Denver to Launch Next Phase of its Shared Streets Initiative

With restrictions around public gatherings lifted, more indoor and outdoor recreational spaces open for use again, and an uptick in travel expected with kids headed back to school, Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) is transitioning to a new phase of its shared streets program launched in April 2020 during the pandemic.

The temporary shared streets program designated streets during the public health crisis where people could safely walk, roll and recreate while maintaining some distance from one another. Areas prioritized for shared streets were those with greater population densities, where adjacent parks were seeing significant use and reaching capacity, and areas of the city without immediate access to a park or trail.

With social distancing no longer required, DOTI is ending its temporary shared streets initiative and, recognizing the popularity of the shared street concept, is launching a planning effort toward the end of 2021 to develop guidelines around what a permanent shared streets program would look like for Denver.

Development of guidelines around a permanent program will include a community engagement process that gathers feedback on the temporary program and explores and answers critical questions the emergency initiative did not, including: 

  • Alignment with existing law, specifically Denver Municipal Code Sec 54-543, which states it’s unlawful for pedestrians to walk on a roadway where adjacent sidewalks are provided.
  • Determining what types of streets are best candidates to serve as shared streets in the future, building upon the framework established in the city’s new Complete Streets Design Guidelines and with additional consideration given to equity and local context.
  • Developing and standardizing traffic calming treatments and signage for future shared streets
  • Formally documenting what worked well with the temporary locations and assessing whether they could be candidates for permanent shared street locations in the future from a technical and public approval standpoint

Starting the week of August 16, residents will see some changes along the seven stretches of roadway that were part of the temporary program. DOTI will remove shared street signage and people should go back to walking on the sidewalk. Treatments that aim to slow vehicles and make travel by bike more comfortable will be permanently added to five of the seven stretches, with timelines as follows:

  • Byron Place from Zenobia Street to Vrain Street has already transitioned to a permanent neighborhood bikeway, with treatments that slow people in cars. Neighborhood bikeway signs are due to be installed in the coming weeks.
  • Paint and posts added as traffic calming measures on Bayaud Avenue from Sherman to Downing Streets, and on 30th Street from Welton Street to Larimer Street, will remain in place and further safety upgrades are planned for 2022 as the two stretches transition to becoming permanent neighborhood bikeways.
  • Protected bike lanes will be installed on Marion Parkway from Virginia Avenue to Downing Street/Bayaud Avenue later this year; DOTI will maintain existing barricades and/or traffic calming measures until the protected bike lanes are installed.
  • Barricades to calm vehicle traffic will remain on E 16th Ave from Pennsylvania to City Park Esplanade until such time in 2022 when a protected bike lane is installed along E. 16th Avenue from Broadway to Park Avenue.
  • E. 11th Avenue from Logan to Humboldt Street and Stuart Street from 24th Avenue to 21st will revert to pre-pandemic travel conditions at the end of July, with all barricades removed and existing bike lanes in place. 

Contact Info

If you have questions about Shared Streets, please contact DOTI.comms@denvergov.org.