It’s been almost a year since ground was broken for the Northwest Rail Line, a 41-mile commuter-rail line from Denver Union Station to Longmont. …
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It’s been almost a year since ground was broken for the Northwest Rail Line, a 41-mile commuter-rail line from Denver Union Station to Longmont.
Regional Transpiration District representatives gave a construction update to residents of Westminster and Adams County connected to the project at a community open house on May 1.
“We want to be engaged with the community throughout this whole process,” said project spokesperson Laura Rinker. “We want to hear the community’s questions and views on the project. The open houses also allow us to get people’s contact information so we can keep in touch with them for future events.”
Northwest Rail Line is a fixed-guideway transit project that passes through North Denver, Adams County, Westminster, Broomfield, Louisville and Boulder ending up in Longmont.
This first segment will be 6.2-miles long and ends in south Westminster near 71st Avenue and Lowell Boulevard.
It is expected to be complete in 2016 and is funded through the Eagle P3 project — a $1.03 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration. Rinker said most of the construction thus far is in north Denver and Adams County.
“There is a lot of bridge construction right now as well as utility work,” she said. “But as the project continues, people will start to see more construction along the line.”
After the ground breaking ceremony last June, Westminster mayor Nancy McNally was very excited to finally see the project get under way. She said the city has worked hard for the passage of FasTracks over the years.
“This project will be great for the southern part of our city,” she said. “We are excited to see how everything comes together.”
Taking advantage of the rail line, the city is planning to construct the Westminster Station surrounded by 135 acres of development, the Transit-Oriented Development District, TOD.
The district comprises land between Lowell Boulevard and Federal Boulevard to the west and east, and 72nd Avenue and the rail corridor to the north and south. Plans call for the Little Dry Creek basin, which is south of the rail corridor, to be turned into a 40-acre community park with recreation and open space amenities.
After lengthy negotiations with RTD, the city signed an intergovernmental agreement in June 2012 with RTD allowing the city to make its plan a reality. The agreement required the city to produce a specified amount of parking at the station, which must be open by 2016.
“Instead of a huge sea of asphalt, which is what RTD had planned for the station, we are able to deliver the same amount of parking with the construction of a parking garage,” said Mac Cummins, planning manager for the city. “So now we are able to create an area for future development.”
Cummins said the general strategy for the 135-acre site is to create a vibrant area filled with a variety of uses, including retail space, businesses and residential areas. The goal is to have the area grow over time without a specific urban-renewal plan.
For more information on the Northwest Rail line, visit www.rtd-fastracks.com. For more information on the TOD project visit www.westminstertof.com.
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