Blue Line Corridor – Project Connect

Photo Courtesy of CMTA- Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority

HNTB has served as environmental planning consultant for the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Capital Metro) Blue Line Corridor since 2019.  Capital Metro commissioned HNTB and its consultants to begin work to advance the implementation of the Blue Line Corridor, a pillar of this future system, with the initiation of an alternatives analysis and a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study for the corridor. The corridor plays a prominent role in current development trends in a region with high rates of population and employment.

During the Blue Line Corridor PEL process, the team used a phased approach structured as a tiered screening, where alternatives were defined, evaluated, and refined or eliminated in each step of the process. The Project Connect team continued to analyze ridership demand and the potential cost to fully understand the viability of high-capacity transit on this corridor.

The project team invited public and agency involvement and input on the Project’s purpose and need, proposed alternatives, potential impacts and benefits to consider during the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. One-on-one and small-group meetings were held with over 30 stakeholders near the Gold Line/Blue Line Corridor regarding project development and to solicit feedback. The team also conducted four rounds of formal public engagement to gather input at key points in the process and made a special effort to meet people in their communities. To accomplish this, the team attended community events, conducted outreach at transit stops, and implemented innovative strategies including online open houses and virtual community meetings when community members were unable to attend in-person public meetings.

The PEL report documents the NEPA early scoping process and stakeholder input, project purpose and need, the process by which Capital Metro developed and evaluated the alternatives, and describes the proposed Locally Preferred Alternatives (LPAs) to be advanced for further evaluation in the NEPA phase. It was completed in summer  2020 and the NEPA phase of the project commenced in early 2021.