I-25 & Broadway Public Comments and Feedback

Photo showing a light rail and apartment building near I-25 and Broadway.

Tomorrow evening (March 2) is the I-25 and Broadway Station Planning Board Public Hearing. We want to know if you have provided feedback to the project team and if you’ve heard back! If you would like to share both your public comments and the project team’s response here on the website, please contact us or forward the email they sent you directly to the Neighborhood Association.

Some feedback previously provided to the City can be found in this public document. Here’s mine, along with the response:

I want to re-iterate my concerns for priority of both parking for the light rail station and ped/biking connectivity between the west neighborhoods and I-25/Broadway. I know these seem like opposing issues, but they are not mutually exclusive. Safe connections for walking and biking over to Broadway and parts east are important to us on the west side of Santa Fe. But I want to call out that even if you build these connections, it does not mean you don’t need parking—there are PLENTY of people who use the Broadway station for commuting who live outside a walking or biking radius. Because there is virtually no parking at surrounding light rail stations, Broadway has become even more important for commuters. And not everyone even within the walking/biking radius is able to do so all the time, whether due to timing, weather, physical ability, or just carrying too much.

I’m VERY concerned about the Land Use Framework map on page 27 of the draft plan: parking is called out in the legend, yet there is nothing within the immediate area of the station that is shaded with that color. I know developers get little benefit from building parking structures and RTD does not own all of the land that the current parking occupies. And I’m excited about the plans for retail, green space, and residential uses. But glossing over the huge parking issue is worrisome in the planning stages and, if carried through, will be detrimental to the convenience and ridership of the Broadway station, pushing the traffic congestion the station relieves back onto the streets and freeways.

Are there numbers available showing park-and-ride use by commuters outside the immediate vicinity? “Promot[ing] alternative transportation and mass transit” is well and good, but even Eco-Pass owners with bikes (I am one) will need to drive to the light rail station. I’m advocating for not excluding vehicular access to the station when looking at multi-modal or alternative transit.

And the response:

Dear Ms. Augustine–

Thank you for taking the time to contact us and share your perspective on the I-25 and Broadway Station Area Plan draft. We understand your perspective on commuter parking, and we share your interest in ensuring that transit is easy and accessible for all users, including those who drive to the station to get to work, school, and activities.

The land around this station is owned by various property owners, and we anticipate that it could and would redevelop without a plan.  However, the plan allows the community to guide the future of this station area in a smart and intentional way, rather than being reactive to the real estate market’s demands and seeing the area change piecemeal. We would not expect the acreage at one of the area’s largest and most central transit hubs to remain a surface parking lot forever. Instead, the community-driven plan calls for a connected, vibrant, resilient and multi-modal place that seeks to elevate this disconnected, underutilized “hole in the donut” and make it an asset to the entire community.  The plan is not a development proposal; it provides policy guidance over the 20-year horizon, and we anticipate redevelopment of the station area to be an incremental, long-term process undertaken by many property owners.

Regarding the Land Use Framework, the inclusion of a “Parking” category in the legend was an error.  The plan does not identify specific locations for any particular use, to include parking, since the plan serves as long-term policy guidance for redevelopment.  The station area plan is not a specific development plan or project, but as described below, the accommodation of parking in the future is important to the continued function of the station.  It is anticipated that parking could be located in structures, integrated into buildings, and located throughout the area as the area evolves over time.  It was important to not preclude these options by identifying highly specific locations for parking in the plan.

As background, in 2006 planners worked with Denver residents to create Denver’s citywide transit oriented development strategic plan, which set the city’s light rail stations on a course for appropriate, scaled development. In 2014, that plan was updated and each station was categorized and evaluated. The I-25 and Broadway station area, as one of the largest, most active, and most central station areas in the system, is expected to become an urban center and a true transit-oriented community. Transit oriented communities have benefits that include improved mobility and health and increased household disposable income, as well as economic and environmental benefits for the greater area. But like you, community contributors to the plan and city planners alike believe that this evolution should happen in a way that retains and enhances the accessibility and functionality of the station for all users.

Our outreach and notification about the plan included outreach to five area neighborhood associations, whose representatives served as liaisons to their residents about the plan and its progress. Flyers announcing each public workshop were delivered to area businesses, offices, public schools, and community and senior centers. Outreach also included media coverage in the Denver Post, Denver Business Journal, 7News, Fox 31, Washington Park Profile, Streetsblog, Confluence Denver and Denver Real Estate Watch. While it’s not possible to capture the attention of every potential stakeholder, we believe the plan has had diverse and robust stakeholder involvement that spanned the range of interests.

Where parking is concerned, commuter voices were represented on the plan’s steering committee and public workshops. Many neighborhood representatives who served on the steering committee and attended workshops — in addition to actively using the light rail station themselves as commuters — were steadfast in expressing their desire to see adequate parking and prevent parking spill-over into their neighborhood streets. In addition, RTD board members Bill James and Jeff Walker served on the steering committee and spoke on behalf of the transit users they were elected to represent.

Commuters will still be able to park at the Broadway station, but parking at I-25 and Broadway won’t always look how it does today. The plan recommends that, as ridership changes with increased connectivity and more uses in the area, RTD and the city will reevaluate parking needs and parking management, not just at this station but throughout the entire transit system. RTD and the city are committed to evaluating phased parking strategies that balance supply and demand in the near term and into the future.  Without knowing how ridership will be affected by changes at the station, it is premature to include specific directives in the plan for future parking supply over the 20-year plan horizon.  The plan sets the policy guidance to continue to study, evaluate, and develop strategies over time, but it can’t provide all the answers.

To do this, the plan recommends a comprehensive parking strategy be developed to balance user needs and allows RTD to explore a parking strategy that considers multiple parking options including structured parking. Any redevelopment of RTD property will have to be approved by the RTD Board of Directors through an open public process.

Again, we thank you for taking the time to review the plan and provide quality feedback. The most recent draft of the I-25 and Broadway Station Area Plan is posted at www.denvergov.org/i25broadway, and the Denver Planning Board will consider the plan on March 2nd at 3:00.  The Planning Board hearing will be televised on Denver 8, and additional meeting dates and details are posted on the project website at www.denvergov.org/i25broadway.


-The I-25 and Broadway Project Team

One comment

  • Victoria Cornell

    IMHO from what I’ve seen, a pedestrian bikeway walkway across the river and Santa Fe was never going to be included in this development. The city will spend tens of millions onwalkways to RINO, CDOT millions to cross a new I70, but nothing was ever intended to be built to Ruby Hill even when the major recreational bike trail runs beside a river and would connect to the park that the city says will be the jewel of the park system Ruby Hill with a new mountain bike course and a concert venue. So, I plan to be at your meeting for one more public on the record display of displeasure although I know it will make no difference because of what was said in the 1st planning meeting that the city council was going to pass the plan in March whatever it was and clearly to me connectivity to the west was never going to be in the plans, exemplified by comment to the planning committee that others see a blatant disregard to anything going to Ruby Hill.

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