Rachel Hultin

Colorado Pedals Project Year 1: CDOT Region 1

In Sept 2015, Governor Hickenlooper announced the Colorado Pedals Project. The goal? To make Colorado the #1 Bike State by 2020. This is part 4 of a 6-part series on projects we’re tracking and supporting that further the Pedals Project.

It’s bold. It’s ambitious. It is absolutely achievable but not without the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) locking its proverbial jaws around every opportunity to include and expand investments in active transportation. With a $1.3 billion annual budget, CDOT has the single biggest impact on creating safe options for people to ride a bike. They accomplish this by incorporating bike facilities into resurfacing projects or by adding stand-alone, multi-use trails as part of a major corridor reconstruction or by asking communities where they have the greatest need to improve safe crossings and access for their most vulnerable road users.

CDOT is a massive and complicated agency with complex funding and even more complex restrictions attached to those funds. Even so, CDOT is doing good work related to bicycling across the state. We have been working closely with both headquarters and all five CDOT regions to represent your interests and further advance the goals of the Colorado Pedals Project. As we enter the second year of the Pedals Project, we thought it would be a good time to recognize current successes and look to even bigger ones on the horizon.

This is the fifth of six blog posts highlighting each CDOT region and headquarters to inform folks about exciting projects happening in their hometowns and backyards. You can read the Region 5 blog post here, the Region 4 blog post here, the Region 3 blog post here and the Region 2 blog post here.

Quick facts about CDOT Region 1

~ It is roughly the Denver Metro Area of the state and includes Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, Littleton, Parker, Evergreen, Georgetown and Golden.
~ Includes 8 of Colorado’s 64 counties and 52% of the state’s population.
~ Has 4,932 state highway lanes miles, or about 24% of the total state highway lane miles in Colorado.
~ Is home to all or part of four Colorado the Beautiful’s “Colorado 16” priority trails including: Colorado Front Range Trail, Highline Canal Trail, Peaks to Plains, and the Rocky Mountain Greenway Trail.
~ Region 1 headquarters is located in Denver and will relocate to a new building co-located with CDOT Headquarters in 2018.
~ Paul Jesaitis is the Regional Transportation Director. Mike Bean is the designated Region 1 Bike/Ped Specialist Team.

Region 1 Transportation Director, Paul Jesaitis, said of the region’s strengths, challenges and vision for active transportation:
Region 1 has the fastest growing population statewide and with it comes a boom of commercial, residential and business developments. There are a wide range of opportunities for people to explore the Region either on foot or by bicycle, which is why it’s important to us to look into bicycle/pedestrian improvements in almost all of our projects. Many of our businesses, restaurants, and shops are located near neighborhoods, making it more convenient than ever to walk or bike to these locations. Folks can also take advantage of various bikeways to ride up the I-70 Mountain Corridor.
“I am an avid bike rider and often commute to and from work so I understand the needs of both motorists and bicyclists. In fact, last year, 27 teams in Region 1 traveled over 500 miles on Bike to Work Day. We value our bicycle/pedestrian commuters just as much as we do motorists using our highways and interstates and we want to continue to ensure the safety of all those who travel on our transportation systems.
“Looking ahead, CDOT is focusing on the “Vision Zero” initiative statewide, which pushes for zero fatalities on our transportation systems. Each year, we see a growing number of pedestrian-related fatalities and it is our mission to help stop these tragedies from happening now into the future by examining ways we can ensure the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.”  

Notable Region 1 projects with bike/ped improvements in the past 12-ish months

#1: Genesee Park Bike Path
In September 2016, the Colorado Department of Transportation completed the Genesee Park Bike Path along I-70 between the Denver area and a point west of Glenwood Springs. The 10-foot wide path includes a 120-foot bridge over the buffalo crossing and path “pull-outs” in steeper grade areas, allowing it to comply with ADA standards, reduce costs and save some signature trees. Prior to the trail’s opening, bicyclists would need to use the right shoulder of I-70 to travel between Genesee and Evergreen Parkway. Now, they are able to use old highways, frontage roads and bike trails to travel the entire 150 miles. CDOT partnered with Jefferson County, City of Denver and Denver Mountain parks to complete the project.


