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Archive of posts filed under the Pedestrians category.

You Can Be a Sidewalk Champion!

by Jill Locantore, WalkDenver Policy Director

Sign up today to help us build the momentum of the Denver Deserves Sidewalks campaign.

Imagine if you were responsible for filling the potholes in the street in front of your house. Not only would this policy place a significant financial burden on your household, but your ability to drive around safely would depend on other homeowners filling the potholes in front of their houses too. As ridiculous as this policy sounds, it is Denver’s current approach to sidewalk construction and maintenance. As a result, many Denver neighborhoods have missing, substandard, or deteriorated sidewalks, which makes it very difficult to get around safely on foot!

WalkDenver’s Denver Deserves Sidewalks campaign calls upon the City and County of Denver to assume responsibility for building and repairing sidewalks, and to establish a dedicated funding source for this purpose. To date, more than 2,200 individuals have signed the petition (online and hard copy), and nearly 30 organizations have provided letters of support. City Council has responded by establishing a Sidewalk Working Group, chaired by Councilman Kashmann, which will meet for the first time on January 27, 2016.

Now we need YOUR help to keep the momentum of Denver Deserves Sidewalks going and clearly demonstrate to City Council that residents want the City to provide this most basic infrastructure. The Sidewalk Champion Toolkit outlines several different ways you can help us get the word out and gather more petition signatures and support letters.

Your actions will not only help your neighborhood and your city become a more beautiful, walkable, and equitable place, but will also earn you great WalkDenver rewards!

  • Sign up to become a Champion and get a WalkDenver sticker!
  • Take one action from the Toolkit and get a WalkDenver tote bag!
  • Take three actions from the Toolkit and get a WalkDenver t-shirt!

Sign up today!


The Future Transformation of Wynkoop and 21st Streets

Wynkoop in LoDo and 21st Street in Arapahoe Square are very different urban streets. Wynkoop is resplendent with Victorian-era brick warehouses, strong urban form, an attractively streetscaped public realm, and civic icons like Denver Union Station. 21st Street? Surface parking lots and a largely incoherent urban form are the street’s defining characteristics. However, Wynkoop and 21st Street actually have an important attribute in common: neither are through-streets that provide vehicular connectivity beyond their extents, as both streets are capped at both ends by landmarks. Wynkoop terminates at Cherry Creek on one end and at Ballpark Plaza on the other. Similarly, 21st Street stops at Coors Field on one end and at Benedict Fountain Park at the other. This situation makes Wynkoop and 21st Street excellent candidates to be transformed into high quality bike/ped streets while still providing modest vehicular access.

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Diagram courtesy City and County of Denver.

Last night I and about 100 others attended a public meeting held by Denver Community Planning and Development and their planning consultant AECOM to review preliminary plans for such a transformation. Some of the big ideas include a two-block park within the 21st Street right-of-way near Larimer, converting Wynkoop in front of Union Station into essentially an extension of Wynkoop Plaza, creating a signature bike trail along both streets that could form the start of a bigger downtown loop, and reconfiguring the Broadway/21st Street intersection to provide a major mid-block bike/ped crossing of Broadway.

For more information, check out the city’s webpage on the project, and definitely check out David’s excellent overview at Streetsblog Denver.


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.

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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.

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


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:

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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:

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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:

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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!