Shared Streets Program Development

DOTI Shared Streets logo

In 2020 and 2021, Denver’s Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI) established eleven temporary Shared Streets to create safe and comfortable space for residents to walk, bike, roll, and play. These streets used short-term traffic calming methods to reduce vehicle trips and speeds which resulted in a significant increase in people walking and biking on these corridors. Based on this success, the City of Denver is creating a permanent Shared Streets Program.

To develop the future Shared Streets Program, the City will assess the success of the temporary shared streets, develop a set of design guidelines, and determine where Shared Streets could be implemented across the City.

Eleven
 (11) streets were converted to temporary “shared streets” starting in April 2020. 

These temporary Shared Streets included:

  • 30th Street – Welton to Larimer Streets
  • 16th Avenue – Grant Street to City Park Esplanade
  • 11th Avenue – Sherman to Humboldt Streets
  • 11th Avenue – Race to Colorado Boulevard
  • Byron Place – Zenobia to Vrain Streets
  • Stuart Street – 21st to 24th Avenues
  • Irving Street – 2nd Avenue to Gill Place
  • Bayaud Avenue – Sherman to Downing Streets
  • Marion Street – Downing Street to Virginia Avenue
  • Franklin Street – 37th to 28th Avenues
  • Bolling Drive – Dillon St to Granby Way


Temporary Shared Streets Locations


Program Development

The development of the Shared Streets Program kicked off in July 2022 and will conclude in the Spring of 2023.

Project Schedule graphic for Temporary Shared Streets Program

 


The City will conduct public outreach at three critical milestones:

  • Summer 2022 – Engage residents, businesses, and users along the temporary Shared Streets corridors to assess successes and gather "Lessons Learned."
  • Fall 2022 – Gather citywide input on potential future shared streets locations and guidelines for a permanent Shared Streets Program.
  • Winter 2023 – Present draft recommendations and seek feedback on Shared Street Program guidelines and priority shared street locations.

During each of these phases of outreach, there will be different ways to give input both online and in person. Continue to check this website for specific ways to give your input during the study period.


Photo of a Slow Down Shared Street sign hanging from a barricade
Photo of a Bayaud Avenue Shared Street sign on a pole and a barricade

Photo by Kevin Beatty at Denverite

Photo taken by Kevin Beatty at Denverite of residents walking and biking past a Road Closed To Thru Traffic sign and barricade

Photo by Kevin Beatty at Denverite

Photo taken by Kevin Beatty at Denverite of residents walking and biking past a Road Closed To Thru Traffic sign and barricade
16th Street Open Street

Shared Streets Frequently Asked Questions

Community Engagement

Why remove the existing temporary shared streets rather than improving them based on community feedback?

The original temporary shared streets did not undergo a thorough planning process with community input and confirmation and were designed as a purely temporary design to help during the height of the pandemic. For the future permanent Shared Streets Program to be successful, a strong foundation must be built with a comprehensive planning process that ensures that locations and designs fit the needs of the community.

Who is involved as a stakeholder for this project? Does this include residents?

Stakeholder Working Group invites were sent to Residential Neighborhood Organizations, Business Improvement Districts, government representatives like Council Members, Denver Public Schools, and community organizations and leaders - some of whom declined to participate. These stakeholders generally represent and provide input for their neighborhoods and organizations. Residents themselves are able to participate through community meetings, surveys, and discussions with their representatives.

How can community members help support these efforts?

By providing feedback at community touchpoints such as meetings and surveys and sharing these opportunities with others, community members can show their support and provide input to help this program be successful and implemented.

Design Elements

Will any streets be fully closed to vehicles?

Shared streets will aggressively divert and slow vehicles but are intended to be enjoyed by all users safely and equitably, which includes local vehicle access. Particularly in residential areas, slow and safe vehicle access must remain open to residents as well as delivery, maintenance, and emergency response vehicles. Fully closed streets to cars exist in unique places in Denver like park streets and on Bannock Street in front of City Hall where resident, delivery, maintenance, and emergency access isn’t a daily need.

Why are the shared streets only 1-3 blocks long?

Shared streets are intended to fit into and support a larger citywide network of bicycle, transit, and pedestrian infrastructure. While their initial installation will only encompass short segments due to difficulty and cost of implementation, the success of these shared streets may lead to the development of longer streets and a larger network throughout the city.

How can we design and leverage placemaking, programming, and activation into shared streets?

Placemaking, programing, and activation will be investigated during the design process for each individual shared street. The level and type of interventions will be based on context and community input. The project team is also reviewing recent plans that have already recommended shared streets.

How will parking and ADA accessibility be incorporated into shared streets?

