Boulder County, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) have proposed safety and mobility improvement modifications and the construction of a bikeway along Colorado Highway 119 (“CO 119”) between the City of Boulder and the City of Longmont. The project sponsors have submitted a 1041 application for the project. The application materials can be viewed on the Boulder County webpage Docket SI-22-0002.
Background of Colorado’s “1041 Powers” or “1041 Regulations”
Colorado law grants “1041 powers” to local governments to identify, designate, and regulate areas and activities of state interest through a local permitting process. The general intention of these powers is to allow for local governments to ensure development projects are in conformance with the local Comprehensive Plan, even where the development project has statewide impacts. View more information about the regulations passed in 1974 by the Colorado Legislature.
A 1041 review would allow the Boulder County Planning Commission and the County Commissioners to conduct public hearings and review the application according to the criteria in the Code. At that time, all public input, including comments opposing the project, will be made a part of the record of the 1041 docket and considered by the Planning Commission and the County Commissioners as a part of their decision-making processes.
The Colorado Highway 119 (CO 119) Multi-Modal Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study established a multimodal corridor vision and identified numerous project elements that CO 119 local agency stakeholders are advancing as separate but coordinated projects. CDOT and RTD are leading the CO 119 Safety and Mobility Improvements Project (Mobility Project). Boulder County is leading the CO 119 Bikeway Project (Bikeway Project). The applicants have submitted the Areas and Activities of State Interest (1041) application as a combined effort for both projects.
For the purposes of this 1041 application, both projects (i.e., Mobility Project and Bikeway Project), will collectively be referred to as the “Project”. The Project is located along the CO 119 corridor between Longmont and Boulder, often referred to as the Diagonal corridor. The Applicants propose to begin construction of the Project in 2024.
The Mobility Project will create a more reliable and equitable regional transportation system by incorporating safe, efficient vehicular travel choices, with enhanced transit infrastructure. By 2040, the CO 119 corridor is projected to see a 25 percent increase in vehicular traffic. Increased traffic can result in more congestion, delay, accidents, and greenhouse gas emissions. The Mobility Project intersection improvements address many key infrastructure deficiencies that will foster a safer driving environment. By adding a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, it provides an opportunity to use CDOT’s new Adaptive Signal Control System to reduce queues and alleviate recurring congestion. This will address the pattern of congestion-related crashes due to speed differential times for emergency services. Upgrades to the signal equipment, including proven safety countermeasures (e.g., highly reflective backplates and adjustments to the clearance intervals) and additional features (e.g., dynamic signal warning systems) will improve signal visibility, reducing crashes. The Mobility Project intersection and transit improvements are located entirely within CDOT right-of-way (ROW).
The Bikeway Project adds a safe active transportation option within the CO 119 corridor, which is critical to increase connectivity. The bikeway is a proposed 12-foot-wide multi-use path between Boulder and Longmont primarily within the median of CO 119. The bikeway will be paved and plowed in the winter to facilitate year-round use. The goal of the bikeway is to create a safe, direct, and accessible bicycle facility. The 9-mile facility will connect into the existing multi-use path networks within the City of Boulder and the City of Longmont. The Bikeway Project will require easements within the Cities of Boulder and Longmont as well as a small section within unincorporated Boulder County.