Skip to content

Blast from the Past: Grant Park

Today’s Blast from the Past is for our friends in Uptown, where another anti-urban surface parking lot may soon be replaced with apartments, as we recently reported at DenverInfill. That new building will go in next to Grant Park, which was under construction in this photo from 10 years ago this month, May 5, 2006 to be exact.

2016-05-20_bftp_grant-park

Grant Park, an 8-story condominium development, opened a year later.


Denver Union Station Expands Bicycle Infrastructure

It’s taken a while since the July 2014 opening of Denver Union Station, but Denver B-cycle is finally back at the city’s busy transit hub. There was a small B-cycle station under the overhang near the south entrance to the historic station, but that was removed when construction on the project began. What took so long for B-cycle to return to Union Station? From what I understand, it definitely was not because B-cycle didn’t want to return, but more a matter of regulatory red tape with the city and RTD. Nevertheless, Denver B-cycle is back at Union Station, and back in a big way!

We recently covered the new bike/ped improvements at 17th and Wynkoop that included enhanced bike lane striping, pedestrian crosswalks, and painted bulb-outs with bollards. As part of those improvements, the curb lane along the plaza side of Wynkoop between 16th and 17th was also reconfigured. Previously, most of that block’s curb lane featured 2-hour metered parking spaces for private automobiles. Now, the half block closest to 17th Street provides a much-needed 5-minute passenger loading zone available to both private motorists as well as ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, while the half block closest to 16th Street provides space for bicycles and car-sharing services. It is here where the second-largest of Denver B-cycle’s facilities at Union Station is located: a new 21-dock station! Here are a few photos from very early on the morning of the A-Line launch:

2016-05-13_dus-bicycle-1 2016-05-13_dus-bicycle-2

2016-05-13_dus-bicycle-3 2016-05-13_dus-bicycle-4

In addition to the new B-cycle facility, two new 5-hump bike racks were also installed in the Wynkoop curb lane near 16th Street:

2016-05-13_dus-bicycle-5 2016-05-13_dus-bicycle-6

Finally, the last couple of spaces closest to the Wynkoop/16th Street intersection have been reserved for eGo CarShare and car2go.

These new bicycle facilities on Wynkoop Street complement the existing bike racks in Wynkoop Plaza itself, which are often in high demand like we see here from last Friday:

2016-05-13_dus-bicycle-7

Also, a few of these were installed on the sidewalk on the LoDo side of Wynkoop Street:

2016-05-13_dus-bicycle-8

On the opposite side of the historic station is the other new Denver B-cycle facility: a 30-dock station located directly adjacent to the Wewatta Pavilion by the commuter rail platforms, along with a bunch of additional regular bike racks:

2016-05-13_dus-bicycle-9 2016-05-13_dus-bicycle-10

The remaining major piece of bicycle infrastructure to be added at Denver Union Station is the proposed Bike Hub at Tail Tracks Plaza. Hopefully, that will be installed sometime later this summer.

2016-05-15 edit: The number of docks at the Wewatta Pavilion B-cycle station has been corrected. It’s 30 docks, not 15!


Denver Urbanists Unite! MeetUp #18 Coming May 25, 2016

Mark your calendars! Denver Urbanists MeetUp #18 will be held at McLoughlin’s Restaurant and Bar (map) on:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
5:30 PM

Since our last get together in March, the A-Line to Denver International Airport has opened and three more FasTracks lines will open before 2016 ends. Yay! But what about better intra-city transit? BRT on Colfax? Streetcars on Broadway? What about improved transit to Cherry Creek? Highlands? Let’s talk transit at MeetUp #18 and make connections and build relationships so we can work together to advocate for a more urban Denver!

2016-05-07_meetup18

Where do we go from here?

In case you’ve never been to a Denver Urbanists MeetUp before, we have three rules: 1. Put on a nametag, 2. Get your own food/drink, 3. Have fun meeting and talking to people!

You don’t have to register to attend, but by RSVPing on our Eventbrite page, you’ll get on our mailing list and receive email notification for future meetups. DenverUrbanists MeetUps are free.

See you on May 25!


Blast from the Past: MCA Denver

In this edition of our Blast from the Past series, we have a photograph from February 7, 2007 of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver under construction at the corner of 15th and Delgany, just a block away from Denver Union Station. The MCA Denver was designed by British architect David Adjaye and adds a nice cultural element to the mix of offices, residences, and hotels in the booming Union Station district.

2016-05-06_bftp_mcad-construction

The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver opened in October 2007.


