The Transformation of U.S. 36

bikelifecities.com
bikelifecities.com

That “skinny” path on the right is the Bikeway! When finished, it will run 18 miles from Westminster to Boulder.

Construction on U.S. 36. You’ve asked yourself, “Will it ever end? And when it’s done, what’s in it for me?” Whether you’ve pondered these thoughts while driving on the highway, sitting on the bus or overlooking U.S. 36 as you bike across the Cherryvale bridge, know that when it’s finished, you’ll likely find your travel experience much improved. Here’s what is being built and what you can expect when construction is completed in early 2016.

EXPRESS LANES

Through a joint partnership, RTD, Plenary Roads Denver and CDOT are transforming U.S. 36 into a multimodal corridor, reconstructing the general purpose lanes and adding one new Express Lane in each direction dedicated to RTD’s new Bus Rapid Transit service, carpoolers and vanpoolers, and toll-paying solo drivers. The existing general purpose lanes will remain free for all vehicles.

RTD BUS RAPID TRANSIT SERVICE

Named the Flatiron Flyer, each new branded bus will seat 57 people and carry 6 to 8 bikes. The Flatiron Flyer will provide a frequent and fast commute between Denver, Westminster, Broomfield, Boulder and points in between. A key advantage of riding the Flatiron Flyer is that these buses can travel in the Express Lanes, in the general purpose lanes or on the highway shoulder to bypass slow-moving traffic. Other passenger amenities include ticket vending machines at stations and electronic screens displaying schedule information.

U.S. 36 BIKEWAY

Decades in the making, the Bikeway is an 18-mile “highway for bicyclists” from Table Mesa in Boulder to 80th Avenue in Westminster that connects to existing local bicycling facilities to provide a safe and direct way to travel by bike. The first 11 miles from Westminster to 88th Avenue in Louisville/Superior will open this summer, with the remaining seven miles to be completed in early 2016. With the Bikeway, cyclists will be separated from traffic since most road crossings have been eliminated, thereby improving safety and comfort for all users.

So the next time you’re complaining about the highway construction (and yes, we all do), there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s less than a year away! And, with more convenient travel options along U.S. 36, you’ll find it was worth the wait.

Celebrate the U.S. 36 Bikeway Phase 1 opening on Bike to Work Day, June 24, at the 36 Commuting Solutions breakfast station, Interlocken East Park, 280 Interlocken Blvd. There will also be a community ride on the U.S. 36 Bikeway and a bike home station the evening of June 24 at the Westminster Promenade. Visit 36commutingsolutions.org for details.

This story was written by Jean Sanson, senior transportation planner, City of Boulder, and Audrey DeBarros, executive director of 36 Commuting Solutions.