RE-IMAGINING THE BOULEVARD: A VISION FOR DENVERS BROADWAY by Ryan Andrew Sotirakis Bachelor of Urban Planning, University of Cincinnati, 2006 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado Denver of the requirements for the degree of Master of Landscape Architecture 2012
This thesis for the Master of Landscape Architecture degree by Ryan Andew Sotirakis has been approved by Ann Komara joni m palmer, Ph. D. Michelle Delk Ellen Ittelsen 20 April 2012 Date
Sotirakis, Ryan Andrew (MLA, College of Architecture and Planning) Re-imagining the Boulevard: A Vision for Denvers Broadway Thesis directed by Associate Professor Ann E. Komara ABSTRACT This thesis proposes an informed design recommendation for Broadway as it passes through central Denver Using historical research on boulevards as a theoretical underpinning, this project crafts a vision for a contemporary boulevard that is context sensitive and referential to Denvers social and environmental ecology. Inspired by Denvers 2007 Downtown Area Plan, this study examines the cultural and architectural history of boulevards as an urban street typology, and suggests a new approach for creating boulevards in a city in the American west founded on notions of the frontier and individualism. Data collected and interviews conducted provided a framework for design decisions understood against the contextual circumstances of a boulevard in Denver. The overarching question of this research is: What does the designation of Denvers Broadway as a Grand Boulevard mean for the future design of the street and its corresponding public space, and how might such a Boulevard look and function in an arid city on the high plains? To address this question, a design proposal is presented as a case study that responds to the unique context of Broadway as an urban boulevard in the American west and offers suggestions for accomplishing these goals. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend its publication. Approved: Ann E. Komara
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Many thanks to my advisors, Ann E. Komara and joni palmer, for their contribution and support to my research. I also wish to thank all the members of my committee for their valuable participation and insights.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Figures..................................................................................................vi Preface...................................................................................................x SECTIONS 1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND Introduction..................................................................................1 Research design.........................................................................5 2. HIST ORY AND SITE The boulevard, the American west, and Denver: A literature review......................................................................13 Broadway: A contextual overview..............................................30 Broadway: Photo survey and existing conditions......................34 3. DESIGN PROPOSAL A summary of the 2007 Downtown Area Plan...........................47 The vision for a new Broadway .................................................58 Discussion of the vision: Challenges and critique...................100 Future work.............................................................................102 APPENDIX A. Interview protocol...........................................................................104 B. Human subjects approval..............................................................1 10 BIBLIOGRAPHY............................................................................................111 v
LIST OF FIGURES Figure 2.1 Aerial photograph of Civic Center..............................................................33 2.2 Aerial photograph of Denvers two street grids.........................................33 2.3 Aerial photograph of Broadway.................................................................34 2.4 Aerial photograph of Broadway.................................................................34 2.5 Project study area.....................................................................................35 2.6 Street view photograph of Brighton Boulevard..........................................36 2.7 Street view photograph of Brighton Boulevard..........................................36 2.8 Brighton Boulevard existing street section north of 31st Street................36 2.9 Street view photograph of Blake Street viaduct........................................37 2.10 Denargo Market conceptual master plan................................................37 2.11 Broadway at Larimer................................................................................38 2.12 Broadway at Park...................................................................................38 2.13 Broadway at Park existing street section................................................39 2.14 20th & Welton station..............................................................................39 2.15 Light rail system map..............................................................................39 2.16 Broadway at 17th....................................................................................40 2.17 Civic Center station.................................................................................40 2.18 Broadway at 17th existing street section.................................................41 2.19 Broadway at 12th existing street section.................................................41 2.20 Broadway at 12th....................................................................................42 2.21 Broadway at 11th....................................................................................42 2.22 Broadway at 10th....................................................................................42 2.23 Broadway at Speer..................................................................................42 2.24 Broadway at 6th......................................................................................43 vi
2.25 Broadway at 3rd......................................................................................43 2.26 Broadway at 3rd......................................................................................44 2.27 Broadway at 2nd.....................................................................................44 2.28 Broadway at 1st......................................................................................44 2.29 Broadway at Archer.................................................................................44 2.30 Denver Design District site plan..............................................................45 2.31 Aerial photograph of Broadway Marketplace..........................................45 2.32 Multi-use paths: pedestrian and bike connections..................................45 2.33 Broadway Wesley to Yale.......................................................................45 3.1 District and transition area map................................................................49 3.2 Areas of Change........................................................................................50 3.3 Grand Boulevards......................................................................................52 3.4 General proposed street section...............................................................63 3.5 Street zones diagram................................................................................65 3.6 Street zone A............................................................................................65 3.7 Street zones B & C...................................................................................65 3.8 Bridge zone...............................................................................................65 3.9 Street zone D............................................................................................65 3.11 Streetcar route.........................................................................................66 3.12 Portland library streetcar.........................................................................67 3.13 Bombardier streetcar...............................................................................67 3.14 Downtown transit map............................................................................67 3.15 Fastracks map........................................................................................67 3.16 Arc de Triomphe......................................................................................68 3.17 Gogolevsky Boulevard.............................................................................68 3.18 Travelsheds.............................................................................................69 3.19 Denvers two street grids.........................................................................70 vii
3.20 Clocktower Lofts......................................................................................70 3.21 Map of landmarks....................................................................................71 3.22 Broadway landmark base.......................................................................72 3.23 20th Street Fulcrum site plan..................................................................73 3.24 View looking north...................................................................................74 3.25 View looking south...................................................................................74 3.26 20th Street Fulcrum section....................................................................74 3.28 Aerial photograph of Denver Coliseum area...........................................75 3.29 Vistas to Northern Terminus landmark....................................................75 3.30 The Rails site plan..................................................................................76 3.31 The Rails section.....................................................................................76 3.32 View looking west...................................................................................76 3.33 View looking east....................................................................................76 3.34 The Hill site plan.....................................................................................78 3.35 The Hill section.......................................................................................78 3.36 View looking north...................................................................................79 3.37 View looking southeast............................................................................79 3.38 Denvers transportation armature............................................................80 3.39 Millennium Bridge....................................................................................80 3.40 Denver International Airport.....................................................................80 3.41 The Hub site plan....................................................................................82 3.42 The Hub section......................................................................................83 3.43 Bicycle wash station................................................................................83 3.44 Bicycle tire air pump station....................................................................83 3.45 Pop-up beer garden.................................................................................83 3.46 McDonalds Cycle Center in Millennium Park.........................................83 3.47 The Hub future development diagram.....................................................84 viii
3.48 The River site diagram............................................................................87 3.49 View towards river...................................................................................87 3.50 View looking northeast............................................................................87 3.51 The River-Brighton Boulevard section.....................................................87 3.52 Brighton massing.....................................................................................89 3.53 Brighton massing.....................................................................................89 3.54 The Grid site diagram..............................................................................90 3.55 View looking south...................................................................................91 3.56 View looking north...................................................................................91 3.57 Art streets................................................................................................91 3.58 Play streets..............................................................................................91 3.59 The Grid-Broadway section.....................................................................91 3.60 The Blocks site diagram..........................................................................93 3.61 Urban mountain bike course...................................................................94 3.62 10th Avenue sledding..............................................................................94 3.63 Street closed for event............................................................................94 3.64 Streets for urban agriculture....................................................................92 3.65 The Blocks-Broadway section.................................................................94 3.66 The Settlement site plan.........................................................................96 3.67 The Settlement-Broadway section..........................................................96 3.68 View looking north...................................................................................97 3.69 Swarm Street Indianapolis Cultural Trail...............................................97 3.70 The Highway site plan............................................................................98 3.71 The Highway-Broadway section..............................................................98 3.72 View looking west...................................................................................98 3.73 View looking south...................................................................................98 3.74 Materials palette......................................................................................99 ix
x PREFACE I have been interested in street design and peoples everyday use of public space for many years. My background in urban planning and design along agencies gave me solid knowledge of the challenges faced by cities who wish to carve viable public space from existing streets. Upon moving to Denver in 2009 I took an active interest in the pursuits of this city as it attempts to manage rapid growth and change, while often struggling to be on the cutting edge of progressive urbanism. Arguably, Denver has struggled with identity issues for decades, and continues to reinvent itself as it gains cultural prominence in the United States (Brookings 2008). Battles over how to use space and accommodate various users are plentiful. Because of my close physical proximity to Broadway in the course of the last three years, I have become profoundly interested in its potential as a ceremonial civic spine for the city. The streets current state-of-affairs is often inhospitable for nonvehicular users and, like many American thoroughfares, is more of a barrier than a public amenity. Denvers 2007 Downtown Area Plan provided the spark of curiosity necessary to turn these interests into a thesis project where I could combine my passions in research, design, planning, and landscape architecture. I began to explore questions about how the citys recognition of Broadway as Grand Boulevard might impact the future of the street and its adjacent neighborhoods (City and County of Denver 2007). What exactly do city planners and designers envision with this title? Where did the inspiration come from? Why is the term boulevard used, and how is it relevant to Denver in the 21st century? These questions, and their lack of clear answers in the 2007 plan, led to the development of a proposal for this project.
1 SECTION 1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND Introduction building. Boulevards have been implemented in cities around the world and though often memorable streets, they have changed little in their design boulevard as a typology is understood to be a wide, tree-lined avenue. In Europe boulevards are typically monumental, slicing through the medieval urban fabric, while in America boulevards are typically residential parkways lined with lush landscapes and genteel mansions or commercial thoroughfares that are boulevards in name only (Jacobs, Macdonald and Rof 2003). Initially rooted in the axial planning of 16th century Rome, the model we are currently familiar with was developed in France in the 17th century as a means of defense planning. Boulevard comes from the Dutch word bolwerk meaning bastion. As cities grew safer during this time, their models began to spread through Europe the boulevard became an integral piece of The Grand Manner of city building. In France, Andr Le Ntres use of alles in landscape design and especially his formal planting patterns at Versailles became precursors for the institutionalization of the tree-lined boulevard. These grand urban avenues became places for strolling and being seen, establishing a notion of the city as theater and the boulevard as conductor of social order (Kostof 2001). Later in the 18th and 19th centuries, under imperialist leaders such as Napoleon, a radial starburst pattern of new boulevards and avenues was imposed on many traditional medieval cities as a means for strengthening military power and control on an otherwise chaotic form (Macdonald 1988). These new streets were envisioned as processional routes through the city, linking important monuments and reinforcing the ideals of centralized power and social order (Kostof 2001; Pinkney 1972). Many of these grand boulevards remain icons of European capitals such as Paris and Berlin to this day.
