Colfax Avenue has always been a street defined by change. The corridor has seen many evolutions, from being the main thoroughfare during the Gold Rush, to the stomping grounds of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, to the eclectic main street that it is today. During its heyday, Colfax became well known for its variety of businesses, personalities, and tourists.
However, following a period of poor urban renewal in the second half of the twentieth century, Colfax fell victim to blight and crime. While this aspect of Colfax is changing, many challenges remain. We have heard concerns of continued crime and homelessness, as well as the lack of pedestrian infrastructure amidst the car-focused street.
This is why the Colfax Ave BID’s Streetscape Plan focuses a good deal on the landscape and environment in which we live and work. The plan serves as our roadmap for enhancing the Colfax character, activating the street to make it more of a destination, increasing property values and commerce, and supporting crime prevention through environmental design efforts.
Many parts of Colfax enjoy high pedestrian traffic. When people are walking at 3mph, they have a chance to connect with neighbors and stop and impulse buy from the locally-owned shops that line the street. Approximately 4,000 people cross each day at Grant-Colfax and at Park Ave-Franklin-Colfax.
The latter is a five-point intersection and is one of the top three most dangerous intersections in Denver based on pedestrian-bike-car crashes. Colfax is part of the high-injury network where fifty-percent of all traffic crashes happen on just five-percent of Denver’s streets. Colfax alone accounts for a full fourteen-percent. Walking on sidewalks or crossing Colfax should be a pleasant experience, not one that can result in serious injury because we didn’t design our streets for people.
For the first time in decades, significant investment is being made to make Colfax Avenue safer and more accessible for all. Thanks to the passage of the 2017 General Obligation (GO) Bond by Denver voters on November 7th, Colfax is set to receive $75 million in investment. $55 million of that is for Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT. $20 million will go to some much-needed pedestrian and safety improvements along the corridor from Monaco to Sheridan.
Thanks to support from our stakeholders, the Colfax Ave BID has also secured additional funding through a special BID election to implement and maintain our Streetscape Plan. The election result allows the BID to take on debt and give the board the flexibility to increase the mill levy to help build and maintain the improvements on the street.
With the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit on Colfax by Denver Public Works and RTD, this presents an opportune time for other Colfax improvements. By coordinating our streetscape improvements with the city’s investments, we can make our money stretch further and skip the expense of digging up curbs and sidewalks twice.
The Colfax Ave BID Board, comprised of volunteer members who are either business or property owners on Colfax, is dedicated to making Colfax a safe, accessible, attractive place where businesses can thrive and all are welcome. The board is currently carefully considering financing options and working with the city to best coordinate upcoming streetscape improvements.
Thank you to our ratepayers, everyone who supported the transformational 2017 GO Bond, all who spoke on behalf of Colfax at public meetings, and those who provided valuable feedback on our Streetscape Plan. Thanks to your efforts, we’re able to make Colfax better and safer for everyone!
Want to get involved with the BID? We invite you to celebrate 2017 with us at our Annual Meeting/Holiday Party on Tuesday, December 5th from 6-8pm at Corner Coffee Bakery (1245 E Colfax). All are welcome – RSVP here. If you’d like to be part of a team that studies how to make the 5-point intersection of Park Ave-Franklin-Colfax safer, please contact Executive Director, Frank Locantore, at firstname.lastname@example.org.