16th Avenue Gateway in Downtown Denver by Dana Falk

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at the University of Colorado, Denver culminates with a semester-long capstone project. The capstone project is an opportunity for students to focus on a topic in planning they are interested in and do a deep dive on the topic for a client. I am interested in urban design, spaces for people. sociable spaces to facilitate community, and placemaking. I used my capstone project as an opportunity to develop my interests further, and to learn more about transportation planning and design. My capstone project reprioritizes right-of- way to create an identity and facilitate place along 16th Avenue in Downtown Denver. Below is the introduction from the project, which describes the scope, location, and vision of the capstone.

Sixteenth Avenue (16th Avenue), as it enters Downtown Denver, serves as a major gateway connecting the east central neighborhoods to Upper Downtown. Overall, 16th Avenue stretches a continuous 1.6 miles, from City Park to the 16th Street Mall. The local street serves cars, bikes, and pedestrians for the entire length, with buses only on the western-most block at Broadway. 16th Avenue is an important eastwest link in Denver’s bicycle network, with an on-street bike lane and minimal vehicular traffic. As 16th Avenue drops into Downtown, there is a need for mobility improvements to facilitate placemaking as benefits a gateway.

Enhancing the right-of-way to promote active mobility along 16th Avenue better connects the gateway to the 16th Street Mall and Upper Downtown, highlights the connection to The 5280 Trail (at Sherman Street), creates a safer bicycle connection, and improves the pedestrian realm to facilitate placemaking. The objective for this project, to create 16th Avenue as a gateway into Downtown Denver, is based on the connection into and from the adjacent neighborhoods. This project rethinks right-of-way space allocation to prioritize the experience for pedestrians and bicyclists entering, and exiting, Downtown via active transportation modes. Redesigning mobility is the first stage in creating a vibrant public place along 16th Avenue.