Want Great Bus Service on East Colfax Ave? Tell the City Not to Water Down BRT.

A rendering of what Colfax BRT will look like at Downing Street. Image: DPW
A rendering of what Colfax BRT will look like at Downing Street. Image: DPW

If they’re loud enough, a small group of people can sabotage transportation projects that would benefit the entire city. To prevent that from happening, supporters of good transit and safer streets need to speak up for these projects, and the time to speak up for bus rapid transit on East Colfax Avenue is now.

Colfax BRT is the most important transit project in the city, and Denver is planning to do it right. The city’s concept calls for repurposing the center of the street as a 24/7 busway. Transit riders will get faster trips and better stations, shielded from the elements. It’s exactly the type of transit-priority project the city should be pursuing as it grows.

But the center-running version of the project is not guaranteed. Colfax BRT could be diluted into slower, conventional bus lanes.

The eventual outcome will depend a lot on an extensive public process, starting with a Denver Public Works survey.

A typical cross-section on East Colfax Avenue after the redesign. Image: DPW
A typical cross-section on East Colfax Avenue after the redesign. Image: DPW

We’ve seen that your voice does carry weight. DPW began re-imagining Colfax as a better transit street in 2012. For a while it looked like the street was destined for rush-hour bus lanes that shared space with cars at all other times — Transportation Director Crissy Fanganello called it “BRT lite.” But feedback from residents (and Streetsblog) pushed the department to upgrade the project so it truly prioritizes bus service.

It takes about 10 minutes to fill out the survey. DPW will craft a more detailed design and create an implementation schedule next year, with construction planned for 2020.

  • TakeFive

    Quoting my recent self:

    What about that Colfax BRT?
    Today’s affirmative vote from transportation GO Bonds will really help move the ball forward.

    But talk about cost creep, the Colfax BRT which started out as a $125 million project is now up to around $165 million. But that’s OK. Presumably a lot of the increase is from changing project scope to now utilizing Centerline running designated lanes instead of side-running. Being Denver’s first BRT project it will be the showpiece for others that follow and it needs to be done right, not cheap. Just as the yuge success of the SW LRT Line led to the passage of FasTracks, Colfax BRT needs to be a well-received bellwether.

    • TakeFive

      For a while it looked like the street was destined for rush-hour bus lanes that shared space with cars at all other times…

      I don’t care about that; that’s just being ideologically obsessive. If they were to stay with side-running lanes, RTD’s own analysis showed that total person trips were much better with peak period only dedicated lanes. Pretty sure that Seattle who’s waaay ahead of Denver with respect to ‘enhanced’ bus routes only has peak period dedicated lanes. Exclusivity may be needed with center-running lanes though, not sure?

  • BillK

    Thanks for telling us so we can leave comments to kill this insane idea.

    Colfax SHOULD be car-centric, always has been and should remain so.

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