2 part of the City Beautiful and urban parks movements of the early 20th century, but eventually lost their original urbanity to be reproduced in countless suburban neighborhoods as premier addresses for wealthy families. In some ways this became a contemporary method of imposing civic order, not through governmental power, but through notions of the nuclear family as the preferred unit of society (Jacobs, Macdonald, and Rof 2003). There are few true urban boulevards in the United States and in most cases the term is used thoroughfare. Large arterial roadways such as Colorado Boulevard and Federal Boulevard, both in Denver, Colorado, have little in common with the classic boulevards of history. In other cases boulevards are actually parkways linking large urban parks and employing lushly landscaped rights-of-way. The work of Frederick Law Olmsted and other landscape architects gave many cities beautiful parkway systems and consequently muddied the term boulevard even more. Some parkways carry the name boulevard, such as Speer Boulevard in Denver. The boulevards of Los Angeles hold a recognizable place in the American psyche, model nor the eastern United States parkway model: they are simply wide, the mid-20th engineers concerned primarily with moving vehicles as quickly as possible through urbanized areas. However, in many design and planning circles these streets are enjoying a renewed popularity for their potential to provide much-needed public space and increase urban livability (Jacobs, Macdonald, and Rof 2003). Little work has been done in American cities in transforming major automobile arterials into grand, multi-modal, memorable boulevards, especially in the west. As American cities grow and more people move back to core neighborhoods the importance of street design is becoming even the coming decades, and should be places for people once again. Unlike the places where boulevards originated, western American cities such as Denver were founded on a strong pioneering and individualistic spirit that accompanied their development as places of resource extraction and speculation. These cities grew rapidly and a boom-bust cycle was patterns. Denver and the Front Range is still one of the fastest growing
3 metropolitan areas in America. According to the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, the Front Range population grew 13.2% between 2000 and 2007, far outpacing the national average and second only to Las Vegas in the American West (Brookings 2008). For decades however, Denver has struggled to come to terms with its own western identity. Denvers urban landscape has traditionally been a replication of eastern North American and European values, with tree-lined streets and grassy lawns, rather than an acknowledgment of the semi-arid high plains. The re-creation of eastern landscapes played a large role in Denvers growth, providing potential transplants with a familiar space to call home. In the 20th century Denver sprawled across the prairie and like most American cities has suffered from quality, and a rise in lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity, asthma, and heart disease (Colorado Department of Health and Environment 2009). Currently efforts are underway to vastly expand the public transportation system and there is a large demand for central city housing and jobs. As more people move to the Denver regionmany of those coming to the downtown areathere is a tremendous opportunity to rethink the function and form of major streets. In the future more people will be competing for limited space, and streets such as Broadway will need to have functions more diverse network of public space within any city. If we can understand what it means to re-imagine these streets in a western city as true public spaces, perhaps it is possible to forge stronger connections to a collective history and local identity. Our cities and public spaces have the potential to be expressive of their unique environmental and social ecologies. Urban streets must adapt accordingly and be celebrated as key components to the public space network and identity-builders in their own right. The project hypothesizes that Broadway can be re-imagined as a contemporary boulevard, contextually unique to Denver and the Front Range of Colorado, and a key component to building a stronger identity for the city. In the 2007 Downtown Area Plan, the City and County of Denver and Downtown Denver Partnership recommended several Transformative Projects for the central city. One of these recommendations creates a ring of Grand Boulevards around downtown via Broadway, Colfax Avenue, Park Avenue, Speer Boulevard, and Auraria Parkway. The Grand Boulevards are seen as a way to reduce barriers between downtown and adjacent neighborhoods, celebrate arrival and departure into downtown, and become memorable public spaces on their own. The plan suggests Broadway become
4 and County of Denver 2007). Favorable conditions do indeed exist for reimagining Broadway as a Grand Boulevard, creating a contemporary multimodal street typology unique to Denver and the Front Range. Traditional boulevards are predicated on movement, procession, demarcation, and ceremony. They often act as strong axial links between monuments, marking urban space and referencing the historical power of centralized governments and militaries that beget their creation as dictators of social order and defense (Rogers 2001). Denvers relatively benign topography has been favorable to the creation of wide streets, but the city lacks both the political and militaristic gestures that prompted the creation of boulevards in the past. A more appropriate boulevard in the 21st century American west may be a multi-modal device for re-stitching our urban fabric and providing a processional series of memorable public spaces, unique to the contemporary Colorado metropolis, its social structures and semi-arid climate. The aim of this research is to explore the boulevard as an urban form that can be memorable for their physical expressions of local landscape, history, social norms, and customs. The boulevard is a unique street typology in city planning and building around the world because it functions not only as a street, but also as a grand public space: a linear public plaza. Historically, the boulevard served as an ideological framework for governmental powers (e.g., Haussmann and Paris) attempts to control urban space and social order. These power structures are not in play in the 21st century American west, than the unique social, cultural, and ecological structures they inhabit in the contemporary era. Cities and their people are not static. Grand urban streets should express the unique qualities of the adjacent neighborhoods and should The monumental structure of the boulevard may remain, but a uniform design treatment along the entire route is inappropriate in a city such as Denver. The power play by the government. and urban design through an informed proposal for the context-sensitive design of a large urban street. In an increasingly globalized world, landscape architecture and urban design have the power to create spaces that are
5 expressive of their context and thereby build stronger connections to local cultures and identities. Ideally this project will encourage greater discourse on the importance of reinterpreting historic typologies for use in contemporary The goal is to contribute to an emerging local design aesthetic and explore the boulevard as a prominent piece of urban history and a powerful identitybuilder for the growing city of Denver. This research and proposal will be presented to the City and County of Denver and the Downtown Denver Partnership for use in their future design process for Broadway. Research Design Introduction This study explores the history of the boulevard as an important typology overarching goal of this study is to create a context sensitive design for a major arterial in Denver, a contemporary city that struggles with rapid growth and its western1 fold: identity building, linking, image building, establishing location, and innovation (See pages 59-61). An integral part of this investigation is to better understand the complex history of street design in Europe and the United States, particularly as related to streets of major civic importance. To understand this history required a study of design and planning of the street and its role as a public space. The unique context of Denver required a critical review of the historical settlement patterns and ecology of the western United States and Front Range region. By interviewing people involved in the planning, design, and maintenance of streets within the Denver region, this more plentiful and useful public space in the city. This section discusses the research design and methods, including selection of interview candidates, the research questions used to inform this study, the data collection methods used, and the ideological framework for the design process. Research Design This project is part historical study, and part case study and design proposal. The historical study phase of this research analyzed the history of the 1 The term western is used to describe the American west.
6 architecture, and development patterns in the American west. Interviews who worked on drafting the 2007 Downtown Area Plan and creating the Grand Boulevard network (City and County of Denver 2007). Case studies of contemporary innovations in street design in San Francisco and New York were also conducted. The design proposal employs techniques of inquiry such as photographic survey, mapping, topographic and site analysis, transect study, and assessment of opportunities and constraints. The site analysis is based on two frameworks: Christophe Girots concepts of landing, elements of paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks (Lynch 1960). the design exploration and interpretation of an urban boulevard contextually relevant to the Front Range of Colorado. Data Collection Procedures To gain a better understanding of what civic leaders mean by Grand Boulevard (City and County of Denver 2007), interviews were conducted to determine why they created this concept and by what process they intended to achieve this goal. Blueprint Denver the citywide land use and transportation plan, provides street typologies (City and County of Denver 2002) and discusses components of the street network as they relate to mobility, transit, and pedestrian amenities. As such, this plan emphasizes multi-modal street and parkway design, but unlike the Downtown Area Plan, Blueprint Denver address this planners, landscape architects, public works managers, and designers with important roles in the creation and implementation of both documents were selected as potential interview candidates. The results of these interviews are discussed in Section 3.2 Interview Findings. The overarching research question is: What does the designation of Denvers Broadway as a Grand Boulevard mean for the future design of the street and its corresponding public space, and how might such a Boulevard look and function in an arid city on the high plains? This larger research question is organize this study. of boulevards and how do they typically function as urban public space? The
7 boulevard originated in European military planning interventions, evolved through Baroque notions of power, surveillance, ceremony, and grandeur, and was used in the United States as both public health amenity and prestigious residential address. To address this question, particular attention is given to the creation of civic identity along such prominent streets and how these of place, and its potential to enhance the links between streets and their surrounding urban context. The second research question is: What physical, environmental, cultural, and historical traits make Denver an essentially western city? This project summarizes the history of settlement and development patterns in the an historical summary of Denver analyzes the citys role as the preeminent environmental factors that contributed to its physical development and cultural identity. Additionally, there is an exploration of issues surrounding the citys continual struggle with its own western identity. The third research question is: How might the boulevard might be reinterpreted for a contemporary western American city and strengthen connections to a local identity and culture through contextually sensitive technical and aesthetic solutions? This question forms the foundation for the design proposal portion of this study. Since the urban form and street characteristics of Broadway change drastically as the street passes through different districts of downtown Denver, a transect study approach was applied (Duany 2002) as a method of site analysis for the street as it traverses the city from I-70 to I-25. The design proposal for Broadway envisions a new type of urban street that follows the classic structure and sequencing of historic boulevards but is uniquely western in its identity, and concomitant with the citys stated intentions of providing a grand public amenity in downtown and reconnecting neighborhoods on either side (City and County of Denver 2007). A hybrid method of site analysis is employed following the conceptual and theoretical frameworks of Christophe Girot and Kevin Lynch, and employing ideas of sensory experience and urban visualization (Girot 1999; Lynch 1960). Methods of representation common to the discipline of landscape architecture Historical research was conducted from January to December 2011. Some
88 photography and documentation of boulevards and street design were performed while traveling abroad through Finland, Russia, Germany, and Denmark in July and August of 2011. There is a wide variety of street design in these countries and most large urban boulevards accommodate multiple modes of transportation quite well. In most cases the space for these different modes are highly delineated and utilize distinct barriers such as trees and concrete curbs. Changes in elevation across these vast streets are common. Data collection and interviews occurred simultaneously through February 2012, along with photographic surveys of Broadway. The following subsections describe these methods and the respective rationale for their use in this study. Historical Research The primary means of data collection for this phase of the project was historical research on the development of the boulevard, and current precedents in street design. Compilation of information from urban planning and landscape architecture texts and journals, city agencies and departments, planning and design research organizations, news sources, and blogs, helped establish the historical and contemporary context within which the boulevard and street design are situated, as well as the unique ecological and social history of the western United States. The purpose of this phase of research planning and landscape architecture; 2) to better grasp the complex factors that have shaped the western United States and Front Range region; and 3) to better understand the various planning methods used by the City and County of Denver in relation to street functionality and design in the downtown Denver core. Beyond the primary source texts, other references included print information and internet-based materials about urban planning and design, landscape architecture, contemporary street and public space design around the world, and the emerging themes of Tactical and DIY Urbanism (e.g., newspaper articles, magazine articles, municipal plans, maps and reports, and websites and blogs). This data contributed to an understanding of the historical, political, economic, social, and cultural issues affecting street and public space design and use in Denver and Colorado. Furthermore, this phase helped to relate current trends in urban planning and landscape architecture
9 to Denver by referencing trends in cities both domestic and international. Population growth in urban areas, the recent economic crisis, and the strong public space. This research indicates an important shift in recent years from which streets become primary public spaces within the city. Denver is poised to grow rapidly in the coming decades and has acknowledged an inability to expand street right-of-ways within city limits (Brookings 2008; City and County of Denver 2002). These factors will force the city to entertain new and creative means to deliver public space to a rapidly urbanizing population. Semi-structured Interviews The secondary means of obtaining data was through interviews of city design in Denver, and practitioners with expertise in streetscape planning and design. The interviews addressed the following topics: the practitioners role in their current position and their role in street design in greater Denver; the relevance of and challenges to creating new public space within central role of the Grand Boulevards within the city; and the role of public space includes all questions, follow-up questions, and prompts.) Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from three categories of individuals: City and County of Denver staff in the departments of Community Planning and Development (CPD) and Public Works, Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) staff and planners, and private design practitioners. All of the interviewees an interview. Anonymity is maintained for this study and only professional titles (e.g., landscape architect, planner, project manager) are used. The interviews lasted approximately one hour, and took place either in the place of employment of the interviewee or in a convenient location for the interviewee. The questionnaire used for the interviews includes a mix of open-ended and closed questions (See Appendix A: Interview Protocol.) The interviews were carried out in Denver between September 2011 and February 2012. Photographic Survey Digital photography was used to document current conditions along Broadway as it traverses the central core of Denver from I-70 in the north to
