US 34 Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study and Implementation Plan

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Background

The goal of the PEL process is to develop a vision for the US 34 corridor, identify transportation solutions (near, mid, and long-term) and priorities, opportunistically pursue funding opportunities, develop implementation strategies, and facilitate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and project construction. The PEL study will leverage past studies and agreements in the corridor, and the Coalition will be a sounding board to guide the PEL study. 

As the PEL is developed by the US 34 Coalition, the US 34-East of I25 Access Control Plan will also be reviewed, updated and amended as needed. Additionally, a US 34-West of I25 Access Control Plan will be developed. The US 34 Access Control Plans are separate from and complimentary to the US 34 PEL Study. The US 34 PEL Study Implementation plan will be a guiding document for project development in the corridor. The US 34 Access Control Plans are legally binding documents controlling access in the corridor.

PEL Vision

Work collaboratively; build upon and validate past efforts; manage and meet public and agency expectations, develop a vision for US 34 that includes discrete projects that improve safety and mobility along this important corridor.

For more information, please visit the CDOT website.

US 34 Coalition Purpose

The Coalition has come together to establish a common vision, priorities, and an implementation plan to prioritize, fund, and construct improvements along the US 34 corridor. The Coalition provides the member entities a forum to engage in a coordinated and collaborative process to pool resources, identify and implement a common and politically cohesive vision, and pursue transportation improvements for US 34.

Coalition members include elected officials and delegated staff from the following: CDOT, Weld County, Larimer County, City of Greeley, City of Evans, City of Loveland, Town of Johnstown, Town of Kersey, Town of Windsor, and the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization (NFRMPO).

Mission Statement and Goals

The Coalition agrees to and adopts the following mission statement and goals for the PEL Study:

To collaboratively design and effectuate solutions enhancing the public’s welfare, safety and mobility along the US 34 Corridor.

The Coalition goals are:

  1. Provide mobility improvements that serve the corridor’s many users;
  2. Ensure traveler safety;
  3. Enrich quality of life for residents, businesses, and other corridor users;
  4. Support communities’ economic opportunity and development goals;
  5. Foster regional alliances;
  6. Coordinate and integrate local land use and transportation plans, changes, and timing;
  7. Identify short, medium and long-term actionable alternatives;
  8. Position for and attract funding and resources;
  9. Communicate corridor needs, priorities, and project benefits;
  10. Engage and encourage public support;
  11. Accelerate delivery of priority improvements;
  12. Update the US 34—East of I 25 Access Control Plan as needed; and
  13. Develop the US 34—West of I25 Access Control Plan.

SUCCESS FACTORS:

The following elements have been identified as necessary for the PEL project to achieve its mission:

  1.  Agree upon a common regional vision for the corridor;
  2. Unite and support jurisdictions’ plans and priorities;
  3. Commit to early and open dialogue when there are changes in local land use and/or zoning;
  4. Collaborative and purposeful participation among Coalition members;
  5. Identify an agreed upon list of short, mid, and long term projects;
  6. Engage the public in a meaningful way;
  7. Identify the full range of potential funding options and opportunities;
  8. Document the PEL process to meet state and federal requirements and streamline future processes and implementation;
  9. Develop a flexible implementation plan that balances improvements based on needs, project delivery options and schedules, funding sources, and other phasing considerations; and
  10. Validate assumptions, develop, and update the existing US 34 Access Control Plan as needed, as well as develop a US34—West of I25 Access Control Plan.

Relationship to Other Transportation Projects and Plans

Numerous other plans and projects have been developed in the corridor and the US 34 PEL will respect, incorporate and leverage other corridor studies and projects. The US 34 PEL will incorporate the plans and projects including, but not limited to:

  1. US 34 Corridor Optimization Plan and Access Control Plan
  2. US 85 PEL Study
  3. US 85/US34 Intersection southeast Greeley – Spaghetti Junction
  4. Freedom Parkway, aka WCR 54 aka 37th Street aka SH 402 aka LCR 18.
  5. I-25 Environmental Impact Statement/US 34 ROD
  6. US 34 Business Environmental Assessment
  7. US 34 Environmental Assessment
  8. SH 402 Environmental Assessment
  9. Northeast Quadrant Study
  10. US 287/US 34 Access Plan
  11. NFRMPO 2040 RTP
  12. Other NFRMPO plans
  13. Other access control plans
  14. Local Comprehensive Plans
  15. Local Transportation Plans 

The US 34 PEL does not supersede any existing plans. The PEL is a tool to identify and communicate the common priorities among users within the affected jurisdiction, identify and fill gaps, develop alternatives, and position needed projects for funding.

The existing US 34—East of I25 Access Control Plan continues to govern access decisions in this part of corridor. While this effort may update, amend, or expand geographically the scope of the eastern Access Control Plan, the existing plan remains a legally binding document that controls access decisions along the corridor.

Jurisdictions agree to respect the plans of other jurisdictions in the PEL. The PEL will respect and incorporate jurisdictional plans into the analysis. The purpose of the PEL is not to approve jurisdictional plans, but to acknowledge them and determine how they best fit into the study area as a whole.

Study Area and PEL Alternatives

In order to get the most out of resources set aside for the PEL, this study will focus on mainline improvements on US 34.

  1. Parallel roads will be included in the traffic analysis; however alternatives will not be examined off US 34 (Glade Road to CR53) unless traffic studies demonstrate that a “major” improvement could be made to the mainline by addressing improvements on parallel routes. Data from the PEL that may be relevant to corridor community plans for parallel routes will be shared, and local studies on parallel routes would be provided for reference in the PEL.
  2. This study will consider previously planned and other feasible multi-modal options (e.g.,transit, bike and pedestrian options).
  3. Technological elements and the impact of railroad crossings along US 34 will be considered in addition to the mainline roadway improvements.

Prioritization Process

An agreed upon list of prioritized projects is a key desired outcome of the PEL. The PEL will have value if it can create actionable plans that lead to implementation (short, mid and long-term).

Prioritization means recommending alternatives that best meet corridor objectives as measured by agreed upon evaluation criteria.

Criteria and data will be developed and analyzed during the PEL to support the prioritization process. Evaluation criteria will be determined in collaboration with the Coalition. At a minimum, alternatives will be rated based on their ability to improve safety and mobility in the corridor, while balancing and supporting community values, such as economic vitality, aesthetics, and land use goals.

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