Addressing Community Needs with Complete Streets
North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative | Mobility Master Plan
The North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative area consists of all or portions of the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Cole, Clayton and Five Points neighborhoods. These neighborhoods have a rich history of making fundamental contributions to the city. Recently, these neighborhoods have been experiencing rapid growth and development.
As part of the NDCC effort, the city and county of Denver created the Mobility Master Plan in March 2016 that was led by HDR. The plan included developing layered multimodal transportation networks within these complex and historic neighborhoods to make travel easier and more convenient for people walking, biking and taking transit.
The HDR team identified key missing or challenging transportation connections and developed innovative solutions that would address not only the NDCC efforts with the city, but also the needs of each unique community within the project area. In doing so, the team used four overall measures to assess potential projects effectively: mobility and access, sustainability and livability, safety and economic development. At the same time, a new mobility framework had to be established while ensuring that the recommendations would fit within existing standards and processes with the city.
HDR had to think outside of the box given the complexities that already existed in the area. The neighborhoods are crisscrossed by two major interstates, I-25 and I-70, with numerous railroad tracks throughout. The HDR team used a geographic information system (GIS) to understand barriers in the neighborhoods and identify new connections across them.
HDR specifically looked to prioritize projects that increased person-trip capacity through the network rather than vehicle-trip capacity. This put an extra emphasis on projects that help build the low-stress bicycle network in the area, complete the sidewalk network and create safe connections to existing transit in the area.
The heart of the plan is a prioritized list of more than 100 multimodal transportation projects for implementation over the next five to 10 years. This includes a mobility and urban design guidance document that outlines the preferred cross-sections and urban design elements the city and community would like to see in new development projects throughout the area.
Projects that are currently being implemented in the area include:
- Brighton Boulevard Corridor Redevelopment
- 47th Avenue and York Street Grade-Separated Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossing
- Champa Street Buffered Bike Lane (recently completed)
Other projects included in the plan to take place in the near future include:
- 38th Street multimodal reconstruction and underpass improvements from Brighton Boulevard to Walnut Street
- A new controlled pedestrian and bicycle crossing at the 40th Avenue and Milwaukee Street intersection, creating an additional safe walking and biking connection to Bruce Randolph Middle School
Drew Parker is a transportation planner with experience in multimodal roadway planning and facility design, and pedestrian and bicycle safety analyses. He has worked on projects including network visioning, corridor studies, roadway design, safety studies and traffic analysis. Drew is currently involved in planning for the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative Area. He wrote this article for Western Planner, the journal for western planning, where it was originally published on February 14, 2018. It is reprinted here with permission.