10 I-25 at the south end of the study area. This method facilitated an analysis of existing conditions pertaining to street width, street condition and character, adjacent building conditions and land use, and view corridors. Due to the 5.8-mile length of this study area, photography became a useful tool for noting and recording subtle differences in character and use along Broadway. As discussed in the following subsection, this project follows an analytical approach similar to Christophe Girots Four Trace Concepts in Landscape Architecture, and photography was an important method of both grounding of future improvements. Design Approach The foundations for this project are based on two key site analysis and design frameworks: Christophe Girots Four Trace Concepts in Landscape Architecture and Kevin Lynchs The Image of the City. These two approaches offer complimentary methods of viewing, analyzing, and ultimately formulating responses to the site. One is a landscape architecture framework, the other a visualization technique primary to the profession of urban planning. Christophe Girot is a landscape architect and the founder of Atelier Girot in Zurich. He has been extensively published and is a recognized expert in state planning for his empirical research on how individuals perceive and navigate the urban landscape. His books explore the presence of time and history in the urban environment, how urban environments affect children, and how to harness human perception of the physical form of cities and regions as the conceptual basis for good urban design. Combining the two approaches worked well for managing the complexity and multi-disciplinary nature of this project. Christophe Girots approach embraces four key methods for learning about designer still does not know anything about a place and yet is prepared to embark on a lengthy process of discovery. Grounding is more about reading and understanding a site through repeated visits and studies. Finding is
11 both and activity and an insight. It entails the act and process of searching as well as the outcome, the thing discovered. Lastly, founding is a reaction to something that was already there. It is the synthesis of the previous three to form a new and informed construction of the site (Girot 1999, 3-6). These concepts were employed in the early phases of data collection and photographic survey, as well as in a daily commute back and forth along large stretches of Broadway via bus, bicycle, and foot. Girots method enables designers to come to grips with their intuitions and experiences of place, allowing these impressions to direct the unfolding of the project (Girot 1999, 65). A key intention of this project is to craft a response that is sensitive to and heavily rooted in place the high plains of Colorado. Girots method was useful in allowing the sensory experience of the site and its complex social, political, and natural ecological systems to become evident and lead to a series of design interventions for a boulevard that are contextually appropriate to this semi-arid western city. Experiencing and studying Broadway in a variety of ways and over a long period of time leads to a design proposal that acknowledges clues from the surrounding contexts and is more dynamic than a single linear intervention. Complimentary to Girots methodology is Kevin Lynchs urban imaging vocabulary. This reduction of the urban landscape into a series of visual and structural elements is helpful in approaching a site as large and complex as Broadway. Lynchs imaging elements are paths, edges, districts, nodes, which the observer customarily, occasionally, or potentially moves. Edges are the linear elements not used or considered as paths by the observer. Districts are the medium-to-large sections of the city, conceived of as having two-dimensional extent, which the observer mentally enters inside of, and which are recognizable as having some common, identifying character. Unlike districts, nodes are points, the strategic spots in a city into which an observer can enter, and which are the intensive foci to and from which he is traveling. Finally, landmarks are like nodes but cannot be entered into they are external; their use involves the singling out of one element from a the early stages of formulating design concepts. Visualizing the street as a major path that traverses various districts of the city, and passes through and alongside several physical, social, and ecological edges and existing nodes was integral to creating a complete and cohesive response. Acknowledging
and celebrating these contextual cues, while injecting new landmarks along Broadways route, helped to create the prominent civic spine that was the goal of this project. These landmarks create the structural base of boulevards around the world and are integral to maintaining and enhancing the civic character of Broadway. Summary This section described the process of conducting research for this project, including the research design, data collection, and information-gathering procedures employed. The following section discusses the literature on boulevard and street design since the 18th century and analyzes this literature through the complimentary lenses of urban planning and landscape architecture, as well as the complex history and ecology of Denver and western United States. 12
13 SECTION 2 HISTORY AND SITE The Boulevard, the American West, and Denver: A Literature Review Introduction The boulevard is a formalized street typology that has changed very little th century European ideas of social structure and power, or the picturesque 19th and 20th century American residential ideas of leisure and status. The term boulevard has become vague and is attached to such a wide variety of street types that it has lost much of its original meaning. In many cases, especially in the United States, the name boulevard is attached to streets to signify a prestigious residential address. In other cases, the boulevard of the urbanity and monumentality that prompted its creation in the past. Creating a new model of the boulevard in 21st century America is no simple task, and there are many important factors to consider. In order to reimagine the boulevard for Denver, a rapidly urbanizing city in the American West, it across continents, as well as the unique history and climate of the arid high understanding the semantics of street design as many terms come with attached social expectations. A boulevard may be different from a parkway to some people, but not to others. For instance, Denvers parkway system not be consistent with the general or popular ideas of the time. It is vital to this as a means to achieving this vision. The relevant literature presented in this section will explore the role of streets and boulevards in military planning and the imposition of social order, the City Beautiful movement, and the use of streets in improving public health, and unique idealism of the Western frontier of the United States and note
14 some of the impacts of this expansion on social issues, settlement patterns, ecological systems, and urbanization. The literature is organized in the following order: urban planning, landscape architecture, and the American West. The sequencing is relevant to exploring the historical development of boulevards through time, as well as setting up a valid basis for this design proposal. Though this is a landscape architecture design thesis, the boulevard and defense. It was only later, when military dominance gave way to notions Modern innovations and overlap in planning and landscape architecture have the capacity to transform the way we think about and design streets and urban places. The literature on the American West, its unique developmental history and complex set of problems associated with rapid urbanization and changing social values, provides the contextual backdrop for this project. This review grounds the argument that a reinterpreted and contextually-sensitive boulevard can and should be created to respond to the unique challenges at the intersection of planning and landscape architecture in Denver, as the rapidly growing city strives to forge its identity in the 21st century. Urban Planning and the Boulevard Though it is often considered the purview of landscape architects, the boulevard as a street typology arose in the practice of urban design in Europe in the 17th and 18th related to streets such as boulevards, and the boulevard as a product of military planning, The Grand Manner style of Baroque planning, and the American reinterpretation of the Baroque in the City Beautiful movement of the early 20th century. Urban Planning Urban planning as a recognized process offers historic precedents for contemporary works. Urban planning Â is a technical and political process concerned with land use and the design of human environments, including transportation networks, in order to guide and ensure orderly development. Planning concerns itself with research and analysis, strategic thinking, Â urban design, Â public consultation, policy recommendations, implementation and management (Taylor 2007). Though the modern origins of urban planning
15 lie in the movement for urban reform that arose as a reaction against the disorder of the Â industrial city Â in the mid-19th century (Wheeler 1998), urban planning as a process and art can historically be traced to two notable regions and eras in Europe: Ancient Rome, and 19th century Paris. The Â ancient Romans Â perfected a scheme for city planning that was subsequently implemented all across Europe, using a basic plan consisting of a central forum with city services, surrounded by a compact, rectilinear grid of streets, and wrapped in a wall for defense. To reduce travel times, two diagonal streets crossed the city, passing through the central square. The city was usually built on a river, providing water, transport, and sewage disposal (Vitruvius 1914). Modern urban planning dates from the 1850s. The notable Frenchman Baron Georges-Eugne Haussmann was commissioned by Napoleon III to remodel the medieval street plan of Paris by demolishing swaths of the old city and laying out wide avenues, or boulevards, extending outwards beyond the old city limits (Pinkney 1972). Haussmanns project encompassed all aspects of urban planning, both in the center of Paris and in the surrounding districts, with regulations imposed on building facades, public parks, sewers and water works, city facilities, and public monuments (Girouard 1985). Beyond aesthetic and sanitary considerations, these wide thoroughfares facilitated the goals of troop movement and policing, as well as imposing social order, national identity, and aesthetic enhancement (Girouard 1985, 285). The Boulevard Arises in Military Planning The boulevard has, since its creation, been an urban street typology, originating as a by-product of military and defense planning in 17th century Europe. Extensive scholarship exists on the history and development of boulevards, tracing their origins from the systems of bastions imposed by military engineers on ancient, medieval cities (MacDonald 1988). Sources such as W. L. MacDonalds The Architecture of the Roman Empire Siegfried Giedions Space, Time and Architecture, and David H. Pinkneys Napoleon III and the Rebuilding of Paris discuss the development of boulevards in detail as a military engineering feat, noting the subsequent impact on urban planning. These various texts, along with more contemporary summaries by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers and Spiro Kostof explain how the starburst pattern of defense mechanisms thrust outward, metaphorically invading space (Rogers 2001, 213) Thus began the imposing development patterns common to the early Baroque period in Europe. The perceived chaos of medieval cities
16 military leadership, to desire control and order in the built environment. These military engineers were often asked to plan cities; and their desire for practicality, as well as symbolism of power, led to the abandonment of organic urbanism in favor of order and sight-lines (Kostof 2001; Pinkney 1972). As time passed and these military goals were attained, cities became safer and more secure. On the edges, the old bastions surrounding many cities, including Vienna, Paris, and others, became unnecessary and were converted to a secondary set of ring-road boulevards (Giedion 1997; Pinkney 1972) that attracted recreational activity, notably carriage-driving and promenading, which in turn gave rise to nineteenth-century shopping and caf life (Rogers 2001, 213). The Boulevard is Perfected in Baroque Planning The Grand Manner Â refers to an idealized Â aesthetic Â style derived from Â classical art, and the modern classic art of the Â High Renaissance. The style was also applied to urban planning and design in the 18th century. Â The Grand Manner of Baroque urban planning, and the role of the boulevard in shaping new urban spaces, has been heavily documented by both Pinkney and Francois Loyer in Paris Nineteenth Century: Architecture and Urbanism The monumentality created in cities such as Paris (by Haussmann) is a direct manifestation of this style (Loyer 1988; Pinkney 1972). In their summaries of LEnfants planning and building of Washington, D.C., Spiro Kostof and John William Reps discuss the The Grand Manner as manifested through the following aesthetic characteristics: a total, grand, spacious urban ensemble pinned on focal points distributed throughout the city 2. these focal points suitably plotted in relation to the drama of the topography, and linked with each other by swift, sweeping lines of communication 3. a concern with landscaping of the major streets 4. the creation of vistas 5. public spaces as settings for monuments 6. dramatic effects, as with waterfalls and the like 7. all of this superimposed on a closer-grained fabric for daily, local life (Kostof 2001; Reps 1967) The classical style was not purely aesthetic, as these tenets served to
17 reinforce goals of social control and cohesion through urban design, still concerns for imperial-minded nation-states in the 18th century. The city during who desired as much control as possible. In this way, the city became both a metaphor and a physical manifestation of imperial power. In many cases of Baroque planning, the grand boulevards emanated from a central point, typically the seat of governmental power or princely authority like rays of the sun (Rogers 2001, 213). The radial pattern is still visible in modern Paris (Loyer 1988; Pinkney 1972). Though planned and built from the ground up, this can be seen clearly in LEnfants plan of Washington, D.C. in which radial avenues bisect the otherwise cardinal urban grid (Reps 1967). This slicing through the existing urban fabric in complex cities such as Paris had metropolis, providing new development sites for the rising nation-state and centralized government (Jacobs, Macdonald, and Rof 2003). These governments viewed the organic urbanism of the old city as unruly and a liability to their continued authority, and the boulevard was a useful remedy. Though The Grand Manner has often been criticized for its authoritarian imposition, it provided new dignity to public space and public life and contributed to the notion of the city as theater, in turn expressing the cultural aspirations of society at-large (Rogers 2001). Richard Ingersoll discusses the ways in which Classical Roman boulevards, functioned as ceremonial and processional routes for assertions of power and political drama (Ingersoll 1985). These wide avenues became the forum for festivals and the reinforcement of civic pride and unity. Additionally, Baroque design aesthetics imposed regulation on the street in an effort to improve public health and safety. New forms of wide streets such as the boulevard, with attendant landscaping, open space, and drainage, were employed to improve the health of residents in otherwise dark and crowded medieval cities (Kostof 2003; Loyer 1988). Building heights and construction codes were implemented to streets were easily policed (Kostof 2003) and allowed access to crowded neighborhoods where social unrest was most likely to develop (Jacobs, Macdonald, and Rof 2003). All of these efforts established social order and control, while reinforcing the symbolism of the nation-state and its newly centralized government.