RiNo Infrastructure Part 5: Delgany Festival Street

Up next in our series examining the infrastructure investments supporting the River North area’s transformation as a thriving mixed-use arts district: Delgany Festival Street. Previously we’ve looked at RTD’s 38th & Blake Station followed by Part 1: 35th Street Pedestrian BridgePart 2: 38th Street Pedestrian Bridge, Part 3: Brighton Boulevard Reconstruction, and Part 4: River North Park.

The Delgany Festival Street is a new city street planned for where Delgany Street would be between 33rd and 35th streets. However, 33rd Street in this part of RiNo doesn’t exist, so a short stretch of 33rd Street will also be built as part of the project. Let’s get you oriented with the location of the new 33rd Street and Delgany Festival Street:

2016-05-01_festival-street-aerial

Proposed alignment for 33rd Street and Delgany Festival Street. Background image: Google Earth

(Note: Currently, the proposed street is referred to on all the city documents I’ve seen as just “Festival Street.” I doubt that will be the street’s final name as it would be inconsistent with the city’s street-naming convention. So for now, I’m calling it “Delgany Festival Street” until an official name is finalized.)

Why isn’t there a 33rd Street on either side of Brighton Boulevard? What happened to Delgany southwest of 35th Street? While we’re at it, where is 34th Street? It all goes back to subdivision plats and right-of-way vacations and other fun planning things. Time for a little history…

In addition to the Ironton and St. Vincent subdivisions, the other subdivision that contributed a small part to the RiNo urban fabric was Case and Ebert’s Addition of 1868—Denver’s first subdivision outside of downtown. A small part of Case and Ebert’s extended north of the railroad tracks, but the only streets platted in this area were Wynkoop and short sections of Wazee, 29th, 30th, and 31st. Not included were 32nd, 33rd, or 34th streets, as large iron mills and foundries occupied the space where these streets would have gone.

2016-05-03_case-eberts-plat-map

Case and Ebert’s Addition of 1868 plat map. Source: City and County of Denver

By 1871, the expansion of the Denver Pacific Railway grounds caused all of these streets except for 31st Street to be vacated, as the city engineering quarter-section map below shows.

2016-05-03_ne-044_quarter-section-map

City Engineering Quarter-Section Map NE-044. Source: City and County of Denver

As part of the Ironton 1st Addition, a short segment of 34th Street was platted between Delgany and Chestnut, but south of Delgany, 34th was never laid out due to a large wedge-shaped exclusion in the subdivision’s southwestern boundary. The subdivision map below also shows that Delgany between 34th and 35th—the northeastern part of the new Delgany Festival Street—was platted, but Delgany never existed southwest of 34th.

2016-05-02_ironton-1st-addition-plat-map

Ironton 1st Addition of 1881 plat map. Source: City and County of Denver

In 1953, these two short street segments where RiNo Park and the Delgany Festival Street will be built were vacated by the city:

2016-05-02_NE045-quarter-section-map

City Engineering Quarter-Section Map NE-045. Source: City and County of Denver

OK, let’s get back to the future!

According to Public Works documents, the new 33rd Street will have one 11.5-foot wide lane in each direction with 5-foot-wide sidewalks, special 6-foot-wide storm water planting beds for landscaping and water quality, and an 8-foot-wide parking lane on the northeast side. Delgany Festival Street will be narrower, with one 10-foot lane in each direction and shallow mountable curbs that blur the distinction between the street and sidewalk, for a total right-of-way width of 29 feet. The corner of 33rd and Delgany Festival Street will eventually tie in with Arkins Court and the proposed River North Promenade, the next project to be featured in our RiNo Infrastructure series.

The city’s plan is to pave the Delgany Festival Street in asphalt, but the neighborhood’s vision for the street as a public space demands a better paving material than asphalt, so the River North Art District is working on funding to upgrade the paving to concrete.

As the word “festival” implies, this is a street that will feel like an extension of River North Park and can be closed down for special events. On the south side of the proposed street is the new home of Great Divide Brewery where the design of their Phase 2 project (featuring a Beer Garden and Tap Room overlooking the proposed River North Park) will integrate with Delgany Festival Street to create a lively public space.

2016-04-17_rino-park-existing-conditions-6

Future site of the Delgany Festival Street looking southwest from 35th Street. Great Divide Brewery is on the left and the future River North Park will be on the right.

Along the north side of Delgany Festival Street southeast of River North Park, a proposed townhouse development is in the works. More about that project coming soon to DenverInfill.

Work on the new 33rd Street/Delgany Festival Street project should begin in the fall 2016.


