Fixing Denver Transit: Making It Easy to Walk or Bike to the Station

Fine-grained street grids with plenty of intersections make walking to a bus stop easy. Larger, disconnected street grids, not so much. The disconnected street network in Northeast Park Hill could more than triple the walk distance to transit, compared to Capitol Hill. Image: City and County of Denver
Fine-grained street grids with plenty of intersections make walking to a bus stop easy. Larger, disconnected street grids, not so much. The disconnected street network in Northeast Park Hill could more than triple the walk distance to transit, compared to Capitol Hill. Image: City and County of Denver

Transit doesn’t do people much good if it’s hard to get to. And in much of Denver, getting to RTD buses and trains by walking or biking isn’t exactly easy.

It doesn’t help that the city is missing sidewalks on a quarter of its streets. But another big problem, according to the Denveright “State of the System” report, is that street grids in too many neighborhoods are too disconnected to be walkable even if they have perfect sidewalks:

When deciding whether to use transit, one of the most important factors people consider is the distance to a transit stop. What matters for the traveler is not the straight-line or “as the crow flies” distance but rather the actual walking distance using the available streets and paths. A lack of street connectivity — longer block lengths and fewer intersections per square mile — can make it less convenient to access transit and can deter people from using transit.

Neighborhoods with walkable street networks — Congress Park and Capitol Hill, for example — have between .28 and .36 intersections per acre, and according to the Denveright report, those neighborhoods “show a higher than average percentage of residents that commute by transit.”

In less walkable neighborhoods like Northeast Park Hill and Stapleton, there are only between .03 and .15 intersections per acre.

Highways and rail tracks also form barriers to walking and biking access in several areas:

  • Several neighborhoods north of the A-Line do not have easy access to stations because of I-70.
  • Railroad crossings at the Alameda and I-25/Broadway stations make it “nearly impossible” for walkers and bikers to access the stations from the west side of the tracks.
  • I-25 makes it inconvenient to use the Colorado, DU, Louisiana-Pearl, Yale, Bellview, and Southmoor stations — unless you’re in a car.

The report includes maps that indicate the area within walking distance of rail stops, as well as bike connections to transit.

Image: City and County of Denver
West central. Image: City and County of Denver

Check out the full report for six more rail access maps.

Catch up on Streetsblog’s Fixing Denver Transit series with our posts about the shoddiness of Denver’s bus stops, the lack of dedicated bus lanes on city streets, and the need for fairer fares.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Tuesday’s Headlines 5/11/21: It’s official – Lyft and Lime to bring bike and scooter share to Denver

|
Denver, RTD, and the Metro Area Denver to Launch New Bike and Scooter Share Program This Week (DOTI) City Council gives Lyft and Lime sole control of Denver’s bike-and scooter-share market, rezones Loretto Heights for redevelopment and more (The Denver Post) Denver City Council passes resolution to allow only 2 scooter operators (9 News) ‘Bird’ […]

Monday’s Headlines 5/10/21: News from the Weekend

|
Denver, RTD, and the Metro Area Man Killed In Lakewood Hit-And-Run (CBS Denver) Denver crash kills 1, sends 3 to hospital (KDVR) Motorcyclist dies after crash with vehicle in Aurora (The Denver Post) Demolition of the I-70 viaduct to start this month (The Denver Post) Residents of Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood sue to stop legal […]

Todays Headlines 5/7/21: Putting Santa Fe on a full road diet

|
Denver, RTD, and the Metro Area I-70 is back open following deadly motorcycle crash Friday morning (KDVR) Denver Street Changes and Putting Santa Fe on a “Full Road Diet” (Westword) Transit & Safety Improvements Coming to Stretch of Lincoln Street (DOTI) RTD establishes guiding principles for providing future service – seeks feedback on next steps […]
Danny Katz speaking to KMGH Channel 7

Today’s Headlines 5/5/21: How a new emphasis on safer streets could drive big change in Colorado

|
It’s National Bike to School Day! Learn more about how Colorado celebrates the day here.  From Streetsblog Commentary: How a new emphasis on safer streets could drive big change in Colorado (Streetsblog Denver) Wednesday’s Headlines Add Some Perspective (Streetsblog USA) How (And Why!) to Repeal ‘Jaywalking’ Laws (Streetsblog USA) Denver, RTD, and the Metro Area […]