18 The Boulevard is Imported to America by the City Beautiful Movement The boulevard typology was imported to America in the late 19th century as part of the urban park movement and was later a major component of the language of the City Beautiful movement of the early 20th century (Jacobs, Macdonald, and Rof 2003). American cities were young and growing rapidly, enjoying a horizontal expansion made possible by innovations in transportation and a desire to build a new kind of democratic society. Trees and landscaping were integral elements of boulevard design and Americans typically associated these features with residential neighborhoods rather than town centers. Frederick Law Olmsted and other landscape architects attempted to make these new streets more pleasurable and healthy to travel on (Olmsted 1870). Consequently, the boulevard in America became associated with residential suburban development rather than the urbane shopping and promenading areas of Europe (Kostof 2003). As I will explore later, the term itself underwent semantic change upon arrival in America confused with a parkway, boulevard began to have a new connotation in America as a green connector between large parks. This concept was popularized by Frederick Law Olmsted even before the City Beautiful with his Eastern and Ocean Parkways in Brooklyn, the Emerald Necklace in Boston, and parkway systems in Buffalo and Louisville (Kostof 2003). The City Beautiful movement of the early 20th century was a rebirth of the civic idealism and ordered urban design of the Baroque. Designers during this period believed that a renewed emphasis on the classical art of city building could breathe new life and grandeur into rapidly developing British and American cities. Thomas Mawsons Civic Art covers the principles and theories behind civic art and design. Mawson summarizes the guiding principles behind this movement: Centralization and convenient grouping of the towns municipal or commercial activities, the adjustment of its plan and arrangement to the contours of the site, its development and expansion on a convenient restraint in its adornments, and the power to retain and enhance its individuality. (Mawson 1911, 13-14) Collectively, these principles embody the deeper goal of civic design (and in America, the City Beautiful): that the city is a place where citizens are entitled
19 the civic art of town planning (Mawson 1911). In America, the City Beautiful ideals were famously explored by Daniel Burnhams 1909 Plan of Chicago. Burnhams work embodies the height of the movement, borrowing from Baroque ideals and aesthetics to improve quality of life in a large American city. Burnham called for the creation of a network of boulevards lined with light. (Burnham and Bennett 1908) Burnham envisioned the boulevards as extensions of public space, complete with monuments and fountains, in his effort to enhance the aesthetics, health, and circulation of the city. Though much of Burnhams plan never materialized, many boulevards such as these were constructed in cities across the nation. In Denver, Speer Boulevard was designed by George Kessler and is a prime example of a City Beautifulthe city. Though a boulevard in name, this street is more similar to Denvers parkways, and incorporates Cherry Creek and a multi-use trail system into its central space. They fell victim to a narrowly-focused method of designing streets as conduits and Rof 2003). Since that time, many boulevards of the City Beautiful and urban parks movements have fallen into disrepair or been redesigned to a point of being unrecognizable. This engineering mentality persists today and is only recently beginning to be rethought due to a renewed interest in the vitality of urban areas and streets. Jacobs, Macdonald, and Rof point out that in Europe boulevards are still some of the most memorable urban places (Jacobs, Macdonald, and Rof 2003). Street Design in the 21st Century: Places For People, Not Just Cars In recent years, many discussions have arisen regarding how urban streets should be designed and used. Efforts have been gaining ground are more pedestrian-friendly and support a wider array of transport modes. Many designers, architects, planners, writers and activists have expressed dissatisfaction with conventional street building practices and unwalkable
20 cities, often channeling the words of Jane Jacobs in The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Bosselmann, Macdonald and Kronemeyer 1999; Hess 2009; Jacobs 1995; Jacobs 1961; Southworth and Eran 2003). The Congress for New Urbanism is working with the Institute for Transportation Engineers for urban roadways (Greenberg and Dock). Peter Calthorpe, a prominent commercial centers, and would allow for increased pedestrian connectivity and access. Calthorpes vision stresses the importance of multi-modal functionality on major urban roadways (Calthorpe 2002). Even more recently, the concept of tactical urbanism has emerged in San Francisco and New York, stressing short-term, budget-friendly methods of infusing pedestrian and social life into urban streets. Tactics include guerilla gardening, mobile food vendors such as trucks and carts, pop-up shops, cafes and events, chair bombing (building urban seating out of discarded shipping pallets), and simple Pavement-to-Parks improvements including painting and placement lanes (Lydon 2011). These methods have been successful in the era of budget constraints because of their deliberate, phased approach to instigating change; the offering of local solutions for local planning challenges; short-term commitment and realistic expectations; low-risks, with a possibly high reward; and the development of social capital between citizens and the building of for experimentation. (Lydon 2011, 1-2) This movement merges the practical with the social and aesthetic, and views the city as an interconnected system. As such, these contemporary innovations relate strongly to both urban planning and landscape architecture design. Landscape Architecture and the Boulevard According to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), landscape architecture is The science and art of design, planning, management and stewardship of the land. Landscape architecture involves natural and built elements,
21 to the end that the resulting environment serves a useful and enjoyable purpose. Successful landscape architecture maximizes use of the land, adds value to a project and minimizes costs, all with minimum disruption to nature. (ASLA) The art of designing outdoor space and arranging plants has been practiced around the world for centuries. Gardens were created to ameliorate climate conditions, for spiritual purposes, and for elaborate displays of wealth and landscape design as a civic art, expressed through the work of the Baroque French designer Andr Le Ntre, and again in the 19th century by the engineer Jean-Charles Alphand. The term landscape architect arose in the 1860s and was popularized by Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of many prominent public spaces in the United States (including New Yorks Central and Prospect Parks and Bostons Emerald Necklace, a chain of parks linked by parkways and waterways). Olmsted went on to design many public park and parkway systems around the United States, continually writing about the importance of open space in the city. He and others understood the value of injecting the but also for contributions to public health and safety. Contemporary landscape architecture concerns itself with much more than parks however. The profession has been recognized for many environmental projects such as land management, habitat restoration and ecological design. More recently landscape architecture is viewed as an integral means of envisioning and designing urban space while bringing new order to the sprawling, auto-centric development patterns of the mid-20th century. Landscape architects are seen literature tracing the evolution of the boulevard as a landscape architectural typology through Europe and America, as well contributions to improved public health and new theories about cities that may improve how we design human environments in the future. The Urban Boulevard of Europe Due to its nature as a heavily landscaped street encompassing generous architecture, and the design typology is discussed in much of the historical literature. Beginning in the late 16th century in Europe, ramparts and bastions between the city and the country were earthen walls planted with trees in an effort to conceal the precise edge of the city from the enemy. Because
22 the roots of large trees strengthened the embankments against breach this practice of tree-planting was supported by military engineers as well (Kostof 2003). These bastions were the armature that later became the treelined urban boulevards discussed previously as places for carriage-riding and promenading in the early 19th century. Even before their evolution into boulevards these shady, elevated embankments had become excellent places for strolling and viewing the country landscape beyond, a practice that continued long after the ramparts lost their urgency (Kostof 2003). Thus began the tradition of landscape and promenade as intertwined components of the boulevard. Prior to the conversion of outdated ramparts to strolling promenades, French landscape designers were developing planting patterns that would later designer Andr Le Ntre, principal gardener to King Louis XIV and designer of the park of the Palace of Versailles, is notable for his use of tree-lined pathways called alles. Eventually this design scheme was translated to urban streets. The Avenue des Tuileries in Paris, built in the 17th century, is an early example of Le Ntres foray into street design (Kostof 2003). This French Formalism gave us the famous urban boulevards of Paris, such as the Avenue des Champs-lyseslong, straight roadways planted with evenly spaced and completely symmetrical rows of trees. Jean-Charles and the chief landscape designer for the massive expansion of these Parisian boulevards in the 1860s under Haussmann (Kostof 2001; Loyer 1988). Alphand used classical planting designs similar to Le Ntres alles, dependent upon each boulevards width and use. He also developed a graphic convention describing the relation of the trees to the pedestrian and vehicular areas, as well as underground service networks and streetcar tracks. These graphic conventions are displayed beautifully as engraved illustrations in Alphands Les Promenades de Paris. To provide for the expansion and planting of the boulevards in Paris, the city ran nurseries to have mature trees available at all times (Kostof 2001, 2003; Loyer 1988). design around the world into modern times. Olmsted and Vauxs American Parkways Once the concept of a boulevard was imported to America it evolved
23 In Europe, the urban boulevard typically was divided into three sectional stripssidewalks, the roadway, and the rows of trees in between acting as a buffer and providing shade for pedestrians (Kostof 2003). In America, since the boulevard began as a connector between large parks, a median strip was integrated, separating directions of travel and providing additional landscaping and trees. Frederick Law Olmsted popularized this style of boulevard as a new type of residential street for American cities, with houses set back generously behind large, landscaped yards and dense rows of trees (Kostof 2003). Thus the boulevard of American cities (and typically suburbs) was less urbane and less commercial than its European predecessor. The boulevards of America are more commonly residential parkways though the terms are often used interchangeably. Olmsted and his partner Calvert Vaux saw the creation of parks and the boulevards that connected them as an antidote to the ills of the industrial city. Olmsted believed strongly in the ameliorating power of trees in the city. He envisioned cities purchasing land on the edges of town while affordable, anticipating future growth, and creating wide boulevards with landscaped medians and as many trees as possible to cleanse the air and the scene of the city (Olmsted 1870). To Olmsted, nature had dramatic healing potential, and this ideal was evident in his lush design for American boulevards such as Brooklyns Eastern and Ocean Parkways (Olmsted 1870; Rogers 2001). They envisioned these boulevards system (Rogers 2001, 347) and planted them lushly with a variety of trees and shrubs set amid large lawns, reminiscent of the landscapes of England that Olmsted had fallen in love with as a young man (Rogers 2001). In his plan for Buffalo, New York, Olmsted lays out the ideals behind the creation of a parkway system and even goes on to predict a rise in property values along them if built (Olmsted 1888). These new boulevards and parkways, and the parks they connected exemplify an American interpretation of the English Picturesque, and a vast departure from the formality of French landscape design. Olmsted believed it was tranquility that was of utmost importance to his landscapesa relaxing escape from the chaos of the cityand this is architecture for decades (Olmsted 1870). This is the model that inspired the creation of Denvers parkway system in the early 1900s. Landscape Architecture and Public Health Landscape architecture and urban planning must come together to address the growing epidemic of lifestyle diseases, such as obesity and heart disease,
24 by creating multi-modal streets to encourage active transportation choices such as walking and bicycling. The connection between the design of the built environment and the public health is emerging as an issue of primary concern for contemporary landscape architects. There is recent literature on the connection between landscape architecture and public health. As the profession continues to gain popularity and greater prominence this connection is sure to be strengthened. Landscape architecture did historically, improving public health in the mid-19th century. It was widely believed that nature (even in designed form) could be the antidote to the ills of urbanity. New York especially was facing an explosion of population and crowding was leading to widespread disease in the city (Rogers 2001). Olmsted and Vaux believed that access to green space and nature held the key to alleviating the public health concerns of the large metropolis. Today, landscape architecture is regarded as a discipline able to bridge complex global concerns and study how settlement patterns, transportation modes, water quality, etc., relate to the ramifying problems of public health in an urbanizing world. (Fisher 2010) Multi-modal streets that encourage activities other than driving will be integral to achieving improved public health and social wellbeing as they account for the largest amount of public space in all cities. Furthermore, there is well-documented research on the correlations between the sedentary lifestyles created by urban sprawl and health risks such as obesity and heart disease (Fisher 2010). As cities grow and redevelop streets will play a primary role in promoting activity and health, and can become places for strolling and socializing like the boulevards of the past. Landscape Urbanism The renewed interest in cities in America and a relative lack of cooperation between the disciplines of landscape architecture and urban planning in the past has given rise to a movement known as Landscape Urbanism. As Landscape Urbanism describes a disciplinary realignment currently underway in which landscape replaces architecture as the basic building block of contemporary urbanism. For many, across a range of disciplines, landscape has become both the lens through which the contemporary city is represented and the medium through which it is constructed. (Waldheim 2006) designing the built environment by fundamentally shifting the model of how
