New Report: East Colfax Walk Audit

by Jill Locantore on August 18, 2016

Provide input on improving the pedestrian realm along Colfax by taking the Colfax Ave BID survey.

East Colfax Walk Audit Report Cover

Article by friend of WalkDenver, Kevin Carder

Denver’s East Colfax corridor has the potential to be a walker’s paradise. It is lined with some of Denver’s most beloved and edgy shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, and concert venues. Its location near downtown, the presence of walkable and historic residential neighborhoods to the north and south, plus its status as the busiest bus corridor in the city all mean it is usually teeming with pedestrians. Together, these factors should (and nearly do) result in a vibrant, 24-hour, walkable neighborhood.

Colfax Irish Snug

Unfortunately, between all the great destinations and sidewalks filled with pedestrians lies a vast chasm of cars – a five-lane-wide state highway that makes crossing the street a potentially life-threatening experience. In addition, sidewalks that lack trees, landscaping, seating and other amenities create a barren and unpleasant streetscape that is unbefitting of Colfax’s otherwise diverse and energetic atmosphere.

Colfax Ogden Theater

Despite some exciting developments happening along the corridor that promise to improve this situation – newly painted intersection murals, the City’s bus rapid transit (BRT) planning efforts, the Colfax Ave Business Improvement District’s (BID’s) ongoing work to develop a streetscape master plan, and more – there is clearly a lot of work to be done to realize Colfax’s huge potential to be a great street that is safe and welcoming for all users.

To that end, WalkDenver, in partnership with the Colfax Ave BID, is excited to publish the East Colfax Walk Audit Report, which analyzes the pedestrian realm along the stretch of East Colfax between Grant and Josephine, and the immediately adjacent blocks to the north and south. The report first presents data collected by CU Denver Master of Urban and Regional Planning students in the Fall of 2015 via WalkDenver’s mobile sidewalk and intersection data collection tool, WALKscope. It then summarizes pedestrian, bicycle, and traffic counts, bus ridership, and crash data to understand how the East Colfax corridor currently serves (or rather doesn’t serve) all travel modes. A few key findings from this analysis include:

  • The pedestrian realm along East Colfax Ave suffers from unsafe traffic speeds, intersections that lack crosswalks, long crossing distances (five or more lanes at almost every intersection), a lack of a buffer between the sidewalk and the street, and a lack of trees or quality landscaping.

Colfax btw Ogden and Corona

Typical pedestrian conditions along Colfax

  • Roughly one third of the total volume of people moving along the East Colfax corridor are walking, biking, or riding the bus, and this proportion is expected to increase with the planned implementation of bus rapid transit (BRT).

Volume by Travel Mode Infographic

Average daily volume by travel mode (click to embiggen)

  • The vast majority of crashes involving pedestrians (89 out of 105) within the study area from 2012 to 2015 were located along Colfax Ave. Most (73) resulted in injuries, and one resulted in a fatality. The intersection with the most pedestrian-involved crashes was the awkward five-way intersection at Colfax, Park Ave, and Franklin St.

Colfax Park and Franklin Intersection

Awkward and dangerous intersection at Colfax, Park, and Franklin

Based on these and other findings detailed in the report, WalkDenver recommends the following actions to improve pedestrian access to destinations along the East Colfax corridor.

  1. Provide additional trees and quality landscaping along Colfax.
  2. Enhance pedestrian crossing treatments at all signalized intersections along Colfax.
  3. Add additional signalized pedestrian crossings along Colfax at Emerson and Vine/Gaylord.
  4. Redesign the intersection of Colfax Avenue, Franklin Street and Park Avenue.
  5. Reduce the number and width of lanes along Colfax wherever possible.
  6. Use low-cost, interim design strategies.


Example of Enhanced Pedestrian Crossing Treatments
(Source: NACTO Urban Street Design Guide)

Colfax-Park-Franklin Proposed V1

Potential redesign of the intersection of Colfax, Park, and Franklin

These recommendations are described in more detail at the end of the report. Findings and recommendations from the report will help inform the Master Streetscape Design Plan that the Colfax Ave BID is developing. You can provide your own input on improving the pedestrian realm along Colfax by taking the Colfax BID survey.

WalkDenver and our partners welcome any feedback on the East Colfax Walk Audit report, and we hope you will stay tuned for updates on the exciting events and efforts that are gradually transforming Colfax Ave into a truly great place for pedestrians.


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: