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Archive of posts filed under the Streets category.

Denver Union Station Update #110

It’s been a little while since we’ve touched base on the Denver Union Station redevelopment so today let’s take a look around and see what’s happening around here!

Let’s start out with one of the most exciting elements of the entire project: the train shed canopy. The south end of the canopy is beginning to go vertical (which will mimic the north side) and you can see rail platforms beginning to be built as well! If you look carefully in the middle picture, fences have been put up for the 1650 Wewatta tower and a construction trailer is now on site. Awesome!

  

Heading to the front of the station, construction is in full swing for both of the wing buildings. The north wing building has broken street level and we should see this rise quickly. It seemed like a long process to get to this point but that’s because there are underground parking structures to be built.

 

When heading down Chestnut, 17th and 18th Street provide great views of the train canopy as well as the historic station. There will be a pedestrian bridge connecting 18th Street from the Union Station Neighborhood to Lower Downtown over the commuter rail tracks; one of many connections to get to either side. Also, Cadence is making quite the street presence down 17th Street!

 

Speaking of bridges, we have two great bridges connecting Central Platte Valley to the Union Station Neighborhood (which also provide great views of the development). Here are the views from both the Millennium Bridge as well as the 18th Street Pedestrian Bridge. Look at all those tower cranes!

 

This redevelopment is always quite a sight to see and with two more infill projects starting, it’s starting to become a thrilling reality from what once was a distant vision.


Denver Union Station Update #109

Today, for my 100th post on DenverInfill, I am going to update you on Denver’s most extraordinary project: Denver Union Station. As you know, the historic station is now closed and will be renovated over the next two years. But that’s not all the exciting news! Both wing buildings are under construction as well as the enormous, beautiful commuter rail canopy. Let’s take a look!

These two pictures give you an idea of how large this canopy is going to be. It’s only about 25% complete and will span all the way across the historic station.

The North (red crane) and South (yellow crane) wing buildings are fully under construction. As a refresher, these are 5-story buildings not to exceed the cornice line of the historic station.

When traveling north on Wynkoop Street, you can see both tower cranes up for the new wing buildings. It’s quite a sight seeing so much construction going on around Union Station.

Going down the 16th Street Mall towards the Millennium Bridge, both lanes are now open for the mall shuttles.

Over on Wewatta Street, you can see two things: Wewatta Street itself is nearing completion and the structure for the Wewatta Pavilion is in place. Cadence is also beginning to rise above the street as well!

Finally, some additional views of the entire redevelopment. Here you can see the sheer size of the commuter rail canopy. Cadence is also beginning to make a small presence. You can no longer see the north side of Union Station from Millennium Bridge!

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the private-sector development planned for this neighborhood. With the station also closed for renovation and construction of the hotel, I am very excited to see what everything will look like in 2014 when the project is scheduled for completion.


Denver Union Station Update #105

On Wednesday I had the wonderful opportunity to get an insider’s look at the Denver Union Station project. There will be two parts to this tour; the surface and the underground bus terminal. Today we will be focusing on what’s happening on the surface. I would like to thank Hunter Sydnor of Kiewit for the wonderful tour and the vast amount of information about this development.

One of the very exciting elements of this entire development is the commuter rail canopy. Now that the structure for the bus terminal is nearing completion, as far as the surface is concerned, work on the canopy can begin. What we’re looking at in the photos below are the foundations for the trusses and where the canopy is going to be anchored. The trusses for the canopy are being shipped here and then painted in Denver.

 

Below you will see another set of foundations being set for the trusses of the canopy. Needless to say, this thing is going to be massive. It stretches all the way down to the very north tip of the historic building and almost an entire city block west. I also took a picture of how large the anchors are going to be for these trusses. Impressive!

 

In this picture you can see the bus box is starting to be sealed in. In the next update, we will cover more of the structural elements. Even though this is the second phase of the bus terminal to be built, it is different than the first phase closer to the light rail station due to the future commuter rail tracks above it.