25 we typically build cities. As Waldheim and others explain, landscape begins to mean much more than just parks, gardens, and the wilderness outside of cities. The literature describes the modern landscape as freeways, residential exurbs, toxic waste sites, and all urban infrastructure (Waldheim 2006). Though it remains to be seen how this new ideology will impact future street design, it represents a new approach to collaboration between landscape architecture and urban planning that could have important The American West: 19th Century Frontier Individualism and 20th Century Urbanization thesis is about crafting a contextually-sensitive and contemporary boulevard for a post-industrial city in the high plains of the American West. This semiarid region has a unique ecology and social ideology from which its settlement history cannot be divorced, though it can easily be veiled. It is important to engage this ecology and history to build a truly unique urban design response that not only engages Denvers diverse residents and visitors, but also uses public space to forge a visible identity for a city that, as the literature reveals, has a history of identifying with a different climate and narrative. Settling the American West Jerome Steffen presents an intriguing and thorough review of the settlement history of the vast region known as the American west. In his work, he describes a complex landscape with an intricate ecology that can be easily overlooked for its appearance of simplicity (Steffen 1979). In fact, this simple landscape with its seemingly endless sunlight and harsh climate is often discarded as a desert not worth inhabiting. As Steffen describes, Initially the homesteaders avoided the mid-continent grasslands. They believed that the region was a desert, unable to support anything but the prairie grass, since it could not support trees. They called the prairie the Great Obstacle. The expansion of civilization earlier in Europe and later in the eastern United States had almost always been in heavily forested country. The initial civilizing task had been to clear out the excess trees in order to plant domestic crops. Hence the settler who arrived on the western plains was truly a stranger in a strange land. To him
26 the grasslands were desolate because of the lack of trees and water, excessive heat and cold, interminable winds, and thick matted grass that grew in a heavy, unmanageable soil. (Steffen 1979, 17) It is important to note that these new settlers had no desire to maintain the grasslands as they found them. Their motives lay in transforming them into rich agricultural land. In a relatively short time, the settlers did indeed transform the grasslands from a landscape of rich and varied ecology to something far more simple and uniform (Steffen 1979). The high plains whitemans purposes. (Steffen 1979, 18) representations of the land. He refers to two common fallacies of frontier (Steffen 1979, 19), and that the land was a perpetual cornucopia, unchanged and unchanging throughout American history (Steffen 1979, 20). In truth, the frontier landscape has been consistently managed and exploited, and it is the ability of man to break into the dynamic processes of the grasslands and coax a hyperactive production that has supported the equally hyperactive industrial development of the United States (Steffen 1979, 24). These incorrect notions of the frontiers history and settlement remain part of a primary myth of American history to this day. Furthermore, the frontier was an urban frontier. Prior to subsistence and commercial farming settlements, the American West developed a network of towns functioning as the spearheads of settlement and thus as the generators of development. (Steffen 1979, 176) In his informative description of Western urban development, Steffen compares the development of cities in the West to that of cities in the East. Cities in both regions resulted from exploitation for private gain. The difference, according to Steffen and others, was that Western cities developed in the shadow of an already developed national network of urban places, much as Eastern cities attempted to link to London and Paris in their early development (Steffen 1979, 178). Because of their development as hubs of service industries and dumping grounds for Eastern manufactured goods (Steffen 1979, 182), Western cities may be considered uniquely Western in their similarity to each other and the distinct form and institutions created by such industries. There is little correlation to the actual landscape because Western cities, in particular, developed as hubs of exploitation and competition. Additionally, because Western cities were born during the era of increasing industrialization their character is different
27 from that of Eastern cities. Western cities tend to follow a very similar grid layout, unaffected by natural features. Never walking cities, they have visually more coordinated form and layouts that are less varied and are imitative rather than original. Few unexpected vistas surprise the traveler or resident of these urban places. Little in the way of new discoveries, unexpected visual experiences, or the confusion of tangled pathways and new byways is possible in cities created to serve land speculators, streetcars, and automobiles. No overwhelming past is present in the cities of the American Westexcept in the preindustrial-age San Franciscoto give them a character and style similar to those of eastern American urban places. The similarity that does exist is due to the pace at which eastern urban places are rooting out their pasts in duplication of the modernism of the western cities. (Steffen 1979, 186-87) Though Steffen takes a rather critical and sometimes cynical view of urban development, his points are nonetheless valid. The uniqueness of Western urban areas can perhaps be found in the physical similarities of a network of cities developed after industrialization as a means of exploitation and speculation: a sprawling and low-density, grid-based urban form, with little recognition of the truly unique environmental factors that affect Western cities. Aside from their urban form, all Western cities share a semi-arid to arid current levels of demand and use. As we move further into the era of postindustrialization and resource scarcity perhaps the time has come to make identity-building and context-sensitivity a high priority for urban design and development. Mining and Railroads Build a City South Platte River and Cherry Creek in 1858, spurring the creation of multiple settlements battling for recognition on the harsh landscape of the high plains. In 1860, a year before the creation of the Colorado Territory, the rival villages of Auraria and Denver agreed to consolidate, ending the separate existence of Auraria as population and stagecoach service were heading to Denver Eventually an entire network of railroads were laid connecting the town to
28 main line in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In their history of Denvers development, Leonard and Noel state, More than any other factor, this spiderweb of steel explains Denvers nineteenth-century transformation from mining camp to a regional metropolis. (Leonard and Noel 1991, 39) The railroads brought a percent during the 1870s (Leonard and Noel 1991). The thousands of settlers who had passed by the Front Range region in the 1830s and 1840s en route to Oregon had referred to it as The Great American Desertthat wasteland between the 100th Meridian and the mountains (Dorsett and McCarthy 1986, Prologue). Through most of the mid19th century, Denver remained a wild, unruly, and lawless town due primarily to its location on the high plains and its less-than-welcoming climate. Many settlers came to Colorado searching for money and the pleasures it would buy in the game rooms, brothels, and saloons (Dorsett and McCarthy 1986, 48). The landscape was harsh and dry, and Denver embraced the rough and tumble lawlessness of the frontier through the 1860s and 1870s. The arrival of the railroads brought investors from the east interested in city building, as well as with an unlikely group: health settlers lured by Colorados arid climate, ideal for people suffering from asthma, tuberculosis, and other pulmonary diseases (Dorsett and McCarthy 1986). With 100 trains per week coming through Denver by the 1880s, Denverites proudly began bragging of their dusty little city as The Queen City of the Plains. (Leonard and Noel 1991) An Identity Crisis It is of interest to this project that Denver suffers from what many writers and bloggers have called an identity crisis. As local blogger John David Punch says, Denver wants to be like other big cities with all their cultural attractions, big events, progressiveness, etc., etc., etc., and in order to be like everyone else, Denver seems to want to shed its western heritage in favor of more sophisticated things. This is nothing new. Braggadocio is growth and development. A correspondent from the Peoria Evening Call once remarked that streetcars ran two or three miles into the country to keep up the image of a vast city, and that residents could somehow sugarcoat the alkali-laden dust storms that frequently blanketed the city as never
29 began laying out streets and lots prior to the arrival of new settlers, though eventually they came. Cultural institutions and millionaire mansions began to shift the center of the city to the east towards Broadway to distance this new image of grandeur from the undesirable urban elements of the river bottoms (now Lower Downtown) (Leonard and Noel 1991). As a symbol of the citys new pride, developer Henry C. Brown named Broadway after New Yorks Broadway (Goodstein 1994). Denvers new elite, ever interested in keeping up appearances, desired a grand and beautiful city in the spirit of the lush Eastern cities they had left. In 1867, John W. Smith built the City Ditch and initiated the greening of Denver with lawns, gardens, and trees on the edge of the Great American Desert. (Leonard and Noel 1991, 49) While the Eastern elite wanted a familiar landscape, they were happy to avoid the crowded nature of their departed cities. These new Denverites did not like close urban quarters. (Leonard and Noel 1991, 54) In the late 19th century, streetcar networks began to reach across the prairie and the city sprawled horizontally, setting a growth pattern that the automobile would accelerate in the twentieth century. (Leonard and Noel 1991, 54) The burgeoning city prided, and even marketed itself as having mile after mile and Noel 1991, 54) As a booming metropolis, Denver embraced the vastness and idealism of the West evidenced by its development patterns, but has consistently struggled to come to grips with its own urbanity by ignoring and abandoning the city core for greener pastures on the prairie. These pastures themselves were out of place in a semi-arid desert and would not have been possible without human engineering. Leonard and Noel offer this summarizing observation of Denvers image problem in regard to modern urban development: parking lots and freeways; prairies blossomed with shopping malls and subdivisions. (Leonard and Noel 1991, 253) ideas about urbanization, identity and landscape since the days of the gold rush. Summary The boulevard has been an important component of city building for landscape architecture. Urban areas in the United States are enjoying
30 Broadway: A Contextual Overview Situated as the cultural and economic center of Colorados Front Range, Denver provides a unique environment for the study of boulevards and multimodal street design in the American West. Denver currently has several major boulevards, though it is of consequence to this study that these streets are boulevards in name only. Speer Boulevard is a product of the City Beautiful movement of the early 1900s and is designed in the Baroque European tradition, but lacks the urbane qualities of many recognizable boulevards such as the Avenue des Champs-lyses in Paris or Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. because a majority of buildings turn their backs to the street. Though Speer Boulevard slices across the urban fabric as a major diagonal, similar to Haussmanns Parisian boulevards, it is heavily landscaped in the style of Olmstedian parkways and does not pass through the civic heart of the city. Rather, Speer Boulevard bypasses the central business district and civic core and provides access between I-25 and the southeastern neighborhoods of Denver. Colorado and Federal Boulevards through the city, but these roads skirt the edges of the city limits and are lined predominantly with automobile-oriented strip development. Neither street passes through the urban and civic districts of Broadway. Lastly, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in northeast Denver is a quintessential American boulevard in form, including a tree-lined median and lined almost serious conversations about the role that streets can and should play in future development. My argument throughout this project however, is that the boulevard as we know it has not adapted to changing social patterns or geographical context beyond its initial arrival in America. If the City of Denver wishes to create a truly Grand Boulevardan identity-shaper for the Front Range metropolisthere should be serious conversation about how to reinterpret the historic typology. Denver is not Paris, nor is it Long Island. While certain structural elements of boulevard design are integral to the function of such processional streets, many qualities need to be rethought to be most appropriate for a post-industrial American city in the semi-arid plains of the West: a city without a military past, but with its own unique history, culture, and ecology. Denver should strive to build upon these qualities instead of disguising them under the veil of Eastern tradition.
31 entirely by single-family houses, yet also is not a true urban boulevard. None of Denvers existing boulevards offer the key physical components of procession, of vista, of ceremony, nor do they exhibit the urbanity and density of use necessary to consider them true boulevards. All three offer incredible potential for unique multi-modal transformation, yet only Broadway traverses the diversity of urban districts to make it Denvers ceremonial civic spine. Broadways route through central Denver and Civic Center, its public prominence as the citys north-south main street, and its designation as a Grand Boulevard (City and County of Denver 2007) make it the most relevant site for this study. mining rush, the Denver region boomed because of transcontinental transportation. The Front Range metropolitan area is one of the oldest urban spaces in the Intermountain West, having established itself in the 1870s and 1880s as the dominant transshipment point between the Midwest and California. (Brookings 2008b) In the 1960s Interstate 70 enhanced Denvers role as a strategic hub along a transcontinental highway route. This highway is still the conduit of arrival for thousands of visitors and residents traveling to the city from Denver International Airport. It is also the subject of much debate as the for freight and automobile transportation, and is simultaneously embarking on massive efforts to expand public transportation infrastructure through a voter-approved program known as FasTracks. As stated by the Regional Transportation District (RTD), transit expansion plan to build 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit, 21,000 new parking spaces at light rail and bus stations, and enhance bus service for easy, convenient bus/rail connections across the eight-county district. (rtd-fastracks.com) Furthermore, in 2007 voters passed the Better Denver Bond Program a roads. (Denvergov.org) This bond initiative will result in the reconstruction of several key arterials within urban Denver (including Broadway directly south of this study area), while freight and passenger rail development will continue to transform the urban character of the rapidly growing region.
