Funding the future of Santa Fe

Littleton leading an effort on PEL study

Traffic on Santa Fe

In partnership with the other cities along the corridor, Littleton is taking a leading role in planning for the future of Santa Fe Drive from C-470 to I-25. Santa Fe is a major regional transportation corridor in the Denver metro area and through Littleton, it carries over 50,000 vehicles a day. Over the last few decades, the southwest metro area has grown up around Santa Fe. All that new traffic has both positive and negative challenges while adding to increased levels of congestion and traffic volumes; the corridor is also a hub for economic development and job creation.

The City of Littleton is working with several partners on a Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) study. A PEL approaches transportation decision making through lenses that consider environmental, community, and economic goals early in the planning stage and carries them through project development, design, and construction. The effort usually occurs before any identification of project construction funding, and before classification of specific problems and solutions. A PEL study is intended to lead to better decision-making and reduce duplication of efforts in the planning, development, and implementation of projects.

The objective for this specific effort is understanding the communities along the corridor, how the transportation system currently functions, how it impacts communities, and what can be improved now and in the future. A series of alternatives would be developed to address corridor needs. The ability of these alternatives to meet the corridor’s needs are evaluated and considered, along with the effects on the communities and environment. The process also engages key components such as accessibility and multi-modal planning for bikes and pedestrians.

After the PEL study is complete, CDOT and local agencies will have a documented set of projects and an implementation plan, which will be used to identify funding for design and implementation. The PEL’s resulting “set of projects” will serve as a bucket-list of improvements that will be implemented over time as funding becomes available. Implementation of highest priority locations comes first, but the goal would be to eventually implement all of the projects identified in the PEL as conditions warrant and as funding becomes available.

Littleton is at the front end of the efforts to begin a PEL with other agencies in the area and CDOT. The project will likely begin in 2018.