Planning for Light Rail in Lakewood

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Imagine places with pedestrian-friendly streets that include wide sidewalks for leisurely strolls. Imagine places with a lively mix of local and national retailers, restaurants, offices and residences of all types, ranging from single-family homes to townhomes and condominiums. 

 

Imagine places for people to live, work, gather, shop and enjoy community life, all within walking distance to transit stations where residents can catch a light rail train to downtown Denver, the Denver Tech Center and beyond. Imagine all this existing at the Sheridan Boulevard, Lamar Street, Wadsworth Boulevard and Oak Street stations, along the Union Boulevard corridor near the Denver Federal Center station and at many locations along Colfax Avenue.  

 

The City of Lakewood and its residents have imagined all these possibilities and are working toward making this vision a reality. Through a community-oriented process, the City has developed and adopted Station Area Plans and several new mixed-use zone districts. Areas around six key stations have been rezoned to Mixed-Use under the new Zoning Ordinance that took effect in April of 2013. Additionally, Colfax Avenue, near the West Rail Line has also been rezoned to allow for mixed-use development under the new ordinance.

 

With rail service now available, the City is at a crossroads of tremendous opportunity – for developers, citizens and potential residents and businesses. So, come get on board with us!  

West Rail Line History

In 1995, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) began the West Corridor Major Investment Study (MIS) to evaluate possible alternatives for rapid transit, from downtown Denver through Lakewood to Golden, in the general area between Alameda Avenue on the south and 26th Avenue on the north. 

 

In 1997, the RTD Board of Directors adopted the MIS recommendations. The Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) from the MIS called for light rail transit to run from Union Station in downtown Denver to U.S. 6 and U.S. 40 in Golden, with an alignment generally following the Associated Railroad right-of-way along 13th Avenue through west Denver and Lakewood.  

 

In March 2001, RTD received permission from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to begin Preliminary Engineering (PE) and the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the West Rail Line project.  

 

RTD issued a Draft EIS for public comment in March 2003. The Final EIS was issued in the fall of 2003, and a Record of Decision from the FTA was received in April 2004.  

 

In November 2004, the citizens in the Denver region voted to approve the FasTracks ballot measure. The sales tax revenues generated by the measure will fund the 119-mile expansion of the regions mass transit system. The West Rail Line, and the associated station construction, is funded in part by this revenue source. Construction of the West Rail Line is fully funded through sales tax and federal funds. The West Rail Line will be the first to open as part of FasTracks.  

 

Final engineering and design work for the line was completed in 2008, with initial construction beginning later that year.

 

Full construction on the line began in 2009, with completion in early 2013. After extensive testing, the line opened for passenger service on April 26, 2013.

 

West Corridor Wadsworth Bridge Aerial

 

For more information regarding RTD’s West Rail Line history, go to RTD’s Fastrack webpage.

City Investment in Light Rail

The City, through the Lakewood Reinvestment Authority (LRA), has already invested a significant amount of resources to make two of the rail stations distinctive facilities. The Wadsworth Boulevard station, located on a bridge structure, has a unique canopy structure, as well as upgraded platform paving and seating areas. The Oak Street station includes enhanced landscaping and seating areas. In the future, the Oak Street station may also be home to a historic, and completely refurbished, Interurban Car 25, and a museum and restoration facility dedicated to preserving and promoting historic transit. Additional information about the station enhancements can be found on the LRA website.

 

 

 West Corridor Oak St rendering  West Corridor Wadsworth Bridge rendering

 

 

The City has also studied infrastructure needs for the areas surrounding the Wadsworth Boulevard and Oak Street stations. Those needs are detailed in Master Infrastructure Plans for the areas currently zoned for mixed-use development in proximity to the two stations.

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Contact Information:

Roger Wadnal, Manager, Comprehensive Planning and Research
480 S Allison Pkwy
Lakewood, CO 80226
Direct: 303-987-7519 | Email: rogwad@lakewood.org
Rob Smetana
Direct: 303-987-7745 | Email: robsme@lakewood.org

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