#2: Peaks to Plains Trail: Segment 1 in Clear Creek Canyon
This first segment of the Peaks to Plains Trail opened in 2016 thanks to a collaboration between CDOT, Jefferson County Open Space, CEI, Clear Creek County Open Space, Great Outdoors Colorado and Moller Engineering Company. This 3 mile stretch sets a new standard for trail design and construction. The 2.25 mile segment connecting the east end to Golden is under construction, expected to open in 2020. When completed, the 65-mile trail will connect the Continental Divide on Loveland Pass to the South Platte River in Denver and Adams County. The Peaks to Plains trail is one of the Governor’s “Colorado 16” [formerly “16 in 16”].

#3: South Platte River Bike Trail
As part of the I-25 and Santa Fe Drive Bridge Replacement project, the project team worked to make a number of improvements along the South Platte River Bike Trail, including: the construction of a new safety pedestrian rail, and new sidewalks and riverbank restoration. The segment of trail that was improved is located under the new bridge over the South Platte River that now carries southbound I-25 off-ramp traffic onto southbound Santa Fe Drive.

#4: 6th Avenue Pedestrian Bridge Replacement
The pedestrian bridge structure at 6th Avenue and Vaughn Street was deteriorating and did not meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements (ADA). This project replaced the bridge structure with an ADA-compliant structure and added additional sidewalk on the south side of 6th Avenue, from Vaughn Street to Potomac Street, to improve the existing bus stop and overall pedestrian mobility. The project completed in August 2016.

#5: Linking Lookout US 6 and 19th Street in Golden
The US 6 & 19th Street project was named “Linking Lookout” to represent what the project will ultimately bring to our community a beautiful and user-friendly path between downtown Golden and the communities at the base of Lookout Mountain. In essence, we are “linking” Golden to Lookout to help bikers, pedestrians and cars cross over US 6 safely without hindering the flow of traffic. The Linking Lookout project will grade separate US 6 and 19th Street and provide a pedestrian plaza and crossing, and separate bike trail over 6th Ave. Construction began in February 2016 and will complete in the first half of 2017.

Photo courtesy of CDOT

2016 Region 1 funding awarded from state agencies and statewide partners

Even more good things are happening at the local level thanks to federal pass-through funding.

2016 Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Grants
Safe Routes to School is a program intended to improve the safety of walking and bicycling routes for children, specifically around schools.
1.  Broadway & Mansfield Enhanced Crossings, City of Englewood
$139,000 infrastructure grant + $121,408 local matching funds

Transportation Alternatives Program (awarded in 2016 for 2018-2020)
Transportation Alternatives is a federally-funded program that provides grants for projects defined as transportation alternatives.
1. 47th & York Safe Crossings, City of Denver
$2,500,000  TAP Grants + $2,014,000 local matching funds
2. Argentine Gateway Project, City of Georgetown
$533,000 TAP Grant + $308,000 local matching funds
3. Evergreen North Lake Trail, Evergreen parks & Recreation District
$199,500 TAP Grant + $50,00 local matching funds
4. Peaks to Plains, Jefferson County [Colorado 16 Trail]
$850,650 TAP Grant + $776,000 local matching funds
5. Peaks to Plains, Clear Creek County [Colorado 16 Trail]
$480,000 TAP Grant + $120,000 local matching funds
6. US 6 Wildlife Crossing & Multi-Use Trail, City of Golden
$400,000 TAP Grant + $100,000 local matching funds
7. West Colfax Avenue / US 40, City of Golden
$530,000 TAP Grant + $150,000 local matching funds

Other Funding to Region 1 “Colorado 16 Trails”
1. Colorado Front Range Trail, City of Castle Rock
$1,000,000 GOCO Connect + $1,000,000 local matching funds
2. Colorado Front Range Trail, South Suburban Park and Recreation District
$1,000,000 GOCO Connect + $225,000 local matching funds + $1,665,000 in-kind land donation
3. Peaks to Plains, Jefferson County
$2,000,000 GOCO Connect+ $5,066,096 local matching funds + $1,350,650 in-kind land donation

Rachel Hultin

About the Author: Rachel Hultin

Rachel works with agencies, organizations and communities to ensure Colorado becomes the best state in the nation for riding bikes. Her passion for all forms of active transportation fuels opportunities for successful collaboration. When not talking shop, Rachel enjoys hunting for street art with her family and volunteering in her community.

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