biking increases from 2 percent to 6 percent, and transit trips increase from 5 percent to between 10-12 percent of all trips.
The Recommended Alternative would designate a larger percentage of public right-of-way to streetscape features than the No Build Alternative. For example, within the segment of the corridor between Foothills Parkway and Westview Drive, 75 percent of the right-of-way is currently dedicated to roadway and 25 percent of the space is dedicated to streetscape including medians, amenity areas, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. The Recommended Alternative results in approximately 42 percent of the space dedicated to the roadway, and 58 percent dedicated to streetscape features. This redistribution of space assumes both the narrowing of traffic lanes and a wider streetscape footprint than exists today.
For comparison purposes, 2017 conceptual capital cost estimates for multimodal improvements along the approximate five-mile corridor are estimated at approximately $90M. Recognizing that the full corridor improvements along East Arapahoe will most likely be completed in stages over several years, the project team will be developing a phased implementation plan that takes into consideration the different modal elements and potential funding sources.
Community Working Group
In the spring of 2016, The city assembled a community working group to provide input to city staff during the planning process. The working group's feedback has guided the project's process, helped shape the plan's foundational documents, and continues to help staff explore future transportation options that serve the varied needs of the community. Click over to the Community Working Group Page to review meeting summaries and other materials.
Important Plan Milestones
- East Arapahoe Transportation Plan Purpose, Goals, and Objectives .
- East Arapahoe Transportation Plan Existing Conditions .
- Initial Screening of Elements to be incorporated into Draft Alternatives.
- East Arapahoe Transportation Plan Draft Alternatives .
View the latest, Summary of Public Input , for the period of March 2016 - February 2018.
East Arapahoe Transportation Plan Public Events
The city’s Transportation Division hosted a Public Meeting for the East Arapahoe Transportation Plan on the evening of May 10, 2017.
View the presentation boards from this meeting here .
The city’s Transportation Division hosted an Open House for the East Arapahoe Transportation Plan on the evening of Feb. 2, 2017. View the presentation boards from this meeting here .
A summary of input from this meeting is included in the Spring, 2017 Summary of Public Input .
On Nov. 19, 2015, the project team held an interactive public workshop for community members to review the range of transportation improvement alternatives being considered and to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each. Participants also provided feedback on a set of evaluation criteria by which to evaluate potential improvements. Below are materials presented at the workshop, followed by a summary of what some of the meeting participants had to say.
View the Planning Update Handout
Based on the vision for East Arapahoe articulated by community members, staff developed a range of potential design alternatives that incorporate complete street elements, in various combinations. These alternatives are intended to illustrate a range of potential complete street design options for East Arapahoe, from a "No Change Alternative" whereby no transportation improvements are made, to Alternative A, which represents the most minimal investment in complete street features (like completing gaps in the multiuse path and adding more transit vehicles and enhancing stops, but not changing the current roadway design) to Alternative D which represents the largest investment in complete street features (like maintaining current general purpose lanes and widening the street to add exclusive BRT lanes and on-street bicycle facilities and pedestrian treatments). Review the Conceptual Design Alternatives here:
- Draft No Change Alternative
- Draft Alternative A
- Draft Alternative B
- Draft Alternative C
- Draft Alternative D
Several themes emerged from the public discussion:
- Workshop participants were interested in both short term and long term improvements along East Arapahoe.
- In small group discussions, community members expressed both concern and interest in the tradeoff between maintaining or expanding vehicle travel lanes vs. dedicating more street space to exclusive transit lanes, on-street bicycle facilities and landscaping.
- Some workshop participants pointed out the potential for more people to bicycle, walk or use transit if additional space is allocated to these modes of travel. However, there is also ongoing concern about the extent of automobile congestion in the corridor.
- Many participants expressed concern about right-of-way expansion – some business owners feel that roadway expansion may be detrimental to development along the corridor, and other participants expressed that the street may be wide enough already.
- In general, there was strong support expressed for completing and/or adding bike infrastructure along East Arapahoe.
- Workshop participants prioritized several evaluation criteria to evaluate potential improvements, including transit travel time and reliability, bicycle access and comfort, automobile travel time and forecast impacts to greenhouse gas emissions.
In February 2015, the project team held an interactive public workshop for community members to express their desires, values, and priorities for improving transportation conditions in the East Arapahoe Corridor. Participants worked in groups to experiment with different types of transportation facilities (bike lanes, bus lanes, landscaping, sidewalks, etc.) and their potential configurations, both digitally and hands-on with physical “game pieces.” See Feb. 24, 2015 City Council Study Session Memo for a detailed summary of the workshop.
Here are some key take-aways from the workshop:
- BRT: Workshop participants generally supported BRT on Arapahoe Avenue, however there are many outstanding questions regarding how it would be designed and operated (exclusive lanes, side vs. center running, station locations, etc). Some participants would like to see the number of automobile travel lanes reduced and “repurposed” for bus-only lanes and on-street bike facilities. Other participants were concerned that reducing auto lanes would increase traffic congestion.
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities: Each workshop group included some form of enhanced and protected on-street bike facility, as well as an off-street multi-use path. In a community with a strong culture of walking and cycling, there was general agreement among participants that bicycle facilities on Arapahoe Avenue should be improved, and missing links in the multi-use path completed to increase access and safety.
- Street Landscaping: Most workshop participants would like to see enhanced landscaping and aesthetic improvements along Arapahoe Avenue. There was general support for transforming Arapahoe Avenue into a “boulevard” with more trees and a softer, less highway-like feel.
Examples of Potential Arapahoe Avenue Improvements Proposed by Participants at February 2015 Public Workshop:
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please send them to us using the comment form below. If you would like a response, please provide an email address in your comment. Stay tuned to this webpage for continuing information on public outreach events, and how to provide your feedback on the plan.
Senior Transportation Planner
Email Jean Sanson