The MMT 2040 Plan and Transit Through ONEN

June 17, 2016

The bus move to Nevada through the Old North End is the first step in MMT’s 25-year (2040) plan to make Nevada Avenue a core corridor between downtown and UCCS. There is a meeting on Monday, June 20, 2016, between 6:00-8:00 pm at the First United Methodist Church, 420 N. Nevada Ave., Fellowship Hall (in the basement, use north entrance off St. Vrain). Here are the details:

City of Colorado Springs Chief of Staff Jeff Greene invites you to participate in a Neighborhood Meeting regarding bus service on North Nevada Avenue from Jackson to Uintah. Council Member Jill Gaebler and City transit staff will also be in attendance. Please come prepared to present your recommendations or suggestions for solutions to some of the issues that have been raised. This meeting will address transit issues and is not intended to be a forum for discussing the safety-sizing of Old North End Neighborhood streets in general, as that action has been suspended for the time being.

ONEN feels the 2040 plan violates the ONEN Master Plan as described in this earlier post. ONEN urges you to attend this meeting to learn more about the MMT 2040 plan and voice your opinions. The SOS Nevada group and the ONEN Transit Committee will also make presentations.

Keep reading to learn more about the 2040 plan. To skip ahead to a preview of the recommendations of the ONEN Transit Committee, click here.

2040 Plan

The transit portion of the 25-year (2040) plan gives us more detail of the near- and far-range goals to provide the anticipated need for public transit. Nevada Avenue has already started to feel this impact as MMT started the first phase of this plan on May 1st with 15-minute bus service and widened hours that establishes North Nevada Avenue as a core corridor for transit services connecting UCCS to downtown.

The 2040 Transit Plan was published in July 2015 by the Transit Services Division. This defines core corridors on p. 80 and in Figure 5.2…

Academy Boulevard, Nevada Avenue, Platte Avenue, and US 24/Colorado Avenue have been defined as core corridors, which are characterized as services with operating the high frequencies and wide service spans.

Services that operate along these corridors would be largely prioritized for service frequency increases and time span expansion earlier in the plan’s horizon.

…MMT started the near-range implementation of this plan on Nevada Avenue on May 1, 2016, including 15-minute service, expanded hours, and added weekends. But are they trying to service the ONEN and Patty Jewett Neighborhoods with this core corridor? Maybe, but as a secondary goal. Also on p. 80…

A system like Mountain Metro requires a suite of services providing different roles. Core services, while important in linking to major destinations in the service area, rely on a supporting network that provides adequate service coverage within the existing service area—as a majority of passengers do not begin or end their journey within walking distance to Core corridors. Thus, a network of Intermediate corridors, have been identified to provide an improved level of service coverage and frequency (at a lower priority than Core corridors) to provide the needed connections to neighborhoods and destinations not close to Core Routes. Based on these route classifications, a preferred route network concept was developed to provide direction on how the proposed network would operate and guidance for improving service over time.

…This may help explain why MMT feels 2-blocks to Bon Shopping Center is close enough. In order to establish a core corridor, the travel time must be minimized and the bus frequency must be maximized. This makes the entire bus system more efficient, but it does not particularly serve the best interests of the neighborhood or the people who ride the bus to reach the local amenities.

ONEN Transit Committee Short-Term Plan

The ONEN Transit Committee thinks there is a better way. Why not take the two routes that together make up the 15-minute service down Nevada Avenue (Route 9 and Route 19) and split them down Cascade and Wahsatch Avenues? The Cascade bus can be an express service to minimize the travel time since there are very few amenities along Cascade Avenue. The Wahsatch bus can be a local bus to serve the Bon Shopping Center and several other amenities along its path. Each of these buses will have 30-minute intervals, which is much more reasonable for residential streets through historic districts. The committee feels this will better serve the patrons that require the services within the neighborhood while creating a new express route to act as MMT’s core corridor. Together they create 15-minute service between UCCS and downtown. Finally, this plan fits the ONEN Master Plan.

Move one bus route to Cascade Avenue (blue) as an express service (remove bus stops marked with with blue pins). Move other bus route to Wahsatch Avenue (yellow) as a local service past the Bon Shopping Center and other local businesses (red pins) using existing bus stops (yellow pins)
Move one bus route to Cascade Avenue (blue) as an express service (remove bus stops marked with with blue pins). Move other bus route to Wahsatch Avenue (yellow) as a local service past the Bon Shopping Center and other local businesses (red pins) using existing bus stops (yellow pins)

2040 Long-Term Goals

The 25-year Transit Plan goes on to describe what measures could be implemented if the volume of passengers exceeds the capacity if the initial phase. p. 93…

Consider High-Capacity Transit
As services and ridership improve and mature over time, there will be opportunities to consider higher-capacity transit services. The immediate plans are focused on:

  • Supporting increased ridership and service levels back to and beyond pre-2009 conditions
  • Expanding the system’s market to capture more riders through its current bus services

Higher-capacity transit services should be considered when ridership grows to support cost-effective transit services at 15–minute frequencies or better on Core services. For instance, there may be opportunities to operate limited-stop express services to improve travel times for longer-distance trips within the service area. Particularly along corridors with higher levels of congestion, bus priority measures could be implemented (e.g. queue jump lanes, dedicated transit lanes) to improve the speed and reliability of services operating on the corridor. Finally, as ridership capacity becomes limited with the operation of conventional 40’and 60’, there are further opportunities to explore higher capacity technologies. The appropriate technologies are likely enhanced bus or BRT, but higher capacity technologies including streetcar and light rail should be considered for comparison.

These could include core corridors such as Academy Boulevard, Nevada and Cascade Avenues, Colorado Avenue, Platte Avenue, etc.

A focus should be provided on implementing the complete street’s visions developed for Academy Boulevard based on the Academy Boulevard Corridor Great Streets Plan completed in 2011. Multiple corridors may require enhanced transit to create stronger mobility and connectivity. However, the focus should first be on continuing to develop the base level of service across the transit system (high frequencies and operating hours). As the transit service grows, enhanced (high capacity) transit could be further considered on:

  • Academy Boulevard
  • Nevada Avenue
  • Cascade Avenues
  • Colorado Avenue
  • Platte Avenue

MMT has already requested City traffic to add a dedicated transit lane to Nevada Avenue (The ONEN Board of Directors rejected that idea). So what are these other things? 60′ buses? “enhanced bus” or BRT? Streetcar? Light Rail?

Sample 60-foot Bus
Sample Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
Sample Modern Streetcar
Light Rail in Denver
Light Rail in Denver

I think it is clear that this type of transit vehicle does not belong on residential streets through an historic district. It is certainly obvious to MMT that Nevada Avenue (or any of the ONEN streets) cannot sustain the long-term goals of a core corridor. These types of vehicles clearly belong on the I-25 corridor. Here is what ONEN feels is appropriate for long-term transit goals through our residential streets and historic districts…

Colorado Springs Historic Trolley

Please join the ONEN Transit Committee on Monday, June 20th to meet with Chief-of-Staff Jeff Greene and MMT staff to discuss these issues.


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