The Larimer Streetscape project in Downtown Denver that’s been under construction since last summer is now complete. For an overview of what the project entailed, check out these posts from July and November 2010.

Here are a few photos from last week showing the widened sidewalk on the 1500 block of Larimer along side Writer Square. The photo on the right shows how pedestrians can now walk on the street-side of the Writer Square parking garage exit ramp:

The new widened sidewalks and bulb-outs at 16th and Larimer:

Another interesting feature of the Larimer Streetscape project was the chance to come up with a design solution for improving the crosswalks with the 16th Street Mall’s granite pavers. As you may know, the City and the Downtown Denver Partnership recently completed a comprehensive plan for rehabilitating the granite pavers on the Mall and improving other aspects of the Mall’s design and operation. Part of the 16th Street Plan addresses two crosswalk-related issues: 1.) widening the crosswalk ramps to the full width of the crosswalk to eliminate any curb drop-offs for disability-access reasons, and 2.) devising a design for installing bulb-outs (in granite) at the Mall’s intersections with the cross streets. Both were accomplished at Larimer.

Here are two photos that demonstrate the problem. The photo on the left below (16th & Stout) shows a typical curb ramp on the Mall that doesn’t span the entire width of the crosswalk. The photo on the right shows that issue, plus what happened when the city removed a traffic lane from Arapahoe Street adjacent to Skyline Park and expanded the sidewalk a few years ago. When the new widened sidewalk reaches the intersection with the Mall it just awkwardly ends, as at that time there was no comprehensive design solution to tie it into the granite paver/crosswalk ramp system on the Mall.

The new Larimer Street improvements show us the solution that meets ADA requirements yet maintains the design integrity of the Mall’s granite pavers:

Eventually, once a funding source has been identified to pay for the Mall’s rehabilitation and construction has been completed, all of the Mall’s crosswalks will have a similar bulb-out and expanded design.  Good stuff.