West Colfax neighbors envision major changes to Federal Boulevard interchange

West Colfax residents want to drive a pedestrian-friendly design change to one of Denver’s most heavily-trafficked intersections.
4 min. read
A rendering of the possible changes to the cloverleaf interchange near West Colfax Avenue and Federal Boulevard. (Courtesy of West Colfax Business Improvement District and Walk Denver)

The cloverleaf intersection near West Colfax Avenue and Federal Boulevard, Feb. 6, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

West Colfax residents want to drive a pedestrian-friendly design change to one of Denver's most heavily-trafficked intersections.

Options for the area where Federal Boulevard runs above West Colfax Avenue include bringing the streets down to one level and making the north-south corridor a split one-way with generous room set aside for cyclists and bikers.

The West Colfax Denver Business Improvement District and Walk Denver are leading the Over the Colfax Clover project.  The organizations plan to demonstrate temporary solutions for the cloverleaf intersection this summer ahead of seeking out money and partners for a larger, long-term transformation of the nearly 29-acre area.

Walk Denver recently counted that more than 200 people per day walk across Federal Boulevard and West Colfax Avenue. The mobility-minded organization found that the number goes up during events and games at the nearby Mile High Stadium. Some of those pedestrians might be accessing the Decatur-Federal transit station to the south.

"If you look at it you're like, 'This is so hostile to pedestrians. Why would anybody actually walk here?'" said Jill Locantore, newly named executive director of Walk Denver.

"The Colfax-Federal cloverleaf is just a perfect example of a street that is just incredibly dangerous for people who are walking, biking or trying to access transit," Locantore said.

A rendering of the possible changes to the cloverleaf interchange near West Colfax Avenue and Federal Boulevard. (Courtesy of West Colfax Business Improvement District and Walk Denver)

Residents started the Over the Colfax Clover project in 2017 and found the community wants a quicker public transit route, clear and safe pedestrian and bike routes and nearby businesses for people to visit.

Win King owns a property on the 3600 block of West Colfax Avenue and serves on the board of the business improvement district for the neighborhood. He said changing the intersection could better connect West Colfax to Sun Valley and the surrounding neighborhoods.

"We're not as connected as a series of those neighborhoods that go east," King said. "To engage this community and respectively connect West Colfax as a neighborhood to the all of Denver would be wonderful."

West Colfax residents plan to put some of the improvements they're planning on display June 3 during a design demonstration. A portion of the cloverleaf will be blocked off from cars, music, food and activities are planned as well as dog park, open space and marketplace areas. A planning meeting for the demonstration is set for 6 pm. Feb. 15 at 3275 W. 14th Ave.

Colorado artist Pat Milbery is anticipated to add pedestrian-friendly street art to West Colfax Avenue as part of the Vizion Zero traffic safety initiative.

The new CDOT headquarters, still under construction. Jan. 26, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Long-term, the community would need to secure millions of dollars and work with the city of Denver and Colorado Department of Transporation, whose headquarters is going in nearby at Howard Place and Federal Boulevard, in order to make substantial changes to the cloverleaf.

"Going into next year, we're hoping to have interim designs actually funded and then move onward toward implementation and actual funding of the longterm designs," said Dan Shah, director of the West Colfax Business Improvement District.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at [email protected] or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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