Moving “Beyond Traffic” in the Broadway/Lincoln Corridor

by Jill Locantore on February 4, 2016

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Proposals focus on placemaking and safety for all road users

Article by WalkDenver Policy Committee member, Jenny Niemann

Last week, the City hosted a second Community Workshop for the Denver Moves Broadway / Lincoln project. This exciting project envisions a new way for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers to move through the Broadway and Lincoln corridor. Proposed designs include placemaking strategies to improve the pedestrian environment throughout the corridor, a two-way cycle track on Broadway, and changes to automobile travel lanes.

City planners are working to make changes to Broadway and Lincoln that will help the corridor respond to the rapid population growth in Denver and the evolving land uses of the corridor. Refreshingly, the City’s approach doesn’t focus on “solving” congestion; it draws instead on an approach advocated by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, of looking “beyond traffic.” The highest priority of the project is to provide a safe travel experience for all modes. This focus on safety is a welcome change to the way we think about our streets, consistent with the growing Vision Zero movement and the goal of zero traffic fatalities.

Speed is a major culprit in traffic crashes, and drivers often exceed the posted speed limit on wide, multi-lane roadways like Lincoln and Broadway. To improve safety for all road users, proposed reconfigurations will encourage drivers to slow down through design changes like narrower lanes on Lincoln and curb extensions or “bulb outs,” which also reduce the street crossing distance for pedestrians.

Livability is another important goal: the project suggests many placemaking solutions that would create a more lively environment for all users, especially pedestrians. These treatments include painted intersections, increased use of vegetation, pedestrian gathering places, and enhanced, colorful crosswalks, illustrated in the pictures above and below (click to embiggen).  You can check out placemaking ideas and provide comments about what you like and don’t like on the project website.

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This public process, the focus on safety, and the placemaking solutions proposed are all examples of the City taking pedestrian travel seriously. It would be fantastic to see this approach applied to other key corridors in Denver that pedestrians rely on, but that are currently auto-dominated and therefore less safe and livable for all travelers.

The City is actively seeking feedback from residents, and is accepting comments until February 12, 2016 at noon. Submit your comments today in support of a better pedestrian environment on this key corridor!

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