32 Rapid population growth and increasing urbanization are having profound impacts on how people live, work and move through the Front Range. The metro area has added almost 1.3 million new residents since 1990 and is projected to grow by nearly 70 percent by 2040 (Brookings 2008b). Additionally, Metropolitan Denver is reemerging as one of 20 st-century gateways for immigrant arrivals (Brookings 2008b), contributing to a more diverse and cosmopolitan population. Due to the geographical and ecological density, requiring a greater emphasis on multi-modal transportation. As the population swells, redesigning the Front Ranges transportation infrastructure to accommodate various modes of travel will prove imperative to the regions continued economic success. From an ideological perspective, the opposition between ideals of the old West and the increasingly urban values of the new West provides a unique stage for conducting a study on street design and function in central Denver. Historically, Denver and the rest of the American West have embodied the quintessential image of the frontier as found in countless cultural narratives spirit. Consequently, this every man for himself mentality and seemingly endless prairie contributed to the sprawling development patterns of much of the 20th century. Though a traditionally horizontal city, Denver and the Front Range are now faced with a conundrum of values: growing up into a truly cosmopolitan, urbane city while maintaining a uniquely Western essence. Resource scarcity, especially issues surrounding water supply, will further exacerbate the regions challenges in the 21st century. Along with its designation as Grand Boulevard (City and County of Denver 2007) by Downtown Denver leaders, Broadways public prominence, recognition, and importance as a transportation corridor in the metropolitan area offer the ideal scenario for this study. Broadway is Denvers north-south main street, traveling from Interstate 70 (as Brighton Boulevard) at the citys northern boundary to Highlands Ranch in the far southern suburbs. Along the northern section, Broadway provides access to the Coliseum, the emerging River North Arts District and Ballpark neighborhood, and the Downtown grid of Downtown and creates various unique and challenging intersections for both motorists and pedestrians. The intersection of Broadway and
33Fig. 2.1 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH OF CIVIC CENTER, Google Earth; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Google Earth < http://maps.google.com > Fig. 2.2 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH OF DOWNTOWN DENVERS TWO STREET GRIDS, Google Earth; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Google Earth < http:// maps.google.com > 20th Street is an integral fulcrum for the street due to the shift in city grids. th Street. South of this point Broadway skyscrapers, and crossing a monument to the City Beautiful movement, the Civic Center complex, which includes the Colorado State Capitol, Denver City and County Building, and various museums and cultural institutions. It is here that Broadway intersects with Denvers other main street, Colfax Avenue, forming the nexus of public transit in the city at the 16th Street Mall and Civic Center Station. This intersection is physically and culturally the heart of the city (though interestingly it is not the center of street numbering systems). Colfax Avenue is also designated as a Grand Boulevard in the 2007 Downtown Area Plan and is popularly considered to be Denvers true main street. This study focuses on Broadway not only because of the diverse urban neighborhoods it traverses, but also because of the potential for future with less potential for major transformations in density in the near future, and neighborhoods.
34 Broadway: Photo Survey and Existing Conditions Analysis Broadway is Denvers north-south main street and passes through some of the most vibrant and visible parts of the city. The study area for this project is along Broadway and Brighton Boulevard between I-70 on the north and I-25 on the south. This study area is 5.8 miles in length and also includes Fig. 2.3 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH OF BROADWAY, Google Earth; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Google Earth < http://maps.google.com >. Fig. 2.4 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH OF BROADWAY, Google Earth; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Google Earth < http://maps.google.com >. Furthermore, Broadway passes directly through Civic Center and alongside many important cultural institutions and museums, whereas Colfax skirts its edge of this district. The combination of these elements sets up Broadway to be the citys true civic spine. Further south, Broadway traverses some of Denvers most popular entertainment districts including the Golden Triangle and South Broadway/Baker district. Beyond this study area and south of Interstate 25, Broadway traverses the suburban cities of Englewood, Littleton, and Highlands Ranch. The stretch of Broadway from Interstate 25 to the southern city limits is in the process of reconstruction and revitalization into a more typical boulevard, complete with planted median, trees, and common streetscape amenities. The study area of this project, from I-70 to I-25, has the potential to become a truly memorable civic spinea unique new urban boulevard for a continually evolving western city.
Fig. 2.5 PROJECT STUDY AREA35
Fig. 2.8 BRIGHTON BOULEVARD EXISTING STREET SECTION NORTH OF 31ST STREET36 the street right-of-way as well as some additional future developable space alongside the street. The street right-of-way refers to the property of the street, including travel lanes, curbs, pedestrian zones, and landscape strips that is owned and maintained by the City and County of Denver. This section will provide an overview of existing conditions along Broadway/ Brighton Boulevard, including street right-of-way, street functionality, adjacent land uses, and issues and challenges, moving from north to south. Beginning at I-70 in north Denver, Brighton Boulevard travels southwest parallel to the South Platte River. A large majority of this section of the street is unimproved and travels through a mostly light industrial low-density part of the city. A short stretch of the street between I-70 and 44th Street has been recently reconstructed with curbs and sidewalks and has a 100-foot rightof-way. Between 44th and 31st Streets Brighton Boulevard is unimproved and lacks curbs, gutters, and sidewalks. The right-of-way in this section is approximately 70 feet. South of 31st Street Brighton Boulevard has been Fig. 2.6 STREET VIEW PHOTOGRAPH OF BRIGHTON BOULEVARD, Google Earth; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Google Earth < http://maps.google. com >. Fig. 2.7 STREET VIEW PHOTOGRAPH OF BRIGHTON BOULEVARD, Google Earth; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Google Earth < http://maps.google. com >.
Fig. 2.10 DENARGO MARKET CONCEPTUAL MASTER PLAN, Design Workshop; Accessed Dec. 30, 2011 from Curits Park Neighbors < http://www. curtispark.com >.37 improved with curbs, gutters, and sidewalks. The right-of-way between 31st and 29th Streets is 80 feet. Intersections have ADA-accessible curb ramps but lack painted crosswalks. Sidewalks are 11 feet and attached to the back of curb (e.g. there is no landscape strip). Land use along Brighton Boulevard between I-70 and 29th Street is primarily one-story light industrial and warehouse. There has been a recent proliferation of medical marijuana operations. Additional uses include the Denver Coliseum at Brighton and I-70 and a gas station at Brighton and 31st Street. Several vacant lots exist, and as of this writing there are two residential complexes being constructed along this section of Brighton at 31st Street and 32nd Street. These developments will bring several hundred new residents to an otherwise industrial part of north Denver and will greatly change the character of the street. Where development does occur, improvements to the street are made including the installation of curbs, gutters, and sidewalks. At 29th Street Brighton Boulevard widens to a 100-foot right-of-way with 20foot sidewalks on both sides. The street curves to the south and passes underneath the railroads just west of Blake Street. At this point, the Blake Street viaduct, the street changes names from Brighton Boulevard to Broadway and continues due south through the city. At 29th Street and of this high-density development recently broke ground and will eventually Fig. 2.9 STREET VIEW PHOTOGRAPH OF BLAKE STREET VIADUCT, Google Earth; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Google Earth < http://maps.google.com >.
38 include 2000 to 2500 residential units, 125,000 to 200,000 square feet of commercial space, and several new parks and plazas. A new access street to Brighton will be constructed between 29th Street and the Blake Street viaduct. signal (City and County of Denver). From the Blake Street viaduct south Broadway maintains a continuous 100foot right-of-way through the extent of the study area. The street has 22-foot sidewalks, four travel lanes (two in either direction), and a center turning lane. There is no parking on this section of Broadway. Between the viaduct and 20th Street Broadway has been recently reconstructed in concrete. Several intersections have new pedestrian bulb-outs to minimize the crossing distance Street trees exist between the viaduct and Larimer Street but not between Larimer and 20th Streets. This section of Broadway bisects the diagonal downtown street grid creating small triangular parcels at many intersections that are owned and maintained by the City and County of Denver. Several of these triangular parcels have new public art installations. The larger triangular parcel between Broadway, Lawrence Street, and Park Avenue is next to several homeless shelters and food pantries and is used primarily by people waiting for shelter for the night. This has increased public perception of Broadway as a barrier between downtown and Curtis Park as many people feel the area is unsafe, especially at night. Redevelopment in this part of the Fig. 2.11 BROADWAY AT LARIMER Fig. 2.12 BROADWAY AT PARK
39 city will certainly face challenges due to the concentration of social services. Between the viaduct and 20th Street adjacent land uses include a mix of retail, social services, graphic design and printing services, low-income housing, and bars. Just off Broadway to the west are numerous surface parking lots serving downtown workers and Coors Field. To the east is the Curtis Park neighborhood with many single-family houses, new rowhouses, public housing developments, an elementary school, and an urban farm. This section of Broadway functions primarily as a local arterial street and has th Street are very busy since both streets provide direct connections between I-25 and the east Denver neighborhoods of Five Points, Uptown, City Park, and Capitol Hill. At 20th onto 20th Street and then onto Broadway to continue north towards I-70. Fig. 2.13 BROADWAY AT PARK EXISTING STREET SECTION Fig. 2.14 Jeffrey Beall, 20TH & WELTON STATION, Wikipedia; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Wikipedia < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20th/Welton_(RTD) >. Fig. 2.15 LIGHT RAIL SYSTEM MAP, Regional Transportation District (RTD); Accessed April 3, 2012 from RTD < http://www.rtd-denver.com/LightRail_Map. shtml >.
Fig. 2.16 BROADWAY AT 17TH Fig. 2.17 CIVIC CENTER STATION40 lanes, and parallel parking on both sides between 20th and 17th Streets. South of 20th Street the adjacent land use changes dramatically to high-rise commercial and residential. Adjacent buildings range from 20to 40-stories. Between 20th and 18th Street there are several large surface parking lots. The Central Corridor light rail line cross Broadway at Welton Street and a station exists on Welton between Broadway and 20th Street. This line connects the Five Points neighborhood and Downing Street corridor to the Southeast and Southwest light rail lines. The section of Broadway between 20th and 13th Streets has a high level of pedestrian activity, especially on weekdays. Many bus routes traveling through downtown follow 17th Street to Broadway and continue south. Regional commuter buses use Civic Center Station at Broadway and Colfax Avenue. Bus stops on Broadway between 17th Street and Colfax Avenue have a high number of passenger boardings during the weekday rush hours. Weekends also see high pedestrian, concentrated mostly on the 16th Street Mall. The Free MallRide shuttle crosses Broadway at 16th Street and turns around in Civic Center Station. This is one of the busiest parts of the city and this part of Broadway has much higher pedestrian use than any other. After crossing Colfax Avenue, the citys other main street, Broadway enters Civic Center Park. This formally designed City Beautiful-era park encompasses the blocks between Colfax and 14th Avenues, and Bannock
Fig. 2.18 BROADWAY AT 17TH EXISTING STREET SECTION Fig. 2.19 BROADWAY AT 12TH EXISTING STREET SECTION41 and Lincoln Streets. The Denver City and County Building anchors the west end directly opposite the Colorado State Capitol on the east end. This park features turf grass lawns and many large trees, and is the site of most major festivals and events throughout the year. The blocks of Broadway between 17th Street and 14th routes to the Grant/Logan couplet three blocks east. On-street parking is not permitted between 17th Street and 14th Avenue on Broadway. Between 14th
Fig. 2.20 BROADWAY AT 12TH Fig. 2.21 BROADWAY AT 11TH Fig. 2.22 BROADWAY AT 10TH Fig. 2.23 BROADWAY AT SPEER42 and 12th Avenue adjacent land uses include large cultural institutions such as the Denver Public Library, the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, History These buildings range from 4 to 15 stories. The street right-of-way is still 100 feet and includes 11-foot sidewalks, consistent through the remainder of the study area to I-25. The remainder of
Fig. 2.24 BROADWAY AT 6TH Fig. 2.25 BROADWAY AT 3RD43 level of bicycle use. Many cyclists that do use Broadway ride on the sidewalks due to the high speed of vehicles on the street. Especially south of Speer to travel much faster than the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit en route to I-25. Land use between 12th Avenue and Speer Boulevard consists of a diverse Broadway has a large number of bars, nightclubs, and event spaces. Sports th Avenue and a Tonys Market grocery store between 10th and 9th Avenues. Most structures moderate, and is higher in the evenings as people patronize the area nightlife. Between Speer Boulevard and 3rd Avenue, land use along Broadway is primarily retail and automobile-oriented. Buildings range from one to three stories. Many businesses in this section have large parking lots in front or on the side. There are several car washes and gas stations and minimal Between 3rd and Alameda Avenues is the South Broadway district, characterized by a dense mix of retail, restaurant, theater, and nightlife uses.
Fig. 2.26 BROADWAY AT 3RD Fig. 2.27 BROADWAY AT 2ND Fig. 2.28 BROADWAY AT 1ST Fig. 2.29 BROADWAY AT ARCHER44 This area has a higher level of pedestrian use than many other sections of Broadway, especially in the evenings. Buildings are primarily one or two stories and mostly front the sidewalks with parking in the rear. This section of Broadway is between the two dense residential neighborhoods of Baker and Speer and is the most pedestrian-oriented stretch of the street. South of Alameda Avenue and continuing to I-25, Broadway becomes largely automobile-oriented again. On the east side of the street are one-story
Fig. 2.30 DENVER DESIGN DISTRICT SITE PLAN, D4 Urban LLC; Accessed Dec. 30, 2011 from D4 Urban < http://d4urban.com/our-projects/ >. Fig. 2.31 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH OF BROADWAY MARKETPLACE, Google Earth; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Google Earth < http://maps.google.com >. Fig. 2.32 MULTI-USE PATHS: PEDESTRIAN AND BIKE CONNECTIONS, City and County of Denver; Accessed Dec. 30, 2011 from City and County of Denver < http://www.denvergov.org/southbroadwayi25/ tabid/379069/default.aspx >. Fig. 2.33 BROADWAY WESLEY TO YALE, Frank Miltenberger Landscape Architect; Accessed April 3, 2012 from FMLA < http://fmlandscapearchitect.com/ index.php?p=1_2_Streetscapes >.45
retail storefronts and several fast-food drive-ins. On the west side of the street is the Broadway Marketplace shopping center and the Denver Design District. The Broadway Marketplace is a suburban-style large-format retail shopping center with large surface parking lots. A few smaller buildings front Broadway but are mostly oriented towards the parking areas behind them. Behind the larger retailers is the Alameda light rail station, and further south the Broadway light rail station just south of I-25. The Denver Design District is a development of oneand two-story buildings fronting side streets off of Broadway and housing furniture and interior design wholesale and retail uses. This section of the street has a very low level of pedestrian use and redevelopment of the Broadway Marketplace and Denver Design District is proposed and will most likely be pending improved market conditions. This redevelopment will include up to 3000 residences, 350 hotel rooms, 200,000 square feet of educational space. This redevelopment will vastly change the west side of Broadway and may greatly increase the pedestrian use of this section of the street. Additionally, the interchange with I-25 will be reorganized and reconstructed in the near future. This reconstruction will streamline the freeway ramp network, create more regularized intersections, and provide better connectivity to the Broadway light rail station for pedestrians and cyclists. It will also tie in to the newly reconstructed Broadway south of I-25 that features raised planted medians, bulb outs, seating, pedestrian-scale lighting, and landscaping. 46
47 SECTION 3 DESIGN PROPOSAL A Summary of the 2007 Downtown Area Plan The 2007 Downtown Area Plan The study area for this thesis project follows the Broadway and Brighton Boulevard corridor from I-70 on the north to I-25 and the Broadway light rail station on the south. This site was chosen because of the 2007 Downtown Area Plans Grand Boulevard recommendation and because the street is a major link to the regional freeway network, passing through several large Areas of Change as outlined in Blueprint Denver, the Citys comprehensive land use and transportation planning document. The City and County of Denver and Downtown Denver Partnernships 2007 Downtown Area Plan Broadway, Colfax Avenue, Park Avenue, Speer Boulevard, and Auraria The 2007 Downtown Area Plan is envisioned as a tool to help community leaders, decision makers, and citizens build the communitys vision of a livable, healthy, sustainable and vibrant Downtown. (City and County of Denver 2007, 1) The plan builds upon the 1986 Downtown Area Plan by updating the communitys vision, as well as outlining revised goals and recommendations for the downtown area. The plan was published in July of 2007 and spearheaded by the City and County of Denvers Community Planning and Development department and the Downtown Denver Partnership. It was Goltsman, Inc. and Progressive Urban Management Associates. Additional services were provided by Fehr and Peers Transportation Consultants, UrbanTrans Consultants, Inc., and Carl Walker, Inc. The preparers acknowledge that many of the conditions affecting downtown have changed
48 Downtown Denver one of the most livable places in the world. (City and County of Denver 2007, 1) Organizationally, the plan is divided into three sections: A Strategy Framework, Plan Strategies and Projects, and District Strategies. A Strategy Framework discusses accomplishments, challenges, and opportunities for downtown, the vision elements, and outlines seven goals for the downtown core: a prosperous city, a walkable city, a diverse city, a distinctive city, and a green city. Lastly, District Strategies recommends Preparers of this plan conducted four planning phases over a 15-month period including: an existing conditions assessment, downtown visioning, More than 2000 participants shared their input in the creation of the plan and various outreach events took place throughout the process. The 2007 Downtown Area Plan created a study area boundary that encompasses 1800 acres and is divided into eight districts. Each district is addressed in detail in the third section of the plan. The districts are: Commercial Core Cultural Core Golden Triangle Auraria Lower Downtown (LoDo) Central Platte Valley Ballpark Arapahoe Square The plan recognizes that the relationship between these districts and the surrounding areas is a key factor in devising strategies for implementation. The Grand Boulevard recommendation is one of these strategies. As the plan states, Planning for these districts involves careful consideration of the and County of Denver 2007, 4) Additionally, Blueprint Denver the citywide accommodate the highest future densities and widest mix of uses as the city grows and develops (City and County of Denver 2002). Several of the Grand Downtown Area Plan, including Broadway, pass
49 Fig. 3.1 DISRICT AND TRANSITION AREA MAP, Downtown Denver Area Plan; Accessed Dec. 30, 2011 from City and County of Denver < http://www.denvergov.com/Planning/CompletedPlans/DowntownAreaPlan/tabid/431886/ Default.aspx >.through these Areas of Change. The Broadway and Brighton Boulevard corridor north of 20th Street lies almost entirely within one of these areas of expected future growth. The development concept and framework for the entire plan includes a network of Grand Boulevards. The plan states: The wide, auto-oriented barriers of Speer, Colfax, Broadway, Park
50 Fig. 3.2 AREAS OF CHANGE, Downtown Denver Area Plan; Accessed Dec. 30, 2011 from City and County of Denver < http://www.denvergov.com/Planning/CompletedPlans/DowntownAreaPlan/tabid/431886/Default.aspx >.Avenue and Auraria Parkway are addressed through pedestrian improvements and development that is brought to the street edge. These grand boulevards link three major activity nodes in Downtown: the evolving Arapahoe Square/Ballpark area, an urbanizing Auraria district, and a strengthened Civic Center. (City and County of Denver 2007, 10) The application of this Grand Boulevard designation is primarily a means through which to address mobility and perceptual barriers between the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, as well as linking key activity nodes within the central city. These boulevards are intended to evolve into high-density, mixed-use corridors with more plentiful pedestrian amenities, smoother crossings, and higher transit and bicycle use, blending more seamlessly from downtown into the adjacent neighborhoods. Based on information collected from the early planning and community engagement phases, the writers of the plan suggest strategies to make downtown prosperous, walkable, diverse, distinctive, and green. Each of
51 within each of the eight districts. Additionally, seven transformative projects the plan. These transformative projects are: Energizing the Commercial Core, Building on Transit, Grand Boulevards, Embracing Adjacent Neighborhoods, Connecting Auraria, Downtowns New Neighborhood: Arapahoe Square, and A Rejuvenated Civic Center. The organization of the plan is helpful in understanding the individual strategies the City and Downtown Denver Partnership hope to accomplish through future planning initiatives. Additionally, the transformative projects lend clarity to the writers goals and objectives. The Grand Boulevards One page is dedicated to describing the transformative project of creating Grand Boulevards in the Downtown Area Plan, though this strategy is mentioned in several other areas. As stated in the plan, the goal of this project is to: Transform Speer Boulevard, Colfax Avenue, Broadway, Park Avenue and Auraria Parkway into celebrated, multimodal boulevards to overcome the physical and perceptual barriers of these major thoroughfares. (City and County of Denver 2007, 26) The plan explains that this project is important as an opportunity to expand and facilitate personal interactions. (City and County of Denver 2007, 26) In addition, these streets should provide a memorable experience that is comfortable, safe and attractive for all users. (City and County of Denver 2007, 26) The plan then outlines six policies, projects, and programs for implementing and prioritizing the creation of these Grand Boulevards: 1. Apply urban design concepts to distinguish the grand boulevards: align building facades with the street; scale buildings to the width of the street; orient active uses to the boulevard; consider unique features such as the green triangles created by the intersecting Downtown and City street grids; and improve access to and visibility of Cherry Creek from Speer 2. Provide safe and attractive pedestrian crossings of Speer; give 3. Complete a plan for Speer Boulevard that enhances it as an historic parkway location for quality development, and a truly great street.
52 Fig. 3.3 GRAND BOULEVARDS, Downtown Denver Area Plan; Accessed Dec. 30, 2011 from City and County of Denver < http://www.denvergov.com/Planning/CompletedPlans/DowntownAreaPlan/tabid/431886/Default.aspx >.
53 4. Design and construct Broadway north of 20th as a green boulevard as recommended in the Downtown Multimodal Access Plan. 5. Enhance pedestrian crossings of East and W est Colfax to provide good connections within the Cultural Core district. 6. to the unique context and environment of each street. (City and County of Denver 2007, 26) The Grand Boulevards section of the plan also provides several images of famous boulevards around the world, such as the Champs-Elyses in Paris, and makes general statements about the physical character and scale of these streets that make them enjoyable places to be. Summary The designation of Grand Boulevards in the 2007 Downtown Area Plan is an on the physical design of these streets in the future. However, this plan is only a vision for downtown, and not, in any sense, a binding document. It is for pedestrians to cross, lengthening the perceived proximity of downtown to many nearby residents in neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill and Curtis Park, yet the plan only outlines general recommendations for how to redesign each street to accomplish these goals. There will likely be many challenges to by the recent reconstruction of Broadway from 20th Street to Park Avenue using concrete (a 30-year minimum lifespan). Policy #6 is precisely where the impetus for this thesis project originated, as each Grand Boulevard will require a unique and contextually appropriate design recommendation. It is within this policy that the real opportunity lies to create memorable and transformational spaces that do more than just break for the city, and guidelines for their design and implementation should be crafted with this in mind.
