Dear TAB & DAB
Community Cycles asks you to consider these comments regarding the proposal by American Campus Communities along Moorhead Ave.at 27th Way. Our comments also address transportation planning in the surrounding area.
We have annotated a map from the site plan, available here, with high level comments. The narrative below provides more detail.
Comments on the Proposed Development
Skunk Creek Improvements
Skunk Creek Missing Link: The TMP calls for the Skunk Creek Greenway to be extended across the site, linking two existing path sections. This path should be constructed to full multi-use path standards. The site plan shows it as “pedestrian access” which is not adequate.
Skunk Creek Path crossing of Moorhead: The Skunk Creek MUP underpass of 27th Way currently dumps pathway users onto an awkward crosswalk at Moorhead with an inadequate sidewalk on the south side of Moorhead. The point where the path ends is not a good place to cross Moorhead because it is dangerously close to the 27th Way intersection and the new parking garage entrance. Apparently bicyclists and pedestrians are supposed to travel eastward another 50 feet on a very narrow stretch on concrete. That path needs to be widened to the multi-use path standard. The TMP calls for an underpass at this location. Community Cycles suggests that construction of the underpass should be included with this development. The Union apartments on the other side are unlikely to be redeveloped soon, so this presents the last best opportunity to include the underpass as part of a development. If this is not possible, the crosswalk should be widened and realigned to provide a better connection to the new section of the Skunk Creek Pathway which will be included in this project. The site design should be carefully analyzed to ensure that it does not preclude a future underpass at this location.
The existing Moorhead Frontage Road, which runs along the east and south sides of the property is an important low-stress biking connection as it allows people coming northbound on Moorhead Martin Acres to reach the Baseline & 27th Way intersection without having to navigate the high-stress intersection of Moorhead and 27th Way. While the site plan indicates the frontage road will provide drop-off access to the building, the plan does not include any trip generation estimates for use of this frontage road. Today it gets little vehicular traffic. The plan should recognize the route as an important bike/ped connection, with traffic calming added as needed to maintain it as a low-stress facility.
Location of Parking Garage Entrances
The planned entrance to the underground garage along Moorhead presents several problems. First it is quite close to the existing bus stop for RTD’s Route 204. Is there adequate space for the bus stop, given that it’s sandwiched between the Skunk Creek pathway crossing, and the parking garage? The proposed garage entrance is also close to the intersection with 27th Way. Might that proximity create a safety issue? Drivers exiting the garage and turning left to go south on Moorhead would turn directly across the Skunk Creek Path crosswalk. This increases the probability of crashes there. Four potential remedies: a) Have the garage entrance and exit be on the frontage road. b) Make the south entrance to the garage strictly for ingress access, with the egress to the north onto the frontage road. c) Prohibit left turns by drivers exiting the parking lot on the south side. d) Ask the developer to help fund the planned Skunk Creek underpass of Moorhead as part of the project. We note that there is an existing left-turn lane on Moorhead for turning into the Grease Monkey area. Improvement of that lane may be necessary.
Community Cycles supports the requested 25% parking reduction. Given that this development will house CU students in very close proximity to campus, it is reasonable to assume, and to encourage, fewer students needing a vehicle. The site also offers good access to regional transit on Broadway.
Multi-use paths (MUP) not “pedestrian access”
In maps in the site plan, all of the routes denoted as “pedestrian access” should be multi-use paths. This lack of knowledge of existing conditions and the City’s vision for improvements via the TMP suggests that staff and boards need to pay particular attention to the bike and ped connections through and around this site.
- The map on page 14 of the proposal incorrectly denotes “pedestrian access” for the existing sidewalk and bike lane along Moorhead and for the multi-use path along 27th Way.
- The map on page 24 depicting a development plan continues the idea that the routes along Moorhead and 27th would be “pedestrian access”. These should be multi-use paths that conform to the city’s specifications for such paths. The same is also true for the Skunk Creek Greenway connection crossing the property that links Moorhead to the US36 on-ramp underpass.
- On the Site map, the Skunk Creek Greenway and Underpasses at 27th and Broadway show them as pedestrian access.
Comments about the area of Moorhead, Baseline, 27th Way and Broadway:
While it may be outside of the scope of this particular site plan, we encourage the City to take a broader view of connectivity in this area, and study and improve the roads and non-motorized facilities around the intersections of 27th Way, Moorhead, Baseline and Broadway. The current car-oriented transportation system of this area is inconsistent with the need to connect neighborhoods to nearby destinations and CU and does not foster the city’s goal of reducing automobile dependency.
27th Way and Moorhead
We suggest that a crosswalk be added across 27th Way at the north side of the intersection with Moorhead. The new development will house students who will want to access the amenities at the Basemar Shopping Center. It is unrealistic to expect that all will detour to use the underpass. Instead their desire line will take them straight across 27th Way. We also suggest that the intersection be reconfigured to remove the right turn bypass lane and pork chop, which will narrow the turning radius and bring turning traffic to a more appropriate speed. Stop signs on 27th Way or a signal at Moorhead and 27th Way may be needed to insure safety of vulnerable road users.
Bike lanes on 27th Way?
The TMP calls for bike lanes on 27th Way, so the developer would be required to dedicate right-of-way for it. We see in item 10.g of Transportation Staff land use review comments that they suggest removing this connection if alternate transportation connections are proposed by the developer (section item g of transportation staff land use review comments). Requiring a multi-use path along the west and south sides of the development would help to provide safer bike and ped access.
In the Low Stress Network Plan, 27th Way is a designated Bike Route which connects to the Moorhead bike lane. Currently, 27th Way is nowhere near a low-stress facility. The addition of a multi-use path on the east side would be helpful, as long as the City is committed to extending these paths on both sides of 27th Way between Baseline and Broadway. A 4 to 3 lane conversion on 27th Way should also be considered. The coming development of CU South will mean far more bike traffic on Moorhead, and this development is the opportunity to ensure that the connections at the north end of Moorhead are safe and low-stress.
Thank you for your attention, we would be happy to discuss these suggestions further.
Community Cycles Advocacy Committee