Downtown Denver's 14th Street will soon emerge has a vibrant pedestrian-oriented thoroughfare, thanks to the successful result of the November 3rd election in which private property owners along the street voted to contribute $4 million to the overall $14 million cost of the streetscaping project through the formation of a general improvement district.
Through this public-private initiative, sidewalks will be expanded, encouraging outdoor seating and ground floor shopping and dining uses that will bolster the experience one has when walking down the street. Key elements include the addition of about 200 trees, as well as new flower planters, better "wayfinding" signage, crosswalk bulb-outs, improved pedestrian lighting, decorative street corner monuments, bike racks and enhanced maintenance. A dedicated bicycle lane will be added in the street and on-street parking will be retained.
14th Street is becoming known as the "Ambassador Street" due to the diversity of visitor-oriented uses found along this corridor, including the Colorado Convention Center, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the Hyatt Regency at Colorado Convention Center, and four other new or recently-constructed hotels. Altogether, $1.5 billion in public and private investments have been made along the corridor since 2002. The new streetscaping project will build on these investments to strengthen this new identity. The district covers the entire the 12 block length between Market Street and Colfax Avenue and extends approximately one-half block on either side of 14th Street.
"With the completion of this ambitious plan, 14th Street will serve as an excellent complement to the 16th Street Mall," said Tami Door, President & CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. "Consistent with the vision of the 2007 Downtown Area Plan, 14th Street will truly be a magnet for pedestrians, which will benefit residents, business owners and the overall community."
The project will cost roughly $14 million, with property owners contributing $4 million, and $10 million coming out of the Better Denver Bond Program, which was created in 2007.
"14th Street will see improvements on every level, from bike lanes to traffic signals, to sidewalk improvements and other placemaking installations for a truly multi-modal corridor," said Deputy Mayor and Manager of Public Works, Bill Vidal. "The project is unique in that in addition to the Better Denver Bond funds, we have the property owners contributing to the improvements and we are thrilled to see this public private partnership moving forward."
Meeting and consulting with property owners in the District was a four year process, assumed by the City, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District and the Downtown Denver Partnership. A consultant team including Parsons Brinkerhoff, CRL & Associates and studioINSITE assisted with design and consensus building services. From February 2009 to June 2009, eight two hour workshops were held with interested property owners, other stakeholders, City representatives and representatives from the Downtown Denver Partnership."We are glad we could contribute to a greater 'sense of place' along 14th Street," said Josh Fine of Focus Property Group. "As property owners in the area, we recognized the opportunity we had not only to improve the value of what we own, but the type of experience people have when they're here."
Construction is slated to begin in the summer of 2010 with the goal of completion in the fall of 2011.