In 2023, construction will begin on improvements to the westernmost stretch of Colfax Avenue through Golden. But first, the city needs to figure out what those improvements will entail. On July 29, …
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In 2023, construction will begin on improvements to the westernmost stretch of Colfax Avenue through Golden. But first, the city needs to figure out what those improvements will entail.
On July 29, the city took some early steps toward having residents help it figure that out during the first of multiple planned community meetings on the subject.
According to information posted on the city’s website, the overall purpose of the improvements is to “better accommodate the various types of travelers accessing the diverse mix of uses in the area.”
Those who logged into the meeting were given a look at several potential improvements that could help accomplish those goals. Those possibilities ranged from sidewalks and protected bike lanes to new paths for walkers and bicyclists.
Participants were then asked to use the interactive polling software Mentimeter to vote on which of the presented pedestrian and bicycle facilities and accommodations they would favor to be used within the project for three different sections of the project, which will stretch from Violet Street in the east to the dinosaur lots to the west.
Unsurprisingly, the community consistently chose those options that would provide the most separation between cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. That meant that a bike lane with a vertical barrier separation was the most popular bike facility option for all three sections while a detached sidewalk (a sidewalk that is separated from the street by grass or some other divider) was the most popular pedestrian option.
For the southernmost section of the project, which runs from the north Martin Marietta mine access point to the dinosaur lots, sidewalks were not given as an option due to the nature of the area.
Instead, three multiuse path options were given with nearly twice as many respondents preferring a multiuse path that includes separate lanes for bicyclists and pedestrians with the bicycle further divided into lanes to separate traffic traveling in opposite directions.
Sara Ciasto, a senior project with the David Evans and Associates engineering firm the city has hired to design the improvements, said that while the preference for “anything that’s wider” makes sense, elements like bike lanes that are wider or more separated would present “more trade-offs” that will have to be considered as design decisions are made.
“Something that has a barrier is going to provide a little bit of a challenge in making sure we are accommodating those access points,” said Ciasto, who noted that sections of the project are dense with businesses people need to be able to get to and out of.” “Those are the kind of trade offs we need to discuss and all of that is coming.”
Ciasto said there also challenges with space that might mean improved facilities could only be installed on one side of the roadway and “we might not have the space and money to do the other side.”
At the end of the meeting, those in attendance had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments about the project.
Ron Damania, who owns Colfax West Self Storage with his family, said he worries about the impact the project could have on longtime area businesses like his.
“We’ve had this for many years and a median at our intersection would just flat shut us down because we have moving trucks and stuff turning in so we would obviously be very against that.”
Another commenter said she had recently moved to Golden from Denver and loved its walkability. She said she imagined the Colfax corridor could become similar to Denver’s Stapleton with a pleasing mix of industrial uses with pedestrian access and amenities like restaurants and wondered if that was the city’s vision as well.
Representatives from the city said there is still work to do to determine the overall vision for the project, but they continue to envision the area as being defined by mix uses with more development likely to come to the corridor as a result of the eventual improvements.
“That often happens with these kinds of investments, for sure,” said Golden Planning Director Rick Muriby.
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