Parking will be provided on streets that require it, though likely reduced to some degree. This may be determined on a context specific and case-by-case basis with input from residents and the community. It is the intention that shared streets will meet all ADA requirements.

Will volume and speed control measures such as traffic diverters and speed humps be incorporated into shared streets?

Yes, speed and volume management elements will be incorporated into shared streets designs. However, each location may have different levels of intervention based on need.

Can we incorporate climate change, resiliency, and regenerative practices into shared streets?

Shared streets facilitate a shift away from vehicles by providing comfortable facilities for active modes, thereby reducing harmful emissions and improving air quality. Additionally, Low-Impact Development practices may be integrated into physical designs to increase community resiliency and climate readiness.

Safety

How will streets with existing safety concerns be addressed by shared streets?

The project team is working in conjunction with the Vision Zero team to provide traffic calming measures that make these locations safer for all users.

How will motorists know how to safely utilize or cross shared streets while honoring the focus on other users?

A combination of traffic control devices (signs, pavement markings, gateways) educational materials, and other features will provide motorists with visual cues on how to navigate through or across a shared street.

Equity

How does this project build equity into the programmatic structure and guidelines?

Equity is at the core of the goals and development for this project. For example, equity considerations will be a major prioritization factor as we consider which locations should be implemented as shared streets.

How will this project support travel modes that have been largely neglected within street infrastructure?

Shared streets are intended to be pedestrian-first facilities and will be comfortable for vulnerable/non-motorized users based on the speed and volume management treatments deployed as part of a shared street.

Locations

Is there a potential to bring back the successful temporary shared streets while more permanent iterations are being designed?

It is unlikely that DOTI will bring back temporary shared streets. It is DOTI’s preference to begin implementing permanent shared streets, so that short-term and long-term maintenance is reduced and their design better reflects the community vision and accessibility needs.

What will the prioritization criteria be for determining locations?

Potential locations will be selected by a variety of factors including street type, land use, nearby connections, equity, safety, and more. These criteria are still being developed, so check back later for information regarding this process and the opportunity to participate.

Will crash rates be considered as a factor when evaluating potential shared street locations?

Yes, this will be a consideration in location prioritization. In general, shared streets will likely be implemented in locations that already have low crash rates, low vehicle volumes, and slow speeds so that pedestrians are safe from conflict with vehicles.

Can shared streets be “undone” if they are not successful in an area?

We are utilizing community engagement, the design process, and deliberate installation to ensure that a shared street will be a good fit for the community before any construction. However, in the event of an unforeseen issue, the City will work quickly to make changes.

How will shared streets interact with other networks including Safe Routes to School, the 5280 Trail, and bicycle and transit infrastructure?

The Shared Streets prioritization process will incorporate existing networks and consider connections and gaps for travel and recreation by all modes. This analysis will inform placement of shared streets as a tool to help increase connectivity throughout the city. The project team is also reviewing recent plans that have already recommended shared streets.

Will shared streets be placed in denser contexts to support walkable commercial activity and placemaking?

The “commercial” shared street designation will be geared towards commercial areas where businesses and communities can be supported by increasing access for all modes of transportation and providing gathering spaces.

Will there be a process to recommend or request an area to be considered for a shared street?

To maintain equity in the selection process, there will not be a public application to request a shared street. The prioritization process is using many data points to determine where shared streets will be implemented across the City. Members of the public have opportunities to recommend locations during each phase of outreach for this project. Additionally, shared streets can and should be discussed and recommended in future neighborhood plans if the community desires them.

Maintenance

Will large commercial vehicles be able to access shared streets?

Yes, access will be considered for delivery and emergency vehicles.

Will shared streets be plowed and receive other maintenance like current streets?

Maintenance needs such as plowing are factors that are being kept in mind as we develop design guidelines and determine locations. Ideally, this service will be provided, particularly during heavy snowfall events, but it does remain location and context specific.

Funding

Where does funding for the Shared Streets Program come from?

Funding sources are still being identified but will likely be a mix of funding from the City budget and grants.

Will budget be used to start the program with temporary methods while more permanent solutions are developed?

We are developing “quick build” options through the design guidelines that may be implemented more rapidly than full street rebuilds, but the intention is that this infrastructure will be in place long-term.

Other

When might we see the first permanent shared streets in Denver under this program?

The program development of this project will conclude in Spring 2023 and influence budget asks for subsequent years. We cannot forecast construction timelines without dedicated funding being established at this point in the process, but the goal is 2025.

Are other cities with similar programs being consulted?

The project team did high-level research on similar programs in other cities and is keeping tabs on what other cities are doing. This information is being applied in a way that makes sense for Denver.