Better Bus Stops and Faster Trips Coming to RTD’s 15 and 15L East Colfax Lines

A rendering of what a future bus shelter at Colfax and Broadway will look like. Image: RTD.
A rendering of what a future bus shelter at Colfax and Broadway will look like. Image: RTD.

Over the next year, better bus stops and faster trips will come to transit riders who use the 15 and 15L East Colfax lines.

The Regional Transportation District will upgrade bus stops, add bus shelters and install safety upgrades at 37 bus stops on East Colfax between Broadway in Denver and I-225 in Aurora, the agency announced today at a press conference. Changes to the street will boost pedestrian safety and accelerate bus trips, too.

RTD’s East Colfax lines serve 22,000 riders per day, making it the highest-ridership corridor in the system, aside from the FreeMall Ride. The changes come to a route that hasn’t been revamped in decades.

RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova at a press conference held at the Carla Madison Recreation Center. Photo: Andy Bosselman
RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova at a press conference held at the Carla Madison Recreation Center. Photo: Andy Bosselman

“The 15L East Colfax Route Improvements Project is the first significant investment made to the 15L route in 30 years,” RTD General Manager Dave Genova said in a statement.

Construction will start next month and will continue until next spring.

The changes will include:

  • Bus shelters at 18 stops, including benches, improved lighting and security cameras
  • Bus stop upgrades at 19 stops
  • Passenger information screens at six stops
  • Five new traffic signals, each timed to speed up buses
  • New bypass lanes to allow buses move ahead of traffic
  • 11 new bulb-out curb extensions to enhance pedestrian safety
A rendering of a bus bulb-out.
A rendering of a bus bulb-out.

Officials designed the upgrades to complement Colfax Bus Rapid Transit, a larger project that has been planned but not yet fully funded.

Any improvements to the bus stop environment in Denver are welcome, but this project improves just 37 stops on one corridor. There are thousands of bus stops across a city where bus shelters are rare — and the few that exist are often dirty and poorly maintained.

The addition of six electronic passenger information screens is also good news. But it’s just a pilot project, highlighting RTD’s extraordinary lag in providing real-time arrival information at stops. 

As RTD embraces new tech partnerships with Uber, Lyft and driverless shuttle companies, which aren’t useful to most passengers, adding six passenger information screens is an important step. But this essential service, which has been around for two decades in many other cities, is an essential amenity that can help to boost ridership by answering what everyone waiting for a bus wants to know: How long do I have to wait? 

To complete the Colfax improvement project, RTD partnered with the Colorado Department of Transportation, the City and County of Denver, the City of Aurora, the Federal Transit Administration and the Denver Regional Council of Governments.

The project will make improvements to all 19 15L bus stops between Broadway in Denver and I-225 in Aurora. An additional 18 stops will receive upgrades along the 15 local.
The project will make improvements to all 15L bus stops on the nine-mile stretch between Broadway in Denver and I-225 in Aurora. Along the 15 local route, an additional 18 stops will receive upgrades.

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