Editorial: It’s time for BRT service between Boulder, Longmont

RTD needs to get on the bus.

Word has come that the Regional Transportation District plans to conduct public meetings in Boulder and Longmont in November to discuss the potential for bus-rapid-transit service between Boulder and Longmont along Colorado Highway 119.

Meetings will be conducted from 6 to 8 p.m., Nov. 15, at the Longmont Museum, 400 Quail Road, and from 6 to 8 p.m., Nov. 16, at the Boulder Chamber, 2440 Pearl St.

Congestion worsens every day along 119, known as the Diagonal Highway, with Boulder surpassing 108,000 residents and Longmont approaching 95,000. Many of those residents move back and forth along the Diagonal for work, shopping and recreation.

And more are venturing from Longmont through Boulder to Denver, and from Boulder through Longmont to Northern Colorado.

RTD has been immersed in a study of the corridor for those very reasons.

“The metro area ranks among the nation’s most livable communities, but also one of the most congested,” according to a website devoted to the study. “With the opening of the W and R light rail lines, and the University of Colorado A and B commuter rail lines, RTD’s next priority is to address the transportation needs and ease congestion in the northern communities with bus rapid transit along State Highway 119.”

The study will address “the growing congestion and travel demand, environmental impacts, multimodal access, transit reliability and transit travel time.”

Participating in the study are Boulder County, the cities of Boulder and Longmont, the Boulder Chamber, the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce, the Niwot Business Association, Commuting Solutions, the North Area Transportation Alliance, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Denver Regional Council of Governments, the Federal Transit Administration, BNSF and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The study is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, with the November gatherings kicking off quarterly public meetings.

But allow us to jump the turnstile just once. Boulder and Boulder County have been among the most-avid users of RTD. More-rapid, reliable service along the Diagonal, with dropoff and access points at key employment and recreational centers in both cities, should be a no-brainer.

And it would present a viable alternative to the hugely costly, pie-in-the-sky commuter rail that was promised as part of FasTracks but never delivered for Boulder County.

So, by all means, RTD: Finish the study. Then make it happen.