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'Transit Oriented Denver' charts a course for city’s rail stations

Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Community Planning and Development Executive Director Brad Buchanan announced the release of a new plan that will kick-start transit oriented development (TOD) improvements in station areas across the city to help make Denver healthier, more livable and better connected. Transit Oriented Denver identifies what each Denver rail station needs in order to maximize its potential, and provides a set of action items for getting it there. 

Denver is the fastest-growing city in the West, the #1 city for Millennials, and has an aging population seeking opportunities to downsize. At the same time that our regional transit system is expanding, people are driving less, bike infrastructure is growing, and more people are living in cities. These trends, along with the rebounding economy, mean that Denver is primed for more transit-oriented development around our existing and soon-to-be-constructed rail stations.

Denver’s rail stations are not one-size-fits-all. The innovative new plan puts each station on its own track for success by identifying what is needed to improve its existing character, improve connectivity and enable transit-oriented development. Nearly all of the station areas have the potential to better serve Denver residents in various ways such as more complete housing and retail services, or better connections to surrounding neighborhoods with sidewalks, bike lanes or pedestrian bridges.

“Enabling smart transit-oriented development is critical to the health and livability of our growing city,” said Mayor Hancock. “This plan demonstrates that we’re thinking strategically about each of these sites, leveraging the character and assets of each unique neighborhood to better connect residents to the amenities they need to live vibrant lives.”

Mayor Hancock added, “Transit Oriented Denver maps out how we are going to spur economic development in these neighborhoods, as it signals to developers where the greatest near-term potential is, and what type of development those stations need.”

Today, many of Denver’s rail stations are not located in existing walkable neighborhoods, but in areas that have barriers to surrounding areas. The development that occurs around these stations is critical to delivering a more complete network of walkable urban places, increasing accessibility to transit and making housing choices more affordable. 

“TOD is more than just building structures around rail stations,” said Brad Buchanan. “It is about creating transit communities around stations that knit the urban fabric more tightly together, making Denver a more seamless, multi-modal and vibrant community.

“Denver is already recognized as a national leader in transit-oriented development,” Buchanan added. “Coupled with the ongoing expansion of our rail transit system, this strategic plan will take Denver to the next level.”