DENVER (KDVR) — A section of one of the busiest boulevards in Denver is about to get a serious makeover and it is probably going to cause some traffic trouble before it is finished.
Advocates for safer streets said there have been way too many pedestrian crashes along Federal Boulevard. They said the new improvements should lessen those accidents.
“We are thrilled to see the city breaking ground on actual permanent improvements to that area,” said Jill Locantore, Denver Streets Partnership executive director.
For more than a decade, advocates have pushed for pedestrian improvements along Federal Boulevard.
“Federal Boulevard is one of the most dangerous streets in the city,” said Locantore. “It’s currently designed like a highway to move as many cars as fast as possible which is just really in direct conflict with how people are trying to use the street. It’s also one of the busiest transit corridors and there are a lot of local businesses people are trying to get to and from.”
The effort previously had enough support from voters to help pay for the project’s completion.
“It’s been a long haul. This is funding that voters approved back in 2017,” said Locantore. “Here we are, six years later, but in government, that’s actually pretty quick. So, we’re excited to see that money turn into changes on the ground.”
Those changes include more curb extensions, stormwater infrastructural upgrades, installing hawk signals so pedestrians and bikers can let drivers know when they are crossing and upgrading nearby pedestrian ramps. Arguably the biggest change will come to West 25th Avenue, where pedestrians will now be the focal point.
“What they’re planning for 25th Ave is actually to turn it into what’s called a shared street, where the priority is on people who are walking in that street, and it can be used very flexibly as festival space for events to support those local businesses,” said Locantore. “Cars will still be allowed but they’ll be guest in that space.”
The project will get underway on Tuesday. It is expected to be finished by next fall.