Next up, we have the 17th Street Gardens and pedestrian spaces. 17th Street has been paved up to Wewatta Street and stop lights are beginning to be installed in preparation of Wewatta Street being paved through. Work has also begun on the 17th Street Gardens plaza, one of the premier public spaces in the whole redevelopment. As you can see, pavers are beginning to make their way up towards the station along with the tress and lighting elements. For some great information and basic framework on the 17th Street Gardens head over to Ken’s post here.

 

As a little bonus, I was able to get real close to the Cadence site. I asked if it was easy to get along with the private sector developments since there is a lot of different construction projects around this field. The answer was yes. One of the conditions of having so much going on is the site for Cadence is very crowded. There’s not a lot of room around these parcels because of the Union Station Redevelopment.

On the next post, we will be going underground and looking at how much is coming along in bus box! It seems like every week there’s something new and exciting happening here!


Denver Union Station Update #104

Today we will be focusing on the underground bus terminal right behind the historic station, along with the reconstruction of the 16th Street Mall in the Union Station area.

Looking out the northwest side of the historic station, workers are starting to cap and back fill the bus terminal (the dirt pile is beginning to get smaller). Stoplights are also beginning to be installed in preparation of rebuilding Wewatta Street.

 

Kiewit has a great webcam mounted on top of 1900 16th Street. Check out the link for more great angles of the entire project, as well as photos from the past two years. In this Kiewit image below, six of the eight Commuter Rail platforms are visible (the other two will be shifted down a bit towards 18th Street). Also visible on the left is the rectangular hole through which elevators, stairs, and escalators will provide vertical access between the underground pedestrian concourse and the street level. That access point is the Wewatta Pavilion, which will be a twin of the Chestnut Pavilion located by the Light Rail Station.

Heading over to the Mall, a lot of new concrete paving is underway, and portions are beginning to be completed. In the first photo you can see the new roadway under construction as well as new stop lights. In the second photo, the new wide sidewalks and multicolored concrete have been completed and new street trees planted.

The old railroad tracks are also being removed along 16th Street.

On the next Union Station update, we will focus on the 17th Street Gardens, as significant progress has been made.


Larimer Street Improvements Update

The narrowing (rehumanizing) of Larimer Street between 15th and 17th continues.

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There’s just something about watching concrete get poured and leveled that I find quite appealing.


Bidirectional Bike Lanes

I just returned from a long holiday weekend in Montreal. It was my first time to that city and it was awesome. Montreal is nicely urban and dense with a great metro system, but it also felt very approachable and non-intimidating. Anyway, as is always the case, I come back from a trip like this with a ton of photos and examples to share of what other cities are doing that we could do here in Denver to improve our urban environment.

For our first example, let’s talk about bidirectional on-street bike lanes. In Denver, our major off-street bike trails, like along Cherry Creek or the Platte River, are bidirectional, but do we have anything in Denver like these examples below from Montreal?

Without curbs:

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With curbs:

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The street in Montreal without curbs was a local residential street with very little traffic. The street with curbs was a bit more of a major neighborhood street, something similar to, say, E. 11th Avenue in Capitol Hill.

I saw many examples of this in Montreal; in fact, I think I saw more bidirectional on-street bike lanes than unidirectional lanes. They appear to treat bicycles as a true transportation mode worthy of its own system within the public right-of-way rather than as something you accommodate if there’s enough room on the street to paint a few lines without inconveniencing the motor vehicle system too much.

The Downtown Denver Partnership has recently asked the city to study the possibility of a bidirectional bike lane system on 15th Street in Downtown to connect Civic Center with LoDo. Where else do you think Denver should or could implement bidirectional bike lanes? What routes would bike commuters suggest? Where do you think the right-of-way width/configuration would allow for bidirectional lanes? Discuss.

