On-street Parking and $1.2M Bond Funding
The BID’s efforts to add dedicated On-Street Parking to West Colfax Avenue appears to be succeeding, with crucial support from the neighborhood and City of Denver Public Works Department. Supported by a diverse cross-section of neighborhood residents, organizations and West Colfax property owners, the BID’s on-street parking proposal is at the center of a new, City-funded West Colfax Transportation Study. The study is examining ways of building “multi-modal” transportation options into the street design. At an April public meeting, the firm hired by the City to conduct a traffic study of corridor, Muller Engineering, presented options for adding on-street parking. These options grow out of community consensus that the single most important improvement to West Colfax, and best use of $1 million in bond proceeds, would be dedicated on-street parking in order to:
• slow traffic,
• buffer pedestrians from traffic, and
• support new, neighborhood-serving retail.
Of course, to those West Colfax stakeholders who participated in the extensive meetings for the West Colfax Plan, support for on-street parking is probably no surprise. After all, the Plan’s first mobility recommendation was for on-street parking, an enhanced pedestrian zone and narrowed traffic lanes. The BID’s plan accomplishes all of these.
Calming Traffic Boosts Business with No Loss of Private Property
The endorsement of the proposal by property owners on West Colfax came after the BID clarified that this proposal, unlike others for on-street parking, does not call for owners to give up any private property. Rather it gives their customers quick and easy access to their businesses. And it prevents the splash of snow and ice on commercial storefronts. As one owner who is familiar with retail revitalization observed, slower traffic and pedestrian-friendly environments are crucial prerequisites to improving retail businesses.
Developing a Parking Zone Also Adds to Appearance
Residents and West Colfax property owners also felt that the bond proceeds should be used to build “bulb-outs”. Bulb-outs, as shown here, would enhance the appearance of the Avenue, protect parked cars, and further calm traffic—as well as narrow the width of the road for pedestrians crossing the street. Other options for enhancing the corridor, such as banners and benches, would be visually pleasing; but can only come after removing more fundamental barriers retail revitalization.