The City and County of Denver is working to identify, design, and develop pilot streetscape improvements for the Santa Fe Corridor between 8th Avenue and West Colfax Avenue.
Santa Fe Drive is an important corridor within the Denver transportation network. It is a key link between downtown, 6th and 8th Avenues, and I-25, providing connections for a variety of users in the neighborhood and the greater community.
The corridor is home to the Art District on Santa Fe with a unique mix of art galleries, theaters, offices, auto-oriented commercial, and residential uses. The arts scene makes it a popular destination for people, particularly on First Fridays — a celebration of the arts with open galleries and large groups of people wandering in and out of galleries and restaurants on foot along the corridor.
The combination of narrow sidewalks along many portions of the corridor and significant vehicular traffic in the district has created a character that does not match the community’s vision for the corridor. The weekday activity levels are generally lighter, but with the 10th & Osage light rail station to the west and the West High site, downtown and the Cherry Creek Trail to the east there are significant pedestrian and bike crossings through and along the corridor.
As a result of these conditions, Denver Public Works is working with area residents and businesses to identify, design, and develop pilot streetscape improvements that aim to address the existing and evolving uses of the Santa Fe corridor.
The project team recently completed the additional traffic modeling requested by the City Traffic Engineer. The results showed a need to expand the project boundaries on the south end from 8th Avenue to 6th Avenue. This will provide northbound vehicles more time to merge prior to reaching the project area. The project team is working on finalizing the engineering design with the travel lane modifications starting at 6th Avenue to 13th Avenue.
Artist Placemaking Selection
Last week the selection committee interviewed artists who will be creating up to five artistic placemaking areas along the corridor. Selected artists are still being notified but the public can learn more about them at the upcoming Office Hours and Stakeholder meetings (see information below). The artists bring a variety of artistic styles that reflect the uniqueness and creativity of the district.
The project team is continuing work to develop conceptual design and meet the goal of installing the pilot project in 2020, meeting several important milestones in summer 2019.
August First Friday: The project team joined with stakeholders, the surrounding community and other volunteers to highlight the streetscape enhancements envisioned for the Santa Fe Corridor to make the street more pedestrian friendly. The pop-up demonstration utilized materials such as duct tape, artificial grass, flowers, trees, spray chalk paint, stencils, tables, and chairs to transform the north half of the 800 block of Santa Fe Drive into a space that provided additional space for pedestrians.
Sante Fe Streetscape Setup (Timelapse video)
Santa Fe Streetscape Pop-up (Timelapse video)
Through this outreach effort, the project team estimates that 500 to 750 individuals provided important feedback for the Santa Fe project. Thank you to everyone who participated in the pop-up demonstration!
Traffic Analysis: A micro-traffic simulation analysis is underway and will help clarify the impact of the lane reduction on future traffic on Santa Fe and the surrounding neighborhoods with an emphasis on ensuring transit service along the corridor is reliable and on-time. The project team anticipates providing the findings from the micro-traffic simulation in late 2019.
Call for Artists: As part of the Santa Fe Streetscape Project, funding was set aside to support a local artist(s) in developing and installing public artwork as a complement to the proposed streetscape improvements. The first committee meeting for the call-for-artists was held on August 22, 2019. As this process moves forward, updates will be provided online and to the Stakeholder Committee.
After two project stakeholder meetings and two pop-up public meetings, the community has identified a preferred streetscape design for Santa Fe to enhance safety and mobility for all modes of transportation, improve and enhance the pedestrian experience, and strengthen the Santa Fe business community.
The preferred alternative for the Santa Fe corridor creates programmable pedestrian space within the existing public right-of-way and maintains parking access to the businesses along the Santa Fe corridor.
Current data gathered and analyzed by the project consultant team supports the preferred alternative outlined above. Vehicle counts performed shows that Santa Fe has a strong AM peak for one hour a day. The rest of the time, the roadway does not see congestion.
The project team has been requested to perform additional traffic modeling and analysis to better assess the impact of the lane reduction along the corridor, with a specific focus on the impacts to transit travel time reliability and intersection delay at 8th Avenue. This additional modeling provides the chance to also gather existing pedestrian and bicycle utilization and model the impact on those modes.
With the request for additional data collection and modeling, we are now targeting the implementation of the pilot project for Spring 2020. This change in schedule will allow the project team to put more emphasis on the design of the new pedestrian realm and individualize each block according to the creative needs and designs of our businesses and residents, while establishing a thoughtful maintenance arrangement.
While the piloting of an enhanced streetscape is the primary focus of this design study, it is also an opportunity to evaluate the Santa Fe corridor for a longer-term vision.
There are a lot of ways to stay involved with the project.
Denver’s DOTI will be sharing detailed street design plans for Santa Fe Drive that include people-friendly features, such as painted bulb-outs, placemaking spaces, sidewalk buffer areas, etc. The detailed plans also incorporate substantial community input gathered last year on conceptual design elements, including the preferred buffer space, bike network connectivity, mobility benefits, and curb area use. The public is welcome to stop by both events below:
Design Plans Office Hours
The Santa Fe Streetscape project will be showcasing the proposed road configuration at the Art District on Santa Fe's August Friday Art Walk! The project team and volunteers built a demonstration of the cross-section at Santa Fe and 9th Avenue, using materials such as duct tape, artificial grass, flowers, trees, spray chalk paint, stencils, tables, and chairs to transform the north half of the block into a space that provided additional space for pedestrians.
The project team was back out in the community in March, talking with over 120 people to gather input on where people in the community spent their time, and then vote on streetscape elements the community would like to see along Santa Fe!
The project team kicked off this project with the community. There were over 200 people who stopped by to provide their input on the best and worst things about Santa Fe, and various roadway alternatives were voted on by participants.
September 25, 2019
October 23, 2019
November 27, 2019