Colorado Center Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge Project anticipated to begin construction in 2013 | Transportation
The Colorado Center Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge will provide greatly needed improved pedestrian and bicycle access over Interstate 25 in the vicinity of Colorado Boulevard and East Evans Avenue in Denver. The bridge, an arch‐type structure with access ramps on each end, will span I-25, landing at Cherry Street to the north and RTD’s Color ado Station (light rail transit) to the south.
The bridge, when completed in 2014, will increase multimodal connectivity between the Colorado Station, which boasts 5600 boardings and arrivals every day, and adjacent neighborhoods, the Denver bicycle route network, and employment and retail centers. User surveys show that 2% of RTD’s ridership is bike‐on‐transit and 43% of the riders walk to transit.
The need for pedestrians and bicyclists to safely and conveniently cross I‐25 and to access the Colorado Station has been identified in five different plans in the last 12 years. The bridge need was first identified in 1999 during the planning of the I-25 expansion and Southeast Corrido r LRT project known as T‐REX, and was confirmed as recently as 2008 in the Denver’s Strategic Transportation Plan, a plan that set a direction for Denver as a livable city with a multimodal transportation system. The tenets of this multimodal system, including dependable transit options, safe pedestrian linkages, a comprehensive bicycle system, and efficient and well‐maintained infrastructure are key elements of the Colorado Center Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
Currently, the opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross I‐25 are at Colorado Boulevard and Evans Avenue. Both of these roadways are considered major arterials with large volumes of automobile traffic travelling at relatively high speeds. Currently, in order to reach RTD’s Colorado Station, pedestrians and bicycles must cross arterial traffic at least five times at the Colorado Boulevard and I‐25 interchange or three times at Evans Avenue and the I‐25 interchange. Safety statistics confirm the need for a better pedestrian and bicyclist connection over I‐25 between Colorado Boulevard and Evans Avenue.
For the area that the bridge will service, there were a total of 2 8 accidents involving pedestrians and/or bicyclists – one of which resulted in the loss of a life - over the ten-year period from January 1, 2001 to January 1, 2011. This area includes the I-25 interchanges at Colorado Boulevard and at Evans Avenue and the service corridors of Colorado Boulevard and Evans Avenue. The service corridor includes the walking/biking routes that would connect the east side of I-25 with the west-side transit station. Along Colorado Boulevard, the service corridor is defined from Mexico Avenue to Buchtel Boulevard; along Evans Avenue, the service corridor is defined from Dahlia Street to Birch Street.
Based on the identified need, the City of Denver competed for and was awarded federal transportation funding through the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG). The total estimated project cost for the bridge, including design and construction, is $8 million. The overall project is funded with $4 million in City Capital Improvement Funds, and $4 million in federal Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Funds.
With extensive public involvement over the past two years, the City’s project design team analyzed numerous location and design alternatives for the bridge. Options were evaluated with a variety of criteria, including visibility, access, usage, bridge span length, infrast ructure impacts, utility impacts, and right‐of‐way requirements. Public comment confirmed support for the bridge project itself and for the selected location. Other potential alignments failed to meet the goals for connectivity, not directly connecting to RTD’s Colorado Station, as well as had major utility conflicts. The selected location provides direct access to the station, other transportation facilities, and had limited utility conflicts.
Visually the bridge will be a steel structure similar to other pedestrian bridges along the I-25 corridor that were constructed as part of the T-REX project. The bridge is a single span arch/through truss that delivers a signature, high profile look and aesthetic appeal. The ramps are a combination of bridge spans and walls, allowing more light to come through the ramps and reduce the amount of vertical walls in residential areas. Where a wall structure is present, the design includes pre‐formed concrete, which will be a neutral brick design. Additionally, one percent of the overall project budget must be used on public art, which could be incorporated into the wall design.
Economic Development & Transit Oriented Development
By providing greatly needed connectivity to RT D’s Colorado Station, the Colorado Center Pedestrian / Bicycle Bridge is key to spurring a Transit Oriented Development (TOD): a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use community that encourages residents and workers to drive their cars less and ride transit more. TOD’s provide relief from completely automobile-dependent lifestyles and are attractive because they simplify life and allow people to experience a strong sense of community. TOD’s stimulate local economic development, generally increasing property values, reflecting the direct benefits to residents and businesses of having diverse transportation options. Most importantly, TOD’s provide people with options so they can choose where to live, work and play.
The Colorado Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge will be equipped with lighting and cameras for security purposes. The majority of the lighting on the bridge will be LED lights embedded into the railing which illuminate the bridge deck, stairs and ramps. This provides adequate lighting for the bridge users but does not give off ambient light onto vehicles travelling on I-25 or into the adjacent properties. At the end of the ramps, there will be overhead lights for enhanced safety and security at the transition points. Cameras will also be installed on the bridge.
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