Back in June, the newest Project Shift cohort met for the first time and formed teams representing neighborhoods all over Central Denver. They began brainstorming about how they could promote car-lite lifestyles within their communities and then planned projects that would help achieve that goal. Four months later, it was time to start putting those ideas into action. Here is a recap of the five projects implemented this fall.
Project Shift South Broadway celebrates recent transit improvements along the Broadway/Lincoln corridor
On October 7, the Project Shift South Broadway team participated in the Better Broadway Bus Stop Decorating Contest by hosting the VIP after party for the event. Since the City had already marked the bus lane on Broadway with red paint, making it a permanent lane that prioritizes efficient transit service on the corridor, the Project Shift team wanted to literally roll out the red carpet to celebrate bus riders. The bus stop at Broadway and 1st Avenue was decked out with a red carpet, photo booth, and stage for comedians from Fort Comedy who put on a show that took place just outside the popular Punch Bowl Social. The team was also able to engage with bus riders and have conversations about how bus stops could be improved for current and future riders as Denver aims to increase transit use and become a more multi-modal city.
VIP seating area at Broadway & 1st bus stop. Photo credit: Tanner Dunn/The FRVR
The South Broadway team – or “SoBots” – smile for the camera. Photo credit: Tanner Dunn/The FRVR
Enjoying the after party at the end of the two day bus stop decorating contest. Photo credit: Tanner Dunn/The FRVR
Sharing laughs at the live comedy show featuring comedians from Fort Comedy. Photo credit: Tanner Dunn/The FRVR
Project Shift Highlands teams up with local businesses on Navajo Street to enhance a neighborhood destination
Next up was the Highlands team, who wanted to make the local arts district on Navajo Street more inviting and pleasant to walk or bike on. They reached out to local business owners and found there was a lot of interest in adding more public seating along the corridor. This would encourage residents and visitors to stroll, linger, and check out the small independent businesses locate there, from the established Bug Theatre and Zip37 Gallery to a newly opened boutique. The Highlands team, with help from local artist, musician, and business owner Reed Weimer, decided to roll up their sleeves and rebuild an existing dilapidated bench, install a new bench, and add some planters on a beautiful Sunday morning. With a restaurant, hair salon, and coffee shop on the way, simple amenities like benches and plants could make the small arts district at Navajo and 37th Ave feel like more of a destination.
Members of the Highlands team paint the reconstructed bench they had just finished putting together at the corner of Navajo St & 37th Ave. Photo credit: Project Shift
The Highlands team and volunteers pose for a photo on a newly installed bench outside the Bug Theatre. Photo credit: Allison Trembly
Project Shift Sunnyside create connections within their community with a little paint and a lot of friends
Members of the North Denver team from Sunnyside were excited about the proximity of a new RTD station to their neighborhood but realized that its location on the edge of the area might make it confusing for residents and visitors to access the train. A brand new pedestrian bridge at 41st Ave and Inca St connects Sunnyside to the 41st & Fox commuter station in Globeville. Though seemingly located in an industrial area, the entrance to the bridge is a couple blocks away from residences and within walking distance of many well-known Sunnyside destinations, including restaurants, shops, breweries, and parks. So after branding themselves as the Sunnyside Connection team and enlisting the help of neighbors, the local Boys & Girls Club, and Girl Scout Junior Troop 2030, they designed stencils for a fun sidewalk wayfinding system and a map showing local destinations that could be handed out at neighborhood businesses.
Girl Scout volunteers help paint sidewalk stencils along Inca Street. Photo credit: Jill Parsons-St.John
The finished product. Have you seen these on a walk through Sunnyside? Photo credit: Jill Parsons-St.John
Project Shift Park Hill proves that small steps can make a big difference for walkability
We are always humbled by the amount of time and effort our participants give to Project Shift with the understanding that eventually, a few of them may need to bow out of the program. By the end of August, the Park Hill team’s numbers had gone down to two very dedicated individuals. In the end, they decided they would offer support to the other teams’ efforts but still managed to install a few wayfinding signs within their neighborhood that would help pedestrians connect to transportation options. The best part? It’s an easily doable project that pretty much any willing resident can implement in their own community.
The team ordered and installed signs from Walk [Your City] that many a tactical urbanism project has used all over the country, including WalkDenver for our Better Block Jefferson Park demonstration back in 2012. Then, one Park Hill team member recently learned that a 311 request to the City for a crosswalk is resulting in not just new crosswalks but also a new all-way stop at 38th Ave and Olive Street that will help make it safer for Park Hill residents and visitors to access popular destinations like Martin Luther King Jr Park and a local brewery!
Park Hill team member Joanna Hanby poses with a newly installed wayfinding sign in Park Hill. Photo credit: Eliot Tipton
Project Shift Five Points uses hay bales and pumpkins to demonstrate safety improvements
This Five Points team wanted to increase safety for people crossing 26th Avenue between Downing and Welton streets with a temporary bulbout demonstration project. Currently, children in the neighborhood south of 26th Avenue have to cross heavy traffic at intersections with low visibility to get to the recreation center or the brand new playground at Lenore B. Quick Park. The corridor is a destination for the entire area with a health care center, restaurant, bar, bakeries, brewery, yoga studio and a preschool, but the crossings are uncontrolled and unmarked to cars, dividing the Five Points neighborhood. The team got creative and used hay bales, pumpkins, and painted barrels to create bulbouts at the intersection of 26th Avenue and Emerson Street on a chilly Saturday in October. They surveyed neighbors who walked by and used speed guns to measure how fast cars were driving by. All pedestrians surveyed felt the bulbouts improved safety at the intersection by increasing visibility and slowing down drivers as they approached the intersection. They plan to share their takeaways with local RNOs and Councilman Albus Brooks in the future.
Neighbors stop by the demonstration to check it out and answer a few questions. Photo credit: Stephani Meyers
View along 26th Avenue approaching the intersection with Emerson Street. Photo credit: Stephani Meyers
The temporary bulbouts were not only safer but also livened up a cloudy day using festive fall elements. Photo credit: Stephani Meyers
Project Shift: Central Denver graduates as we say thank you to our amazing participants
On November 8, the Central Denver met one last time to present on their final projects and celebrate all their accomplishments over the last six months. The leadership team is so thankful to each of our participants for their time, dedication, and enthusiasm for the program. We still have many more stories to tell about Project Shift so stay tuned to the blog for additional participant posts, program updates, and more. We look forward to working with our West Denver and Central Denver graduates in the future as we all collaborate on changing the ways Denver gets around!