What’s Going On at Diagonal Crossing

That’s the triangle bordered by the Diagonal, Foothills Parkway, Independence Road, and 47th Street, which is being dug up now:

The site has been considered for years. This is the 5th project to be proposed and the first to be approved by the City. It’s an interesting combination:

  • 108 affordable units
  • 250 market-rate units
  • 20 Naropa faculty-housing units
  • 2 studio lofts
  • office space for two non-profits: Studio Arts and Meals-on-Wheels
  • a non-profit restaurant run by Bridge House

This is what the project will look like:

Note that “DIAGONAL HWY.” as labeled in the picture is not the road you drive on when you take the Diagonal to Boulder. You’re already on Foothills Parkway by the time you get to Diagonal Crossing.

Boulder needs housing, especially affordable housing, and this project provides both, on one of the few big lots still available in Boulder. But, naturally, what Gunbarrel people care about is the traffic impact on them. One indirect impact is that people in 378 units of housing won’t be driving past Gunbarrel to their work in Boulder, which would be the case if they lived in Longmont or Erie.

But more directly, what about the residents of Diagonal Crossing? There’s no direct access to Foothills Parkway (what you’re actually on if you think you’re on the Diagonal going towards Boulder once you pass Jay Road). That is, if you drive the Diagonal to Boulder, nobody from Diagonal Crossing is going to get in your way until you get past Iris Ave., and that’s a small fraction of the traffic you’re in at that point.

If you leave Boulder on Iris Ave. to merge onto the Diagonal, you’ll drive right past Diagonal Crossing, and my guess is that they’ll be a light at Independence or maybe just northeast of it. But this road is extremely underutilized now and can easily handle the new traffic.

(As an aside, it’s amazing to me that people taking Iris Ave. to the Diagonal struggle to merge onto Foothills just before Jay Road, not realizing that there’s a dedicated lane just for them, and that they don’t have to merge until they clear the light at Jay.)

Most people who live at Diagonal Crossing and want to go to Boulder will turn right onto 119 and continue onto Iris Ave., perhaps making a left on 30th St. or 28th St. Some might take 47th St. Some might want to go the other way on the Diagonal, to Gunbarrel or Longmont, but that won’t add to rush-hour traffic, because it’s a reverse commute. That is, northeast in the morning, and southwest in the evening, opposite to the way most traffic goes now.

That’s by car. The property is already very well served by bike paths, and that’s an easy commute to many places in Boulder, such as Google. I’d guess there will be bus service, too.

Anyway, this development is positive for Gunbarrel, if you assume that more housing is needed, which you surely do if you have any children. (Did you plan for them to live in their cars?) With all those new offices in Boulder, any new housing between us and Boulder keeps the density where it belongs, and avoids additional clogging of Gunbarrel roads.

If you want to read about the project in detail, especially the affordable housing part, here’s a PDF.

Restaurant openings… and a closing

First, Blackjack Pizza has closed in Gunbarrel. Plenty of other places in Boulder or Niwot to call to get a pizza delivered or to pick one up, just not as close. Proto’s┬áis still here, of course, and if you want something for home, you can get one of their’s half-baked.

Now for the openings: