The redesign of Washington Street will give Globeville a new main street

by Jessica Vargas on March 8, 2018

Washington Street is envisioned in the Globeville Neighborhood Plan as “an attractive corridor that creates a positive sense of place, attracts private reinvestment, and better accommodates all transportation modes.” Currently, however, the street suffers from inconsistent and poorly maintained curb, gutter and sidewalk, leading to unclear definition and separation between vehicular travel and pedestrian space. Multi-modal connectivity more generally and water quality infrastructure needs are additional challenges along the street.


To start moving this vision of Washington Street closer to reality, Denver Public Works launched the Washington Street Study in November 2016, focused on the stretch between the South Platte River and 52nd Avenue. In addition to feedback gathered at three public meetings about the project in the spring and fall of 2017, DPW also convened a community working group of stakeholders comprised of local residents, business owners, school leaders, community organizations and nonprofits, including WalkDenver and other members of the Vision Zero Coalition. The community working group held five meetings during 2017 to provide input on the project and make sure it addresses a variety of different transportation needs along the corridor.

DPW recently released the Washington Street Study Final Report that identifies a preferred conceptual design for the corridor, and tees up the section from 47th Street north for construction with funding from the GO Bond passed last November.

Washington Street Study Preferred Alternative (Image: Denver Public Works)


When the initial design concept for Washington was shared with the community working group in late 2017, the Denver Vision Zero Coalition was pleased to see the inclusion of a 12-foot off-street multimodal facility. This type of pedestrian and bicycle facility is a fit with the community needs expressed during the public process and in the Globeville’s Neighborhood Plan of making the area more walkable and bikeable. Adequately accommodating both bicyclists and pedestrians will require a high standard of safety and comfort treatments and innovations new to Denver. Otherwise, the project will not meet the standards Denver has set to become a Vision Zero leader and will fail to capture the interest of the local community as a true amenity that brings a “Main Street” feel to Washington Street.

Vision Zero Coalition members demonstrate how side-by-side pedestrian and bicycle facilities separated from the road by a tree lawn could function on a site visit to the Washington Street corridor. (Image: Denver Vision Zero Coalition)


The Vision Zero Coalition specifically recommended that the new multimodal facility should be identified as side-by-side facilities of a 6-foot sidewalk and a 6-foot off-street elevated cycletrack or protected bike lane. This recommendation was included in the final report as part of the preferred alternative and will be further studied as the design process moves along, particularly with regard to intersection treatment, signal timing, and safe crossings at driveways and the highway interchange.

Excerpt from the Washington Street Study shows how a multimodal facility could define the areas for walking and biking. (Image: Denver Public Works)
Now that a preferred alternative has been identified, the next step will be more detailed design work, which DPW anticipates will kick off in the late summer and will include several opportunities for public engagement. The Vision Zero Coalition will be following this process to ensure people walking and biking are safely accommodated.
The community has repeatedly expressed their desire for a healthier, more walk and bike-friendly main street for their neighborhood. A well-designed and comfortable side-by-side pedestrian and bicycle facility can be successful for local business and residents, as well as through-traffic that will access National Western and areas north of the city. The key for members of the Vision Zero Coalition is that the City puts in a facility that the neighborhood is excited about, and that the intersection crossings are a new and higher standard for safe pedestrian and bicycle crossing design.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: