WalkDenver Tells CDOT, DPW, Residents Where West Colfax Must Change

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Why West Colfax is dangerous and uninviting. Image: WalkDenver

This summer WalkDenver and the West Colfax Business Improvement District proved that residents need — and deserve — a people-friendly West Colfax Avenue. Advocates transformed the street for one day with temporary materials to illustrate the possibilities. For that day, at least part of West Colfax prioritized people as much as it did cars, creating a safer street and a better climate for local businesses.

WalkDenver collected a lot of data. They combined it with historical stats about crashes, bus users, and pedestrian counts, and yesterday released recommendations for where and how the street needs to change most.

CDOT and DPW supported the demo, but will have to take a leading role in any permanent transformations. WalkDenver made three primary recommendations and several others for decision makers to consider. Here they are.

1. West Colfax and Lowell Boulevard

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Image: Google Maps

Problems: The intersection has no signalized crossings and “is a hotspot for accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles,” according the report, which used crash data from 2010 through 2014. Neighborhood residents, many of whom ride the bus along the busy transit street, identified Lowell as a north-south route that needs to cater more to walking and biking.

RecommendationsAdd crosswalks, a median island refuge, bulb-outs on the south side of Colfax (where there is a parking lane), and traffic signals and/or pedestrian activated signals.

2. West Colfax and Utica Street

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Image: Google Maps

Problems: The intersection does not have any traffic signals for cars or people, and also lacks any crosswalks (save the temporary ones pictured). Utica is a block from Colfax Elementary and will see an influx of people walking after new businesses like Little Man Ice Cream open. Neighbors identified Utica as a route to Sloan’s Lake that needs biking and walking infrastructure.

Recommendations: Add crosswalks, a median-island refuge, bulb-outs on the north side of Colfax, and traffic signals and/or pedestrian activated signals.

3. West Colfax and Knox Court

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Image: Google Maps

Problems: WalkDenver prioritized the intersection because of the high rate of crashes in the vicinity. Nearby Cheltenham Elementary and Knox Station attract a lot of pedestrians young and old, yet the street is dangerous to cross.

Recommendations: The West Colfax BID is already advocating for a striped crosswalk and low-cost versions of bulb-outs involving paint, large planters, pots or rocks to separate people from traffic. The unnecessary left-turn lane means there’s room for a median refuge too.

These are just the top three recommendations. West Colfax needs a lot more love than that, and it’s documented in WalkDenver’s full report.