Cross-jurisdictional collaboration and private sector support results in light rail expansion, highway optimization, and last mile solutions
It’s no secret that Metro Denver is growing at a rapid pace; resulting in stress on our existing infrastructure. What may not be as clear is the collaborative work between the six-jurisdictions and the local business community to proactively support the needed infrastructure development along the south I-25 corridor.
The Denver South Transportation Management Association (Denver South TMA) has acted as the transportation project facilitator for the region, and provides financial support from the private businesses through a regional metro district overlay known as, the Southeast Public Improvement Metropolitan District (SPIMD), established in 2004. The organization was founded to co-fund infrastructure projects through partnership with the local jurisdictions. SPIMD is also the primary funding partner of the Denver South Economic Development Partnership, a forum for regional collaboration on infrastructure and economic development.
The Southeast Light Rail extension through Lone Tree was made possible by an unprecedented local match put forth to secure the necessary federal funding. SPIMD/Denver South TMA, the City of Lone Tree, Douglas County, Coventry Development, and RTD all made significant contributions of time, money and energy to enable the light rail extension to move forward. Coventry Development joined the coalition and voluntarily offered the land to provide the light rail right of way.
Keith Simon, Executive Vice President of Coventry Development commented, “We recognize the importance of enhancing mobility solutions to workers in the Denver South corridor. The Southeast Rail extension is critical to the Region’s continued economic development success.” The Southeast Extension broke ground in May and is slated to be completed in 2019.
The region not only committed to increase access to the rail, but also getting people from the light rail to work. The Lone Tree Link is a unique partnership between government and business to provide a last mile solution. The partners include: The City of Lone Tree, SPIMD/Denver South TMA, Charles Schwab, Parkridge Corporate Center/OmniPark Metropolitan District, and Sky Ridge Medical Center. The Link saw 62,000 boardings in its first year of service and is already being viewed as a best practice for last-mile solutions in the Denver Metro Area.
In an effort to provide additional last mile solutions, the region, through a public-private partnership between the City of Centennial, the TMA, Lyft and Xerox is offering a first of its kind pilot project in which light rail riders disembarking at the Dry Creek Station have the ability to take free Lyft rides to their place of work. This project, named Go Centennial, will pilot this program for up to 6 months.
The Arapahoe and I-25 interchange is also a critical improvement needed to support future infrastructure needs of the Denver South Corridor. This project is inherently complex in that three jurisdictions, Arapahoe County, Centennial, and Greenwood Village, all have a corner of the intersection at Arapahoe road and I-25. Regional collaboration and financial support amongst the three jurisdictions, as well as SPIMD/Denver South TMA, and CDOT has made the $68 million project possible. The work at Arapahoe will be completed in the summer of 2018.
The rapid growth of Denver South and Metro Denver are being met with proactive infrastructure development and increased utilization of mass transit. According to Mike Fitzgerald, CEO of the Denver South Economic Development Partnership, “Regional collaboration is critical to providing the mobility solutions of the next decade. The business community and jurisdictions within Denver South have come together to accomplish just that.”
Additional projects planned or underway include the widening of C-470 and E-470, County Line road improvements, the Lone Tree pedestrian bridge, and the Sky Ridge I-25 bridge.
For more information, please visit the Denver South EDP website at www.denversouthedp.org.