As signs point to the RTD FasTracks southwest extension being completed sooner rather than later, public meetings are beginning to gain steam and members of the community are being asked what they would like the station area to look like.
The first of two meetings co-hosted by Douglas County and Denver-based planning and design firm MIG drew a full house of 60 people at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Highlands Ranch Substation Oct. 15. A second meeting is planned for Nov. 5 to garner public input on issues from the types of businesses that residents would like to see to parking, access points and possible relocation.
While any decision to relocate the station location would have to come directly from RTD — which has already purchased the land west of Lucent Boulevard and north of Plaza Drive, across from Benjamin Franklin Academy — a straw poll at the initial meeting showed more than 90 percent in attendance in favor of relocating it.
“From hearing all the feedback from this meeting, it seems the answer is that this station as it has been proposed is no longer applicable in terms of feasibility to the community,” said Highlands Ranch resident Philip Cullen, who first brought up the idea. “I think the feedback to RTD has to be, we need to reconsider that location.”
The popular suggestion from a few residents seemed to be that RTD could work out a trade with Shea Properties for the vacant land north of Target in Town Center East or build it north of C-470 to prevent spending millions on constructing a flyover.
The major concerns with the current location revolved around parking spillover into adjacent neighborhoods, safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and traffic congestion on Plaza Drive — something that is already an issue when school begins and lets out.
Dave Barrett, who lives in one of the adjacent neighborhoods, suggested that in order to get the traffic off Plaza, access points could come in off Lucent, and there could be egress points that would go directly onto C-470, similar to stations in Thornton and Broomfield that back up to highways.
Where the process is
According to FasTracks spokeswoman Pauletta Tonilas, there are four proposals being considered for the North Metro line, and staff will make a recommendation to the board on which proposal would be the best one at a Nov. 5 RTD meeting.
And while a formal board announcement will not be made until Nov. 26, RTD District H Directory Kent Bagley will host a telephone town hall at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 to update those in this district, among other things, on what the staff recommendation could mean for the southwest extension to Lucent.
“When we sent out requests for proposals, we asked them all to include what they could do to complete the southeast, central and southwest extensions,” Tonilas said. “It is possible that the southwest extension could be done sooner than later. It all depends on the proposed timeline that the winning bidder has drawn up.”
As far as any relocation of the Lucent Station, Tonilas isn’t as confident about that being a possibility, as RTD already owns the land where the station is planned and the district doesn’t own any other nearby land.
“When the environmental assessment was done in 2010 we worked with all of the area stakeholders and had a series of public meetings, and that was determined to be the best location,” she said. “It’s not easy for us to move station locations. It would be very complicated and could cause schedule delays if we pursued that.”
To participate in the Nov. 7 telephone town hall, please call 877-229-8493 and enter pin no. 112070 at 7:30 p.m. A second community meeting to discuss the future Lucent Boulevard Station will be hosted from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Highlands Ranch Library's Shea A Room, 9292 S. Ridgeline Blvd.