DENVER FUNCTIONAL STREET CLASSIFICATION CHARACTERISTICS
I. General Overview
Functional street classifications encompass both the design characteristics of streets and the character of service the streets are intended to provide. Traditionally, functional classifications form a hierarchy of streets ranging from those that are primarily for travel mobility (arterials) to those that are primarily for access to property (local streets). The functional classification system is developed with the recognition that individual streets do not act independent of each other but form a network of streets that work together to serve travel needs on a local, citywide and regional level.
The federal government, state and local agencies, and national organizations such as the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) all recognize the traditional functional street classification system comprised of arterials, collectors, and local streets. These classifications guide design standards, levels of access, traffic control, law enforcement, and the provision for federal, state, and regional transportation funding.
The Denver Land Use and Transportation Plan (LUTP) recognizes and retains the City’s existing classification system of arterials, collectors and local streets, but also presents criteria to better classify the function of the City’s streets. The criteria are based on nationally accepted standards and practices recognized locally by the City and County of Denver, the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), as well as by professional and regulatory organizations such as ITE and AASHTO.
In general, the LUTP does not upgrade or intensify current functional street classifications through policy or upgrade. The LUTP, however, designates a new street classification – Downtown Access Streets described in detail below. In addition, the Plan augments the traditional functional classification with recommended elements and operational changes in order to provide a more balanced street function for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and motorists. (See "Street Typologies" section).