Let’s take the 15 Bus down East Colfax. No, seriously.

mall-shuttle

RTD’s bus route 15 is infamous in Denver for being the seediest route in the public transportation system.  After all, it does serve Colfax Street, which Playboy magazine famously called “The longest, wickedest street in America.”  With all the investment RTD has done in Denver since 2000, many people are wondering why nothing has been done to connect the Eastern half of Denver’s main street.  That will most likely be changing within the next few years, however.

colfax-brt-map

Since 2012, Denver has been studying a lot of options to improve transportation along the corridor.  While the studies haven’t wrapped up quite yet, the city has seemingly decided on BRT, or Bus Rapid Transit.  Stretching from Downtown to the new I-225 lightrail station which opens later this month, Denver’s proposed bus line will be radically different than the current route 15 bus service….or at least that is the hope.

RTD plans to have express buses operating on extended hours, but given that the environmental studies haven’t been completed yet, details on aspects such as schedules and stops are slim. They have announced that one lane in each direction will become a restricted lane for buses only during commuting hours, so they probably will be emulating the current system which runs along Broadway and Lincoln Street south of Downtown.  This means that they will most likely receive priority signaling at stoplights. In looking at options, RTD considered modern streetcars, but they ruled it our after it was found to cost nearly four times as much as the bus rapid transit option.

The stops will also be an upgrade, but don’t expect much.  RTD advertises that stops will feature “benches, trash cans, and lighting.”  They are also planning on installing “bus bumps” on sidewalks, and from the looks of their proposal photos, this will eliminate some parking and causes bus to stop to load and unload passengers while blocking a lane.  According to RTD’s website, the Environmental study phase is still in progress.  Once the plan is finalized RTD hopes to commence construction in 2019, so it looks like we’ll all be stuck with RTD’s current Route 15 for a while longer.

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