Denver Public Works plans to add new Bus Rapid Transit to Colfax Avenue

by Jessica Vargas on August 3, 2017

The proposed Bus Rapid Transit design will provide better transit service and improve pedestrian safety along one of Denver’s busiest corridors


Last week, Denver Public Works released updated plans for improving overall mobility along Colfax Avenue as part of their Colfax Corridor Connections study and the design is a brand new one for the city. The proposed redesign of Denver’s historic main street now includes dedicated center-running bus rapid transit lanes, enhanced stations, and signal priority for buses at intersections. These changes would dramatically improve bus service by decreasing travel time up to 15 minutes along the most heavily-used route in the metro area.

In addition to improving speed and reliability for transit riders, this new street configuration also supports Vision Zero by shortening pedestrian crossing distances, providing a pedestrian refuge, restricting vehicular turning movements, and overall calming traffic on one of the most dangerous streets for pedestrians in the city. Crash data analyzed by the City as part of their Vision Zero efforts indicated that 14% of crashes between 2011 and 2015 involving pedestrians and vehicles occurred on Colfax Avenue.

The original design of the project was significantly revamped after input from community members and advocates called for 24-hour bus only lanes instead of the peak-period bus only lanes being proposed at the time. The lanes themselves were moved from the right lanes to the center, where they are much less likely to be blocked by parked or turning vehicles. RTD is partnering with the City on this study, which also proposes increasing bus frequency during peak hours with a bus arriving every three to five minutes.

Combining these service and infrastructure improvements will help meet the growing demand for safe and reliable transit service. BRT would connect people to jobs, services, and housing all over the metro area through connections to 3 RTD rail stations and 16 bus routes. BRT also provides an opportunity for investment along Colfax that would make it a more walkable and lively Main Street for the city. The proposed project list for the GO Bond that the City will be asking voters to approve this November includes $55 million for the Colfax BRT, which the City hopes to augment with additional federal funding. The City would then work on developing the final design and implementation plans in 2018-2019 and construction could start as soon as 2020. WalkDenver is excited to see this project move forward as it expands mobility options and advances the safety goals of Vision Zero.

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