By the way, the city is currently updating its bicycle and pedestrian master plans through an effort called Denver Moves. If you are interested in this issue and want to provide feedback to the city on this important topic, please get involved in Denver Moves. For more info, visit: http://denvermoves.org/


July 2010 – Downtown Street Reconstruction

Three street reconstruction projects are underway in Downtown Denver. Here’s a quick look at these civic investments—two of which will greatly enhance the pedestrian environment in the vicinity.

First, let’s start with the one that is a straight-forward street reconstruction project. 15th Street is being rebuilt in concrete between the bridge over the South Platte River and the intersection of 15th/29th/Boulder/Umatilla (one of those fun grid-colliding Downtown intersections). As a Lower Highland resident, I can vouch for the fact that 15th Street through there, particularly around the Platte Street intersection, has been a bumpy ride for years. The street reconstruction is about 50% complete, as you can see from these photos:

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Next is Larimer Street between 15th and 17th. This project includes reconstructing the street in concrete (from the current asphalt) as well as removing one traffic lane and widening the sidewalk with the reclaimed space. The sidewalk expansion will occur on the Writer Square/Tabor Center side of the block. While the Larimer sides of those two mixed-use complexes are not all that interesting from a pedestrian perspective, they’re more interesting than the Larimer Place/Barclay condo towers on the other side of the street. Bulb-outs (or, if you prefer, bump-outs) will be installed at each intersection, shortening the crosswalk distance across Larimer even more. Currently, Larimer is four through lanes in this area, and at 15th, the left two lanes continue as through lanes into Larimer Square and the right two lanes are right-turn-only lanes onto 15th. After the reconstruction, there will be three through lanes, and at 15th Street the left lane will continue into Larimer Square, the right lane will be right-turn-only onto 15th, and the center lane will be a combo through/right-turn lane.

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Finally, there’s the Colfax/13th/Tremont intersection. Chris blogged about this project a couple of months ago. That project is now under construction. Here’s a Google Earth aerial of the existing intersection (an automobile-oriented mess) and the diagram Chris provided of the reconfigured, more-pedestrian-friendly, new intersection:

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Here’s a photo of the corner I took this morning:

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There are more infrastructure improvements planned for the Downtown area coming up… topics for future blogs.


Wewatta Tail Tracks are History

We interrupt our review of the Denver Union Station plan to bring you some breaking news about… Union Station (sort of).

The tail tracks that stretched past Union Station, crossed 15th Street, and ran along Wewatta Street to just before the bridge over Cherry Creek: they were removed this past weekend. Their removal is part of the grand plan for Union Station, and the timing of their removal was contingent upon other work on tracks north of the station being completed first.

The importance of the Wewatta tail tracks removal, however, is that the unhappy state of Wewatta between 15th and Cherry Creek will finally be fixed. That’s the last piece of Wewatta Street that hasn’t been reconstructed in concrete and reconfigured to four lanes. When Opus Northwest completed their 1400 Wewatta project in 2008, they did install nice wide sidewalks and streetscaping, but they still had to work around the tail tracks as it was too early to take them out. Meanwhile, there’s no sidewalk at all along the west side of Wewatta.

With the removal of the tail tracks, Denver Public Works plans to reconstruct this last stretch of Wewatta in concrete to match Wewatta’s 4-lane configuration between Cherry Creek and Speer, and north of 15th Street. They’ll also complete the sidewalks and improve the pedestrian crosswalks at the Wewatta/15th intersection. I believe they also plan to add left-turn arrows at the intersection. Exactly when all this will take place, I’m not sure, but I assume it will happen some time this year. Also, new traffic signals will be installed at 15th and Delgany, which will further improve mobility in the area and give pedestrians a sorely needed crosswalk to get to the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Here are a few pics I took with my phone yesterday afternoon. Top left: chopped-off tracks behind the EPA Building. Top right: former RR crossing at 15th looking south. Lower left: same crossing looking north. Lower right: stretch of Wewatta due for reconstruction.

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