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The Mall Experience Study – Call for Research Volunteers

The City and County of Denver and the Downtown Denver Partnership—along with world renowned architecture firm Gehl Studio—are leading the Mall Experience study to elevate the 16th Street Mall to become a better place for people and help it reach its fullest potential as a premier destination in the heart of Downtown Denver. As part of this study, the DDP is seeking passionate individuals with an interest in cities this summer to conduct observational studies which will help inform future changes and investments along the 16th Street Mall.

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Follow the link below to learn more detail about this study effort and to sign up for research position time slots

DDP Research Study Information Page

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This is a great way to have fun this summer and help improve Downtown Denver too!


Blast from the Past: Denver Union Station

Exactly six years ago today, this was the status of the Denver Union Station transit project (click/expand to view in full 2400 px width):

On June 1, 2010, excavation was in full swing on the western half of the underground bus concourse. Visible in the center of the photo behind the historic station is the old light rail station, mall shuttle terminus, and Amtrak platforms. A temporary support wall is in place along the edge of Wewatta Street. (Note how HUGE that dirt pile is by comparison to the workers on top of it!)

This was approximately the 6-month mark of construction on the 54-month Union Station project.


Join the WalkDenver Data Challenge May 31-June 14!

Improving Denver’s pedestrian infrastructure (sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, etc.) is critical as more and more people rely upon walking as part of their daily routine. Making those pedestrian improvements in an efficient and prioritized way requires data. However, Denver doesn’t collect data on sidewalk conditions because the City doesn’t maintain or repair sidewalks. Denver property owners do. In other words, there is no equitable, citywide, proactive program for sidewalk maintenance and repair in Denver.

Our friends at WalkDenver have been working hard for several years to change that situation.

WalkDenver is launching a two-week-long WALKscope Data Challenge to collect sidewalk and crosswalk condition data across the city from May 31 – June 14. We need your help! You may even win $1,000 for your neighborhood in the process! All of the details are available on the WALKscope Data Challenge web page.

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WALKscope is an easy-to-use tool you use on your smartphone to collect and submit sidewalk and crosswalk data. Admit it: you walk around staring at your smartphone anyway, so why not do something helpful for your community while you’re at it?


Blast from the Past: Denver Justice Center

In May 2005, Denver voters approved the construction of the Denver Justice Center, a three-building facility (courthouse, detention facility, and parking garage) built along West 14th Avenue between Delaware and Fox streets in Denver’s Civic Center district.

Construction began on the parking garage in the fall of 2006 with work on the courthouse and detention facility commencing in the summer of 2007. In this photo taken on April 12, 2008, the courthouse (left) and detention facility (right) are starting to go vertical.

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The complex would open as the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse and Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in the summer of 2010.


RiNo Infrastructure Part 6: River North Promenade

So far in our RiNo Infrastructure series, we have taken a look at RTD’s 38th & Blake Station followed by Part 1: 35th Street Pedestrian BridgePart 2: 38th Street Pedestrian Bridge, Part 3: Brighton Boulevard Reconstruction, Part 4: River North Park, and Part 5: Delgany Festival Street. In this post, we will review the proposed River North Promenade.

The River North Promenade is essentially a redesign of Arkins Court between 29th and 38th Street into a pedestrian-oriented promenade. The promenade has been divided into three zones, each representing a different conceptual design. Here’s a Google Earth aerial showing the current condition and the project’s extent:

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This map shows the same area as above with the project’s three character zones. All of the exhibits below are courtesy of the City of Denver and landscape design consultants Wenk Associates, and are conceptual in nature. They are not final designs.

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A description of each zone:

Let’s explore each of these zones.

The Urban Residential zone extends from 29th Street to approximately 32nd Street. The “Urban Residential” name relates to the adjacency of several proposed multi-family housing projects, such as the Industry Apartments. In this section, Arkins Court would continue to provide access for motor vehicles, but with a rebuilt street offering one travel lane in each direction, on-street parking, and a pedestrian promenade ranging from 20-30 feet in width.

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Key features of this zone may include a River Overlook and a Linear Park:

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In the middle is the Park/Open Space character zone from 32nd Street to 35th Street. This zone’s main design influence is the proposed River North Park (visit that post for renderings). A feature here may include a Boxcar Garden:

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To the east is the Mixed-Use/Entertainment character zone from 35th to 38th Street, where adjacent residential, office, and restaurant land uses would help activate this stretch of the promenade. One idea for this zone is to integrate a café into the promenade design:

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The city and the local property owners recently identified funding to begin the preliminary (30%) design for the promenade. No funds have been secured yet for the construction of the promenade, but finding a way to pay for the project is a priority for RiNo stakeholders and the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative. Some sections of the promenade may be built in conjunction with adjacent new private-sector developments.

Here is what Arkins Court looks like today:

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Next in our RiNo Infrastructure series: the RiNo Pedestrian Bridge over the South Platte River.


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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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

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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:

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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!

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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.

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The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver opened in October 2007.