By a majority of 74 percent, neighbors along Martin Luther King Boulevard east of Ironton Street have voted against having noise walls installed when MLK is extended to Peoria Street.
As those who drive Martin Luther King Blvd. from Havana to Peoria know, the “MLK Extension” project has been in delay mode. Because the project funding includes federal dollars, it must comply with a federal regulation that the residents in nearby homes vote on whether they want a noise wall.
Voting by affected homeowners and tenants took place the first half of July. The vote occurred in three separate segments by residents (homeowners and tenants) from Ironton to Moline. 84 of the 113 votes cast disapproved of the wall. In the Ironton to Kingston segment, the vote was 40 to 15 against the walls. The wall found least support among residents in the Kingston to Lima segment: 34 opposing, 5 in favor. Only in the eastern-most segment, Lima to Moline, was the vote close: 9 in favor, 10 against.
The project will now proceed to the final step of the environmental review process – a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) to be issued by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. Denver is accepting final comments on the “reevaluation” through August 8. Visit the Denver Public Works project website about the project at https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-department-of-public-works/projects/current/mlk-boulevard-extension.html.
Denver anticipates issuance of the FONSI this fall with final design plans complete and permits secured this fall and winter. Construction is slated to take most of 2018.
The $16 million project consists of constructing the following:Reconstruction and widening of the existing east/west portion of Havana Way from Iola Street to a future Moline Street intersection as a four-lane, median-divided arterial, and extension of Havana Way east from the future Moline Street intersection to the existing intersection of Peoria Street and Fitzsimons Parkway.
Reconstruction of the north/south portion of Havana Way as a two-lane collector street from MLK Blvd to 25th Avenue on a slightly different alignment to its intersection with MLK Blvd. This roadway would be renamed Moline Street.
Construction of a detached 10 to 12-foot wide, multi-use walk along both the east and west-bound sides of MLK Blvd to provide pedestrian and bicycle connectivity, and a five-foot equestrian trail adjacent to the multi-use walk on the north side along the Bluff Lake Nature Center frontage.
Installation of landscaping in the raised median and the tree lawn between the roadway and multi-use wall
Construction of a parking lane along the eastbound side of MLK Blvd.
Noise walls were identified during the project’s environmental evaluation as a feasible mitigation of noise impacts from the widening of MLK to a four-lane street. Homes impacted by noise from the roadway expansion are defined as those where sound would be reduced by at least five decibels as a result of wall construction. A short section of a demonstration noise wall was constructed on the south side of MLK just west of Kingston St. At a July 5th neighborhood meeting hosted on-site by Denver Public Works, affected neighbors expressed concern about blocked views, sidewalk shading, inconvenient detours for pedestrians and the potential for walls to attract taggers.