Two-Way Conversion of 18th Street in LoDo Opens

This past Sunday, November 2, Denver Public Works completed the conversion of 18th Street between Wynkoop and Blake Street in Lower Downtown to a two-way street.

The conversion of these two blocks from one-way to two-way traffic is an important step in helping make Lower Downtown into an even more pedestrian-friendly district. One-way streets exist primarily as a way of maximizing the movement of vehicles through an area, but they also force people to have to drive farther to get where they are going and they also encourage people to drive at faster speeds. One-way streets certainly have their place in the city, but speeding vehicles pose a threat to pedestrians and bicyclists; consequently, one-way streets are not desired in pedestrian-focused areas like around Denver Union Station. As evidence, simply compare your experience as a pedestrian along slower-speed, two-way Wynkoop Street versus the faster-speed, one-way Blake Street.

The 2000 Lower Downtown Neighborhood Plan identified 18th Street between Wynkoop and Blake as one of several one-way streets in LoDo to be converted to two-way. Others included Wazee Street between 15th and 20th, converted a few years ago, which has greatly improved Wazee as a pedestrian-friendly street.

Here are a few photo (courtesy Ryan Dravitz) of the newly-converted 18th Street on Sunday afternoon shortly after the conversion work was complete:

View from Wynkoop looking southeast toward Downtown:

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View from Blake looking northwest toward the Union Station area:

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View from Wynkoop Plaza of the 18th and Wynkoop intersection:

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Overview of the two-blocks of 18th Street between Wynkoop and Blake with the integrated bicycle lane and MetroRide station.

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Space provided for pedestrians, bicycles, cars, and transit—a nice multi-modal street!

By | 2016-12-27T20:04:23+00:00 November 3, 2014|Categories: Bicycles, Infrastructure, Motor Vehicles, Pedestrians, Transit|Tags: |18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Mike November 3, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Nicely done!

    Only complaint, the bike lane is not in a good location for left turns onto Wynkoop.

    • UrbanZen November 3, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      The bike lane actually becomes a left/right turn lane onto Wynkoop. Granted, the bikers that actually wait for the light to turn green will have to watch for the MetroRide and people going to/from the IMA garage, but I don’t foresee a lot of traffic conflict.

  2. Rob November 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Just shut down the street and build condos where the road was. That’s what’s going to happen in 5 years anyhow. I don’t know why we have to waste taxpayer money painting lanes and reconstructing pavement when the road is going to turn into gridlock anyhow.

    In fact, let’s just sell the whole LoDo corridor to real estate developers and let them build whatever they want without any foresight. Oh wait, that’s already happening.

    • Jeff November 3, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      What are you talking about? It’s two blocks. This will be better for the pedestrian, cyclist, AND driver. That intersection at 18th and Wynkoop was really weird and didn’t work very well with a STOP sign anyway. Now there’s a traffic signal. This is such a miniscule expenditure of tax money.

      Design review in Lodo is pretty stringent since its a historic district. The cheap looking stuff (apartments) are in Riverfront, Prospect, Lohi, Ballpark, etc. There are literally no condos being built downtown. Yea its a lot of cheap and bland looking architecture but its bringing much needed units to market. Hopefully that will bring prices down or at least keep them in check.

      Compared to most cities, driving through Denver is a breeze.

    • Bryan November 7, 2014 at 9:38 am

      I’m not sure I understand this…at all Rob. Who do you want to develop land in denver? 99% of structures are built by developers…also, LoDo has many layers of design review, and there is a ton of foresight built into the new zoning code.

  3. Lance Newcomb November 3, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I prefer the 1-way streets. Both as a driver and pedestrian.
    It makes crossing the street MUCH safer as you only need to focus on one direction.

    Now instead of a 3 lane street with efficient traffic flow, its choked down into a one lane path where everyone will be fighting to travel and anyone tring to parallel park will jam flow completely.

    • Jeff November 4, 2014 at 9:10 am

      precisely, choking flow slows down traffic.

    • mckillio November 5, 2014 at 7:26 am

      Statistically speaking, two-way streets are safer to cross than one-ways.

      • Lance Newcomb November 5, 2014 at 2:26 pm

        Thats only because 2-way streets greatly outnumber 1-way.

        • mckillio November 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm

          That doesn’t make sense. For one the difference in number is taken into account. Two, even if it weren’t you would expect that since there is a greater number of two-ways that there would be more accidents on them. I will say that there has been some research that finds that what I’ve read is false and vice versa.

          • Brent November 11, 2014 at 11:41 am

            Why not just post the research you keep anonymously citing? “Two-way streets are safer because i read it was” isn’t a very powerful argument.

      • Brent November 7, 2014 at 10:11 pm

        98% of all statistics are made up.

      • Brent November 7, 2014 at 10:15 pm

        Statistics are like women; mirrors of purest virtue and truth, or like whores to use as one pleases.

  4. Larimer November 4, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Larimer between Broadway and Downing switched to two-way traffic 3 years ago now – and the amount of retail that has popped up on the corridor is unbelievable, with much more to come. Perfect example of why this works.

  5. Walker November 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    It appears that parking has been eliminated along portions of 18th. That has a very adverse impact on the pedestrian experience. Parked cars provide an important physical – and therefore psychological – buffer from the street to pedestrians. And a skimpy little bike lane does not do the job. For more on this, check our Jeff Speck’s book “Walkabout City”, pp. 181-183. And, those big turn lanes reveal that it is still very much an automobile-centric planner in charge.

    • Jeff November 5, 2014 at 11:03 am

      I agree with what you say here, and that is a great book. However, I think Speck would support this measure. In a perfect walking world, every street would have trees, parallel parking, interesting and uninterrupted building wall, etc. Sometimes you can get several but not all.

      This is certainly not going to have a net “adverse impact,” but instead a very positive net impact for pedestrians. It’s another step in the right direction (pun intended).

  6. Troy November 5, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I happened to hit this stretch (and further East) on my bike seemingly as it opened Sunday and what a joy it was to ride. Chutes and Ladders meets bike lane. What I mean is the bike lane bends around the the bus loading zones and this ups the fun factor. And the green paint tells my Dutch bike its arrived home. Dank je.

    • Richard November 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      I would love to see the entire bike lane painted green and not just at intersections.

Comments are closed.