Denver, CO Transit-Oriented Development Program
More than 2.7 million people live in the Denver metropolitan area, representing over half the population of Colorado. Responding to the City's growing transportation needs, Denver is building more transit infrastructure and stations than any other city in the region. In November 2004, Denver voters approved the Regional Transportation District's (RTD) FasTracks initiative, which addresses the City's congestion issues by focusing on public transit solutions. FasTracks, currently a $6.9 billion infrastructure investment, provides 119 miles of new tracks, 70 new transit stations, 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, 21,000 new parking spaces at rail and bus stations, and expanded bus service in all areas. Historically, Denver is a city that prioritizes transit expansion, which has created a more progressive metro area. The City also possesses a strong downtown core with historically higher density neighborhoods. The strong downtown core as well as residential support for transit oriented development encourages progressive transit projects that are amenable to mixed use development.
location efficiency" or residents' proximity to transit requires orienting commercial, retail, residential, public and recreational spaces around public transit stations. Collaborating with communities to create urban spaces that are flexible and functional, also known as place making, is also an important aspect of TOD. Denver implements place making by developing streets that are attractive and accommodate multi-use infrastructure. Using trees, lighting, benches, building awnings and weather protections also provides residents with a sense of comfort and encourages walking and bicycling.Transit-oriented development (TOD) is an important strategy in creating communities that intertwine mixed use development and public transportation. Increasing Denver's "
The City recognizes that one type of public transit station does not fit every city neighborhood. The 2006 TOD Strategic Plan is a guide for implementing transit-oriented development into the City and County of Denver. The City's 2006 Strategic Plan identifies seven TOD stations typologies, specifically: downtown area, major urban center, urban center, urban neighborhood, commuter town center, main street, and campus/special events station. The TOD typologies address how new and old neighborhoods may require different approaches to developing transit corridors that address each areas transportation needs.
The 2006 TOD Strategic Plan also outlines transit corridors, which are walkable areas surrounding transit lines. Successful elements of transit corridors include station areas that are easily accessible by bicycles and pedestrians, presence of retail amenities near station areas, and local and regional housing market health. A corridor that is "fixed" or not in danger of being redirected, such as a light rail line, provides stability for developers and investors.
The transit corridors in Denver are a combination of light rail commuter rail, and bus rapid transit lines. The City has specific transit corridors that are completed, under construction, or planned including:
- Downtown Central Corridor completed in 1995;
- Southwest Corridor connects to Littleton and was completed in 2000;
- Denver Union Station (DUS), completed in 2002 (Platte Valley extension);
- Southeast Corridor connects to Lone Tree and a branch to the City of Aurora and was completed in 2006;
- West Corridor is currently undergoing construction and set to be completed in 2013;
- East Corridor will connect to the Denver International Airport (DIA) and is set to be completed in 2016. This corridor is apart of the Eagle P3 Project;
- Gold Line will connect to Arvada and is set for completion in 2016. This corridor is apart of the Eagle P3 Project;
- I-225 Corridor is a proposal by Kiewit Infrastructure Co. to construct a light rail that will connect the Southeast Corridor station at Nine Mile to the Peoria Station on the future East Corridor Commuter Rail line. The expansion is scheduled for completition by 2015;
- Northwest Corridor will connect to Westminster by 2016 with a future extension to Longmont. This corridor is apart of the Eagle P3 Project;
- North Metro Corridor is in the initial phase to extend to the National Western Stock Show station by 2016 with future extension to North Adams County.
Building public transit networks that adapt to the needs of the community is a matter of applying the right type of corridor to each neighborhood on a case by case basis. One organization that contributes to corridor planning in Denver is Mile High Connects. Mile High Connects is an organization that focuses on increasing the availability of affordable housing that surrounds RTD transit services. The Denver Regional Equity Atlas maps the region's major destinations in relation to the current and future transit network. The GIS maps convey several overarching messages pertaining to the Denver metropolitan area. The messages include keeping transit oriented development affordable to low-income residents, ensuring that housing units are affordable as transit-oriented development becomes more desirable, and leveraging Denver's current transit system to develop innovative plans.
Category: Urban Form
Issue: Mixed Use/Compact Development Policies
Community Type: Urban
Location: Denver, CO
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