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Archive of posts filed under the Infrastructure category.

FasTracks Progress: Commuter Rail – Full Speed Ahead!

Starting back in April, the commuter trains along the ‘A-Line’, now known as the ‘University of Colorado A-Line‘, started to run unassisted from Denver Union Station to Denver International Airport. Now, the trains are full speed ahead with 79 mph testing underway.

DenverUrbanism got a sneak peek of the testing at Union Station. The new Silverliner V commuter trains are a lot different than the Siemens light-rail vehicles we are all used to seeing. The Silverliners go faster, have more storage, hold more passengers, and offer level boarding. The commuter lines also have less stops to their end destination, and go farther than current light-rail lines.

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Why the sandbags? You can’t just test an empty train and hope for the best when its packed full of airport-goers and commuters. The sandbags are a good human weight analog for simulating a packed train. We also caught two commuter rail cars parked under the canopy. What a good day!

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As of today, there are only 153 days left until the commuter line to the airport opens (Grand opening is April 22nd, 2016). We are incredibly excited!

New Enhanced Crosswalks Installed on Speer Boulevard

Have you seen the new enhanced crosswalks recently installed at a couple of key intersections along Speer Boulevard near the Auraria campus? Here are some photos I took of the new crosswalks at Speer and Lawrence just after they were installed a couple of weeks ago:



Nice! As you can probably tell, those are not real inlaid bricks but rather it’s a thermoplastic material that’s been applied to the asphalt. These enhanced crosswalks are also a few feet wider than the standard variety and were installed in mid-October along Speer Boulevard at Lawrence, Larimer, and Wewatta streets. This is test project for Denver Public Works to see how well they improve pedestrian visibility and safety.

These enhanced crosswalks could be a possible short-term solution for improving pedestrian safety at 17th and Wynkoop, as discussed in our recent post and at Streetsblog Denver. To learn more about pedestrian safety around Denver Union Station, please attend the public meeting on November 4 at 5:30 PM at Wynkoop Brewing’s Mercantile Room at 18th and Wynkoop.

Lawrence Street Protected Bike Lane Includes Floating Bus Stops

Exciting news, Denver ped/bike advocates! As part of the new Lawrence Street protected bike lane project, a new floating bus stop is being installed at the corner of Lawrence and 16th Street. Here’s a photo from Friday:


Protected bike lane with floating bus stop under construction at 16th and Lawrence in Downtown Denver, October 2015.

The new bike lane will run between the sidewalk and a new bus stop island that’s “floating” in the street separated from the curb. This creates a much safer environment as it allows bicyclists and buses to avoid weaving around each other near bus stops. Pedestrians, however, must cross the bike lane to get to the bus stop island, so both bicyclists and pedestrians must proceed with caution. To help with that, “Ped Xing”, “yield arrows”, and “zebra-stripe crosswalk” markings will be installed within the bike lane, and “Look!” markings will be installed on both sides of the pedestrian crosswalk ramps, as shown below:


Look! crosswalk markings will be installed at floating bus stops along Lawrence Street in Downtown Denver. Source: City and County of Denver

Floating bus stops of similar design will also be installed at the 18th/Lawrence and 20th/Lawrence intersections.

These aren’t the first floating bus stops in Downtown Denver. They are used in several locations along RTD’s free Metroride route.

It’s great to see Denver is finally stepping-up its game when it comes to more progressive and legible ped/bike/transit infrastructure within the city’s public rights-of-way!

Arapahoe and Lawrence Street Protected Bike Lanes Under Construction!

Work has begun on the installation of protected bike lanes on both Arapahoe and Lawrence Streets in Downtown Denver! This represents significant progress in providing dedicated, safe, and legible infrastructure for a sustainable and popular mode of transportation in our urban core. These are big projects, stretching from the edge of the Auraria Campus at Speer Boulevard to 24th Street in Curtis Park. That’s a little more than a mile for each street.

For information about these projects, check out these links:

Denver Public Works:

BikeDenver Blog:

David at Streetsblog Denver covered this project extensively back in August:

For those of you who enjoy reading civil engineering drawings (I know you’re out there!) and want to see some of the nitty gritty of what these lanes will look like, here are links to download PDFs for the Signing and Striping Plans (90%) for Arapahoe and Lawrence. Disclaimer: I got these from and they are the 90% design, which is not 100%, so there will be some minor differences between these drawings and what gets built. But 90% is close enough to give you a good idea of what these lanes’ designs will look like.

These will also be the first protected bike lanes in Downtown that use, for some of the blocks, on-street parking as the buffer between the vehicle travel lanes and the bike lane plus a 4-foot extra buffer with the little vertical bollards. Here’s a diagram from the BikeDenver blog:


Finally, I will leave you with some nice photos of the beginning of the restriping work, thanks to DenverUrbanism reader Mike H. Thanks, Mike!


Beginning installation of protected bike lane on Arapahoe Street. Photo courtesy of Mike H.


Beginning installation of protected bike lane on Arapahoe Street. Photo courtesy of Mike H.


Beginning installation of protected bike lane on Arapahoe Street. Photo courtesy of Mike H.

This is exciting to see, and many similar projects will hopefully follow in the near future!

Fastracks Progress: Overhead Catenary System at Denver Union Station

Since I was a kid, overhead wires have always made my infrastructure senses tingle. This all makes sense because I grew up very close to these wonderful pylons running right down East Jewell Avenue in Aurora.


Source: Google Street View

Some, like myself, don’t mind seeing overhead wires, whereas others aren’t so fond of the visual clutter. But, enough about your friendly DenverUrbanism contributor’s personal childhood and opinions. Denver’s new visual infrastructure comes right to Downtown’s backyard: Union Station.  Let’s take a look at what’s going on under the commuter rail canopy!

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Installation of the overhead catenary system under the canopy has commenced, adding the last piece to making this beautiful station fully operational.

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Can you imagine how great this view will look with the new commuter rail trains running through it next year?


The real exciting visual, however, is just north of the canopy. These large, overhead catenary wires mean serious business and will serve three commuter rail lines pulling into Union Station!

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This post might seem silly and filled with my likings towards overhead wire systems but remember, without these systems in place, our commuter rail system would cease to exist.