Thornton will spend $60,000 for consultants to produce master plans for transit oriented development at FasTrack stations at 88th and 104th avenues .
City council unanimously voted on a pair of resolutions approving intergovernmental agreements with the Regional Transportation District (RTD) for partial funding of the station area master plans for those two stations.
Cost for the master plans is $300,000 ($150,000 each)— $240,000 of which will be funded by RTD through its Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Thornton has to pay 20 percent of the cost as part of the agreements, and $60,000 is set aside in the 2013 budget for these items.
“One of the directions this council has given — that you have advocated personally in Washington, and here locally, is to try to strengthen the elements of our corridor so we can better compete for funding and we believe that is exactly what the results of these two efforts will do for us,” City Manager Jack Ethredge said before council voted.
The master plans will focus on development that will enhance access to employment opportunities, increase housing options and support walking and biking to work stations.
Consultants will study approximately 98.5 acres for the 88th station, which encompasses the area north of 88th, east of the RTD railroad right-of-way and Welby Road and west of Monroe Street and approximately 33.4 acres for the 104th station, which encompasses the area south of 104th, east of the RTD railroad right-of-way and north of 100th Avenue and west of Grand View Ponds and Open Space.
Staff expects the studies to begin this year and will take 12 months to complete. However, it is still unknown when the North Metro line will make its way past 72nd Avenue.
“FasTracks timing right now is a little bit unknown … but the preplanning of (the station areas is) really critical for us,” said Karen Widomski, policy analyst with the city. “Obviously, planning needs to happen before (the line) is actually built. If we don’t have that planning done then it puts us in a position where we’re scrambling at the last minute to get things done.”
Mayor Pro Tem Val Vigil, Ward 2, said RTD has identified full funding up to the 72nd station and that RTD has received an unsolicited bid to build out the north line and is expected to put out a request for proposal in July for the project.
“Let me assure you that a year and a half ago, or even a year ago, there was no conversation about anything coming up north at all whatsoever,” he said. “There has been great progress.”
Ward 3 Councilwoman Beth Martinez Humenik said that it is important that the city is proactive in regards to the project so that when funds are available, it is ready to compete.
“As (Vigil) mentioned it is looking better than it was a year ago, but we have a long, long way to go, and funding is the major thing holding up the extension from 72nd Avenue farther north,” she said.
Thornton is also set to receive partial funding for the 144th Station Area Master Plan from RTD in 2014.