17th and Wynkoop Receives Ped/Bike-Friendly Upgrades

Now that the A-Line to Denver International Airport is up and running, the number of people passing through Denver Union Station has increased. This is making the corner of 17th and Wynkoop—the historic station’s downtown-facing portal and popular tourist photo-taking spot—busier than ever, with bikes, cars, taxis, pedicabs, tour buses, delivery trucks and pedestrians seemingly navigating the intersection at the same time. This slow but continuous dance of people and their transport machines gives the corner an urban energy that reflects the vitality of the Union Station district and Downtown Denver. However, the standard crosswalks, bike lanes, and other design and regulatory elements in place at the intersection were too minimal, confusing, ineffective and/or biased in favor of the automobile.

In fall 2015, my fellow Union Station Advocates board members and I decided to push for pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements to the 17th and Wynkoop intersection in anticipation of the A-Line launch and the other FasTracks lines opening later this year. We held a public meeting and spread the word about the issue, as described in my post from last October, 17th and Wynkoop: Downtown’s Most Important Pedestrian Intersection? Fortunately, Denver Public Works shared our views on this and put a rapid-response team in place to plan, design, and implement a package of high-visibility, lower-cost improvements for the intersection in just a couple of months! Public Works was very responsive and great to work with—particularly planner Riley LaMie who led the planning effort—and, just in time for the A-Line opening, 17th and Wynkoop has been upgraded to a much more pedestrian/bike-friendly intersection. Here are a few before-and-after shots:

Wynkoop crosswalk:

2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-former-condition-1 2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-new-condition-1

17th and Wynkoop south corner:

2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-former-condition-2 2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-new-condition-2

Bike lane Wynkoop Plaza side looking southwest:

2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-former-condition-3 2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-new-condition-3

Bike lane Wynkoop Plaza side looking northeast:

2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-former-condition-4 2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-new-condition-4

Wynkoop crosswalk:

2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-former-condition-5 2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-new-condition-5

The new crosswalks are certainly more visible, and the painted bulb-outs with bollards significantly shorten the pedestrian crossing distance. The new painted bulb-outs also prevent cars wanting to make a right turn from illegally using the parking lane as a right-turn lane by squeezing between the sidewalk/curb ramp and cars stopped in the through lane. The project also included new parking-lane signs that clearly designate passenger loading zones along the Wynkoop Plaza side of the street:

2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-curb-signs

Despite these new signs and street markings, motorists still find ways to do dumb things, like stopping right in the middle of the bike lane to let passengers out…

2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-streetfail-1

…or stopping half in the bike lane, half in the traffic lane, for the valet parking…

2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-streetfail-2

…or driving on the bike lane between traffic and the parked cars:

2016-04-29_17th-wynkoop-streetfail-3

I took those last three photos within minutes of each other. #streetfail #streetfail #streetfail

Nevertheless, these are wonderful improvements that clearly communicate that pedestrians and bicyclists have the priority at the intersection of 17th and Wynkoop!

Shouldn’t every intersection in the city look this good?


FasTracks Progress: Denver Airport Station

With RTD’s A-Line now complete, we were finally able to take photos of the Denver Airport Station as it is now open to the public. We’ve had a couple of posts previewing the station but today, we are going to look at the actual platforms in detail.

First up, the glass canopy that covers the station. It’s big, unique, and beautiful. The glass ceiling will completely shelter passengers going in and coming out of Denver International Airport.

2016-04-27_ALine-04 2016-04-27_ALine-14

When looking out of the station, you will notice that there is a large empty space with some multi colored landscaping. This is room for expansion for things such as high speed rail. However, there are no plans for what this space is going to be used for at the moment.

2016-04-27_ALine-15 2016-04-27_ALine-09

In the case that four car trains are used, like this past weekend, there is some additional shelter for passengers outside of the canopy. It really is a beautiful sight seeing two four-car trains parked at the station.

2016-04-27_ALine-11 2016-04-27_ALine-08

This doesn’t wrap up our coverage of the A-Line. Stay tuned for a final recap on the whole project with some more new photos!


Post A-Line Coverage Preview

Yesterday was a wonderful day for RTD and the Denver metro area. I just wanted to share a few photos with you of the Denver Airport Station as a preview for what’s to come this next week. The station is truly beautiful!

2016-04-23_DIA-01 2016-04-23_DIA-02

What an amazing sight from the platforms.

2016-04-23_DIA-03

I hope everyone is enjoying the celebrations going on today along the A-Line. As a reminder, the whole rail system is free today!


RTD’s A-Line is Officially Open!

After six years of construction, our rail connection from Downtown Denver to Denver International Airport is finally here! The A-Line will be one of Denver’s greatest transit assets as it provides a quick, reliable, and simple connection to Downtown Denver for travelers and visitors from all around the world. Congratulations RTD, Denver Transit Partners, and all of the other teams that put their hard work into this line!

received_1759476320934690-01

The A-Line will be free until 9pm today, and will have 15 minute headways.