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Archive of posts filed under the Multi-Modal Transport category.

Rethinking the Broadway-Lincoln Corridor

by Jenny Niemann

At last week’s Denver Moves Broadway public workshop, the City presented a range of options for transforming the Broadway/Lincoln corridor into a safer, more livable place, while improving mobility for all modes. This corridor has been the focus of many City plans. Most recently, the Golden Triangle Neighborhood Plan envisioned Broadway as a “Grand Boulevard.” This workshop sought feedback on alternatives for implementing that neighborhood vision through a redesign of the travel lanes on both roads and placemaking throughout the corridor.


One of three proposed design alternatives presented by the City. Image courtesy of Denver Public Works.

The City offered three different roadway design alternatives that would provide a protected bike facility on the corridor by removing a lane of traffic on either Broadway or Lincoln. Based on current traffic counts and speeds, City planners assert that Broadway could handle losing a travel lane without much increase in congestion. Providing more space for bikes creates the sort of multi-modal environment that is good for pedestrians, too: removing a lane of traffic and narrowing travel lanes will slow down travel speeds and reduce the distance pedestrians must go to cross the street.

Detail of proposed placemaking elements. Image courtesy of Denver Public Works.

Detail of proposed placemaking elements. Image courtesy of Denver Public Works.

The most interesting part of the workshop was the presentation of placemaking concepts for every block of the corridor. Despite the great mix of shops, restaurants and bars along the corridor, the speeding cars and huge space devoted to them don’t contribute to a welcoming place to walk. Proposed placemaking strategies would provide many more amenities for pedestrians and anyone who wants to enjoy the corridor. Enhancements included curb extensions, or bulb-outs, to reduce crossing distances, parklets, landscaping, enhanced crosswalks, and traffic calming. Pedestrians were clearly the focus here: planners envision pedestrian gathering spaces, activation of surface parking lots fronting the road, and a pedestrian-oriented alley.

Example of a curb extensions that shortens crossing distance. Image courtesy of Denver Public Works.

Example of a curb extensions that shortens crossing distance. Image courtesy of Denver Public Works.

I was encouraged to see the workshop recorded videos of residents talking about their experiences in the corridor, and what they hoped to see in the future. The videos will be compiled to communicate the community’s goals for the corridor. We can hope that residents’ videos will end up providing additional support for making Broadway and Lincoln streets that work for everyone.

If you missed the meeting, you can still learn about the project and provide feedback through a website the city created for the project. Go here to learn more about the project’s background and goals, see the information presented at the workshop, and provide feedback. Submit comments about the design alternatives by November 30, 2015.


Jenny Niemann is a WalkDenver Policy Committee member and a MURP/MPH graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver

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!

Union Station’s Newest Public Space: Tail Tracks Plaza

The last of the new public spaces at Denver Union Station is nearing completion. Known as Tail Tracks Plaza, this new public space fills the gap between the newly completed Triangle Building (recently profiled at DenverInfill in Part 1 and Part 2) and the EPA Region 8 headquarters building. The gap is the old Wewatta Street right-of-way where Wewatta used to run between Delgany and Wynkoop streets before Union Station was built in 1881.

Here’s a Google Earth image from October 2014 with Tail Tracks Plaza’s location outlined in yellow:


Why is it called Tail Tracks Plaza? Because until the recent transit infrastructure construction, the historic railroad tracks behind the station building merged into a “tail” that crossed 16th and 15th streets and terminated at Cherry Creek. Here’s a Google Earth image from December 2002 showing the tail tracks crossing 16th Street and merging into a singe track that crossed 15th Street. In this image we also see the Gates building under construction and the old Postal Annex building before its demolition.


The tail tracks were removed in May 2010.

Tail Tracks Plaza is not yet open to the public, but will be soon. As part of my Triangle Building tour, we checked out the plaza where workers were putting in the finishing touches. Here’s a view from roughly the middle of the plaza looking towards 16th Street. The bold stripe of colored pavers commemorate the historic tail tracks:


The side of the Triangle Building facing the plaza contains a canopy-covered patio space for restaurant outdoor seating. In the past few days since I took this photo, the canopy structure has been painted a dark grey color to match the Triangle Building’s ground-floor granite and steel elements:

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Near the 15th Street end of the plaza are some big swings for kids and adults to enjoy. The swings can fit two people and are destined to become a favorite photo-taking spot for tourists and locals. The swings are supported by railroad tracks that have been curved and welded together for structural strength; a mechanism at the top prevents the swing from swinging so far as to bump into the neighboring swing but still allows a good three to four foot swing motion in both directions.

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Tail Tracks Plaza was designed by Design Workshop. During my tour, a couple of my Design Workshop friends stopped by to check out the swing installation:


The other major feature of Tail Tracks Plaza that hasn’t been installed yet is the Bike Station at Denver Union Station. For details about the bike station and the services it will offer, check out our blog post from December 2014. It’s being developed by a non-profit group that has been raising funds over the past year or so. Installation of the light station structure, which will sit on top of the plaza’s stone pavers, should begin within the next few months and be open by the time warmer weather returns in 2016.

The bike station will sit near the 16th Street end of the plaza against the short retaining wall on the right in the image below:


There are the latest renderings, courtesy of East West Partners:



We will visit Tail Tracks Plaza again in the spring after the Bike Station is open. The plaza itself should be open for public enjoyment later this month.

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!