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1st & Steele Street Alternatives Evaluation Study

aerial view of 1st and Steele intersectionThe 1st Avenue and Steele Street intersection is one of the primary nodes of activity in Cherry Creek. Thousands of people pass through or around the intersection daily through a variety of different transportation modes including transit, vehicles, walking and biking.  While the intersection was designed to help vehicle and transit traffic flow efficiently, pedestrians and cyclists are required to make multiple crossing movements in order to get from the northeast corner of the intersection to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center on the southwest corner.  With density increasing through a surge of redevelopment directly adjacent to the intersection, there is opportunity for the intersection to better serve demand from all modes.  The Cherry Creek Area Plan (adopted June 2012) recommended further study of the intersection to determine the best relationship between the intersection, surrounding developments and land uses, and the multi-modal needs of local and regional traffic.

The goal of the 1st and Steele Alternatives Evaluation was to identify and explore near-term, implementable strategies that can achieve a simpler configuration, a more intuitive crossing experience for pedestrians and cyclists, and improved connections to the amenities surrounding the intersection. Following an evaluation of existing conditions and a consideration of the information and recommendations from Cherry Creek Area PlanDenver Moves, and the Cherry Creek Traffic and Parking Inventory (2013), the project team analyzed mobility challenges and identified alternative options for consideration. With the understanding that the intersection is influenced by its surrounding intersections, the study area for the project was defined as the 1st and Steele intersection itself in addition to the adjacent intersections of E. 1st Ave. and St. Paul, E. 1st Ave. and Adams, and Steele St. and Ellsworth.

Throughout the study process, the project team sought public input to help optimize each alternative to best meet the needs of people who live, work and travel through the corridor via a variety of different transportation modes.  The project team, with the help of stakeholder feedback, worked to understand the trade-offs and benefits associated with each option and, ultimately, identified a preferred alternative that will move closer to implementation through an engineering design process in 2015.  Project timeline for design is TBD and was funded through the 2015 Capital Improvements Program.  At this time, no implementation funding has been allocated for construction.

Related projects

Denver Public Works is developing a design for the third and final half-mile segment of Cherry Creek South Drive, from 600 feet west of Steele Street to the completed section west of Garfield Street. The design includes improvements to two intersections along Cherry Creek South Drive at Alameda Avenue and Steele Street. 

Read more

The goal of the East 1st Avenue Improvement study is to improve current conditions along East 1st Avenue in terms of safety, connections, and streetscape.  Consistent with the vision for East 1st Avenue outlined in the Cherry Creek Neighborhood Plan (2001), the goal is to explore potential infrastructure investments that will renew and improve the study area for increased economic vitality and pedestrian activity.

The study looks at east-west and north-south connections within the study area for all modes of travel and determine potential infrastructure and streetscape improvements, including but not limited to:

  • Safe and pedestrian friendly connectivity
  • Safe crossings and linkages across 1st Avenue
  • Consistent sidewalk and streetscape elements
  • Improved bike connections to the Cherry Creek Trail and other major bike routes
  • Traffic calming measures

Unique Characteristics of 1st Avenue

  • A barrier to north-south pedestrian traffic flow and challenging to walk along in an east – west direction.
  • Inconsistent sidewalk conditions (both attached and detached sidewalks of various widths)
  • Unrestricted alley access and turning movements in and out of alleyways
  • A mix of commercial and residential on both sides, with higher densities of residential on the south side.
  • Higher densities to the west towards the Cherry Creek Shopping Center and lower density to the east towards Colorado Boulevard and the Hilltop neighborhood.
  • View of the mountains to the west from higher grade at Colorado Blvd..
  • 1st Ave. is a gateway to the Cherry Creek Shopping District from the east.
  • 1st Avenue is a dividing line between the Cherry Creek North and Cherry Creek East neighborhoods.
  • 1st Avenue is the site of several major development projects proposed in the next 5-10 years focused around the 1st and Steele intersection

Study Area

The study area includes seven blocks east of the 1st Avenue and Steele Street intersection from Steele to Colorado Boulevard.  The study will concentrate on improvements that fall within the prescribed study area but will certainly consider the larger context of the Cherry Creek area as well as the overall traffic patterns and travel shed movements as outlined in the Strategic Transportation Plan (2008).

Timeline and Next Steps

The study is scheduled to be completed by April 2010. The study itself will not be formally adopted, however, the findings and recommendations will be integrated into the Cherry Creek Area planning process, which is currently underway and will be adopted in early 2011 (Q1).

These concepts will require additional public discussion and engineering study before moving forward. In addition, there is no funding identified for implementation at this time. However, this planning effort will provide a guide and will serve as a tool as we identify potential funding in the future and refine these concepts to best balance the needs of all stakeholders involved. Public Works maintenance efforts will continue to take place along 1st Avenue but will not preclude the implementation of improvements along E. 1st Avenue should funding become available.

Project Contact:
Cindy Patton


Existing conditions analysis and alternatives development 

Alternatives evaluation and public outreach

Finalize preferred alternative, cost estimates, and develop final report