New ‘urban furniture’ coming to Colfax

Street will get 27 new bus shelters between Broadway, I-225

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As some Regional Transportation District bus routes face potential cuts, the 15L route along Colfax Avenue will be seeing some upgrades in the new year: bus shelters with lighting, security cameras and screens with real-time bus schedules.

The transportation organization will be installing 27 new bus shelters along Colfax from Broadway east all the way to Interstate 225, said Ali Imansepahi, a project manager and bus rapid transit engineering lead with RTD. He added that depending on how many riders use a certain stop, the most-used shelters will be larger.

Although not every stop will get lighting, security cameras or digital schedules, Imansepahi said the shelters themselves are an improvement for many of the stops, which previously just had RTD flags. The new shelters are the first improvements along the route in more than 30 years, he added.

He added that RTD is “beefing up” on transit signal priority, a traffic light that allows buses to move ahead of the rest of traffic. The organization is also installing curb extensions at some stops, which makes exiting the bus safer for passengers.

The 15 and 15L route combined sees around 22,000 boardings per day, Imansepahi said.

“That rivals some of our busiest rail lines,” he said.

The designs have all been approved for the shelters, Imansepahi said. He hopes they will begin to arrive in April and will be completely installed by late summer.

A lot goes into creating new bus shelters, said Ignacio Correa-Ortiz, an urban designer with RTD, adding that installing new shelters in is like bringing “urban furniture” to the Colfax environment. The hope, is that like with newer furniture in your home, people will use the new and upgraded bus shelters more, he said in an email.

RTD hosted public outreach meetings to determine the different needs of people riding the buses along Colfax. Staff also talked to people on the buses and at different stops along the route.

“The design of the shelters developed over time to respond to the aspirations of the users, the needs of RTD operators, and the maintenance of the improvements,” Correa-Oritz said.

Because Colfax Avenue is also up for bus rapid transit planning with the City of Denver, Imansepahi said RTD made sure to design shelters that could be easily moved for the new plan. The new design for the bus rapid transit will move the bus stops from along the sides of the street to the center lanes.

For more information on the new rapid transit plans, read our story at https://lifeoncaphill.com/stories/revising-colfaxs-blueprint,270843.

Imansepahi said the new Colfax shelters are made of aluminum so that they can unbolted from the side of the road and more easily moved to wherever the new transit lines will be. The old shelters on Colfax had steel structures sitting on concrete blocks. Those concrete blocks all needed to be demolished for the new shelters.

“We basically pick these up, put them on a flatbed and take them to their new home,” Imansepahi said of the new shelters. “Everything associated with the shelters are completely mobile if you will.”

Correa-Oritz said RTD also had to plan ahead for the use of the shelters. Since the 15 is such a popular bus route, he said the shelters needed to withstand a lot of usage. They are also designed to sustain and mitigate potential vandalism that might happen.

Because the transportation organization is putting shelters on such a long distance of the street, Correa-Oritz said there was challenges in designing around the different areas of Colfax from Broadway to I-225.

“Although Colfax is unique, it varies along the corridor, therefore the shelters have to reflect that,” he said. “The right-of-way conditions vary and at some point it is very narrow; access to power and data is challenging.”

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