[copperpress-advertserve-ad-reload zone="3"]
 January 1, 1998

‘Transit village’ options explored for 96h St. projects

BROOMFIELD — A 96th Street interchange developer is in discussions with Hilton and Marriott hotel executives to start building two new hotels next to U.S. 36 soon — possibly starting this summer.

Developer Rod Jones, executive vice president of the Midland Group, the St. Louis-based development company working on the project, declined to discuss how many rooms might be built.

The hotels, along with two “upscale” restaurants also in the Midland plan, the new FlatIrons Crossing mall and links to the growing Interlocken business park are all part of a “semi-urban transit village” plan.

The concept is designed to manage traffic with “jitneys,” or electric shuttle buses like those at Disneyland, and pedestrian walkways, says Tom Thorpe, a principal with Downing Thorpe & James, which is working on the plan.

Planners envision a transit center on land already purchased by RTD (planned on the northeast side of the 96th Street interchange) where drivers can park and take a shuttle bus to shopping, carpool to Denver, or walk on pedestrian “streets” to their destinations.

“It’s really a revitalization of a concept from a hundred years ago when the areas around street car stops and railroad stations were a lot higher density with shops, hotels and restaurants,” Thorpe said. “We’re approaching a time where alternatives become more popular.”

If current traffic statistics are any indication, the “transit village” plan for the 96th Street interchange area comes none too soon. Current daily traffic on the U.S. 36 corridor is 70,000 vehicles, Thorpe says. Total “congestion/build-out” capacity has been pegged at 100,000 cars per day, he says

“There will still be a great number of cars, but people will arrive without cars as it becomes more necessary,” Thorpe says. “It’s becoming more a mindset in the United States and certainly in Boulder County.”

At the same time, there will be plenty of parking for retail areas like FlatIrons Crossing.

There also may be 50 percent more density in the 96th Street interchange area than at suburban Park Meadows mall in southwest Denver, which is similar in size, Thorpe says.

What that means in terms of parking ratios: parking spaces probably will be built at a rate of three for every 1,000 square feet of development, Thorpe says, or one parked car for every 350 square feet. Broomfield currently uses a planning formula of one parking space for 300 square feet of office use, a fairly typical suburban formula, says Kevin Standbridge, Broomfield planning director.

The formula could be dropped to one space for every 200 square feet of retail space, which would mean five parking spaces per 1,000 square feet in parking lots around FlatIron Crossing, he says. In downtown Boulder the ratio is about half the norm, with one parking space for every 600 square feet (less than two spaces for every 1,000 square feet).

“There will still be all the parking there would normally be, but there will just be proportionally more development for the amount of parking available,” Thorpe says. “We’re not cutting out or strangling parking for any needs.”

A similar new, mixed-use development in Redmond, Wash., has been successful, although transit was not a big focus of planners there, said Judd Black, development review manager at the Redmond city planning department. Broomfield planners visited Redmond to see how parking and transit worked in the new development.

Redmond is a city of 42,000 near Seattle, home to Microsoft Corp.

“We are a growing community, but we wanted to keep the small-town atmosphere as much as we could,” Black said. “It’s very pedestrian-oriented, with storefronts on the outside. It’s a new downtown in the old-fashioned way.”

Parking spaces at what is essentially a new Redmond mall are at three and a half to five spaces per 1,000 square feet of space, or about the same or a little more than what’s proposed in Broomfield. Buses are available, but public transportation planning was tough, since transit planners didn’t want to create new routes until they knew what to expect, Black said.

Retail developers originally had asked for seven parking spaces per 1,000 square feet, but planners said no, Black said.

BROOMFIELD — A 96th Street interchange developer is in discussions with Hilton and Marriott hotel executives to start building two new hotels next to U.S. 36 soon — possibly starting this summer.

Developer Rod Jones, executive vice president of the Midland Group, the St. Louis-based development company working on the project, declined to discuss how many rooms might be built.

The hotels, along with two “upscale” restaurants also in the Midland plan, the new FlatIrons Crossing mall and links to the growing Interlocken business park are all part of a “semi-urban…

[copperpress-advertserve-ad-reload zone="3"]

Related Content

[copperpress-advertserve-ad-interstitial zone="30"]