54 Interview Findings Interview Structure An important means of obtaining data for this research was through semimunicipal plans regarding street design in Denver, and designers with expertise in streets and other public spaces. As discussed in Section 1: Research Design the interviews addressed the following topics: the practitioners role in their current position and their role in street design in greater Denver; the relevance of and challenges to creating new public space typology, the role of the Grand Boulevards within the city, and the role of can be found at the end of this document as Appendix A. These interviews remained relatively informal and were used to collect data from City and County of Denver staff in the departments of Community Planning and Development (CPD) and Public Works, Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) staff and planners, and private design practitioners with roles in either the 2007 Downtown Area Plan or current street design projects in the Denver study and request and schedule an interview. Anonymity is maintained for this study and only professional titles (e.g., landscape architect, planner, project manager) are used. The interviews lasted approximately one hour, and took place either in the place of employment of the interviewee or in a convenient location for the interviewee. The questionnaire used for the interviews includes a mix of open-ended and closed questions (See Appendix A: Interview Protocol). The interviews were carried out in Denver between September 2011 and February 2012. Interview Findings The interview protocol remained adaptable and varied slightly with each interviewee. In some cases the interview followed a formal question-answer protocol, in other cases it remained a more casual conversation. However, there exist nine integral questions that were asked of all interviewees. The responses are summarized in regards to these nine questions as follows. 1.
55 professional organization or entity. The answers to this inquiry were any publicly accessible space within the city, both formal and informal. as being integral components of public space in the city, while the space outside of buildings. 2. Goals of Each Organization for Creating New Public Space Each interviewee was asked to discuss the goals of their respective organization for the creation of new public space. This question was of less consequence to the designers who stated that such goals are developers). CPD respondents stressed the importance of creating and functional. These respondents agreed that more green space is not always the answer, and in regard to streets that an enhanced pedestrian zone is the most useful way to activate the street as a true public amenity. Public Works is focused on the Living Streets Initiative to improve mobility and choice within Denver. For DDP, the underlying goal in the creation of new public space is that of place-based economic development. This organization sees successful public space within downtown Denver as an asset to increasing commerce and tourism within the central city, making the core more attractive for business investment and job creation. 3. Challenges to Creating New Public Space Interviewees were also asked to explain the challenges to implementing new public space. Respondents stressed that these universal, especially within the United States. All respondents listed right-of-way constraints as the primary challenge to creating new public space on streets. Limited right-of-way impedes the creation Blueprint Denver states that the citys street right-of-ways will no longer be expanded. Consequently, choices must be made and priorities set on a case-bycase basis for how to best use the available space. Additionally, most respondents stressed the status-quo mentality and car culture as a large challenge to changing how streets are designed and constructed. CPD respondents also stated that the Denver Fire Department
56 has regulations for street design that must be obeyed in order to accommodate trucks. Furthermore, all respondents discussed a lack of cooperation and coordination between various agencies, organizations, and constituents in regards to street design. 4. organization see it. These answers varied but several key points did emerge. All respondents stated that a boulevard is a wide street that enjoys a higher level of maintenance and investment than other streets within the city. Some respondents stated that a boulevard must have arrival, destination, and level of care. Some cautioned against creating general public. In the end, a higher level or care and maintenance boulevard according to these groups. 5. Dif ference Between a Boulevard and a Parkway As a follow up to the previous question, interviewees were asked to elaborate on the difference between a boulevard and a parkway. The precedent for this question lies in Denvers historic parkway system. This network of heavily landscaped roads, designed by George Kessler and Saco DeBoer during the City Beautiful movement, is iconic to the city. Respondents felt that a boulevard is more urbane than a parkway, that the parkways are historic and more heavily landscaped, and that a boulevard is primarily commercial and mixed-use along its route whereas a parkway is primarily residential. It should be noted that the 2007 Downtown Area Plan does recommend the Grand Boulevards as a complement to the Denver parkway system (City and County of Denver 2007). 6. Multi-modal Streets and Urban Redevelopment The next question focused on the role of multi-modal streets in development. As more and more people share the same space the needs of streets may change. Respondents all stated that all urban
57 streets should be multi-modal with the exception of freeways, but that each street should be designed on a case-by-case basis. They also unanimously agreed that every street cannot accommodate every use because of limited rights-of-way and differing demand. CPD stressed the challenge of mixing bicycles with buses. DDP explained that multi-modal streets are integral to urban areas because of their democratizing potential of bringing all users together to share space. 7. Denver Precedents Interviewees were asked if there are any valid precedents in Denver for a redesign of Broadway or other Grand Boulevards. The answer to this question was unanimously no, though CPD respondents did mention recent investments to West Colfax Avenue and Federal Boulevard as 8. Interviewees were asked to elaborate on the Grand Boulevard of this designation. CPD respondents explained that these streets are seen as key points of arrival and departure into the downtown core because of their connection to the freeway system, that they should and not simply designed with wide sidewalks and planted medians. within the city and should establish a clear hierarchy to the street CPD, but that they are focused on short-term improvements rather beyond the existing recommendations. 9. Public Spaces as Identity-building Tools Lastly, interviewees were asked to discuss their views on how public space can help to build identity for a city, and what spaces, if any, do so in Denver. CPD and DDP had different views on this from the designers. These respondents viewed Civic Center, the 16th Street Mall, and the historic parkway system as major identity-shapers for the city. The designers on the other hand mentioned Civic Center as a poor example because its design is borrowed from another time and place and is not necessarily unique to Denver. These respondents
58 viewed Commons Park and the South Platte River greenway as a more important and contextually appropriate public space for the city and its identity. Summarizing these nine key interview questions shows that while there is some agreement on the future of streets as public spaces in Denver, there is also room for more discussion and innovation when redesigning streets. The Grand Boulevard recommendation opens the door to various interpretations of what these key arterials may be in the future. Most importantly, there are no current examples to look to in Denver and these arterials have the potential a design proposal for Broadway that is contextually relevant, innovative, yet still useful to CPD, Public Works, and DDP as they move forward with future planning efforts. The Vision For A New Broadway Introduction This thesis proposes an informed design recommendation for Broadway as it passes through central Denver. Using historical research on boulevards as a theoretical underpinning, this project crafts a vision for a major arterial that is context sensitive and referential to Denvers social and environmental ecology. As discussed in Section 2, boulevards were originally a product of military planning and eventually implemented as a way for authoritarian governments in Europe to impose order and structure on the medieval urban fabric. The underlying goal of this planning methodology was to achieve a certain degree of social control while visually and psychologically reinforcing princely power to the citizenry. These streets were wide and monumental, carrying a large in the cities that built them. Typically these boulevards were highly structured Europe were formally planted using alles of trees to reinforce their grandeur and importance. Because the streets were imposed upon the existing urban fabric, new development space was created along them, allowing for
59 uniform building heights and styles. Monuments were typically placed at key was paramount to these long avenues and the spatial design rarely changed along their length. As the boulevard migrated to North America it became less urbane and commercial. Boulevards in the Eastern United States were often lushly landscaped residential streets, similar to what we commonly call parkways. Frederick Law Olmsted designed many residential boulevards in Eastern American cities as leisurely drives connecting major urban parks. These parkways were less spaces for pedestrians and more to be traversed in a carriage or automobile. The City Beautiful movement in the early 1900s reinvigorated ideas of classical urbanism and formal design vernacular in American cities, but typically these projects (such as Denvers Civic Center) are re-creations of European models and not unique to their historical or ecological context. The American boulevard today takes one of three forms: a lushly landscaped residential parkway, a re-creation of classical forms borrowed from another time and place, or the wide automobile-centric is a boulevard in name only (e.g., Colorado Boulevard or Federal Boulevard in Denver). For the purposes of this study a boulevard is a wide urban avenue, civic in its nature, and mixed-use in its adjacency. Residential parkways and arterials such as Colorado Boulevard in Denver are not true boulevards. The boulevards of Europe, where the term originated, were symbols of power and military might. American cities, especially in the West, lack the military history and power structures that were dominant in the era that saw the after the introduction of the automobile and consequently lack the dense urban fabric of European cities. The horizontality and speculative nature of Western urban development would do little to reinforce the grandeur of a Parisian-style boulevard. The semi-arid climate and lack of available water resources preclude the planting of endless rows of deciduous trees. Denvers historic and heavily landscaped parkway system is beloved but is not an appropriate model for street design in the era of water scarcity, nor is it a However, the formal structure of the urban boulevard is useful even in contemporary settings. Regardless of locale, boulevards commonly reinforce four primary themes: movement, procession, demarcation, and ceremony. Historical boulevards are places where movement takes primacy, be it in a vehicle, on foot, or in a parade. They are major routes for moving through and
60 about the city. These streets have processional qualities as one moves along their length. Highly visible markers reinforce this processional quality, but also these streets are ceremonial, and historically they were the site of civic events such as parades and political celebrations. These four themes are still relevant in the design of a contemporary boulevard, especially for Broadway. Broadway is already a wide avenue whose primary function is movement. Though Denver may not celebrate a military past, there is no shortage of festivals and celebrations throughout a given year. Broadway passes through the heart of Civic Center, the site of most major political and ceremonial events in the city. It is in the aesthetic and experiential implementation of the boulevard that a new narrative needs to be written. The bones of the boulevard are important and can remain the same, but their expression must be adapted to the 21st century post-industrial city in a semi-arid climate, with its unique social and environmental ecology. Vision primary goals. These goals, seen as a means to transform Broadway into a new urban boulevard, are: identify, link, image, locate, and innovate. Each 1. Identify A redesigned Broadway will serve to build a stronger identity for not only itself, but for Denver as a whole. This is the primary objective of the vision. Because of Broadways civic nature and importance as a transportation route and commercial street it is a primary candidate for shaping the identity of this city on the high plains of Colorado. Public spaces, including streets, have a strong power to shape and reinforce a sense of place. This can be accomplished through materials and plants that reinforce a local ecology, but also through social uses and activities that reference local customs or strengthen a community identity. Denver currently lacks powerful examples of such public spaces, Commons Park and the Central Platte Valley being the notable exceptions. Broadway should be recognizable in its own right as a street of major consequence, and because of this importance should serve to reinforce a local identity for the entire city. Broadway should be of and for Denver.
61 local social, environmental, and infrastructural elements, and also creating new networks and social spaces that are highly visible. New permanent landmarks will expand on existing transportation high plains. Flexible and transitional spaces will reinforce Denvers identity as a young, creative, and transitional city. 2. Link Broadway already functions as a primary link between the freeway system and the central neighborhoods of Denver However, pedestrians between downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. A redesigned Broadway should not only reinforce the links between downtown and major transportation corridors, but also encourage smoother transitions between downtown and adjacent neighborhoods. 3. City Image image for Denver According to Kevin Lynch, people use a variety of elements to image urban space including districts, paths, nodes, edges, and landmarks (Lynch 1960). This framework is useful in creating a vision for Broadway that seeks to create a stronger sense of place. As people traverse a redesigned Broadway, whether on foot, bicycle, car, or public transit, they should have a stronger sense of where they are within the greater fabric of the city. Denver residents and visitors should be able to imagine and remember a part of Broadway even after they have left. 4. Locate/Orientation A redesigned Broadway should allow people to locate themselves within the city and along the route of the street. Unique landmarks should reference the surrounding context rather than being repeated along the length of the street. These landmarks should be highly visible from surrounding areas and reinforce activity nodes. Aesthetic clues such as paving materials and plants should serve to reinforce the identity of the street and the citys location on the high plains of Colorado. Signage and lighting should further guide people as they navigate the street and the greater city.
62 Subtle changes in details can call attention to adjacent uses and neighborhoods while helping to build a dynamic experience for people moving along the route. 5. Innovate A redesigned Broadway should be innovative in its various uses and programming. Denver is a relatively young city with a growing population. The city lacks many of the entrenched traditions of older American and European cities simply because of its youth. Denver was recently ranked by The Fiscal Times as the 8th best U.S. city for entrepreneurs looking to start a small business, as well as the 3rd best city for recent college graduates by CareerRookie. com. The climate and active lifestyle are helping to build a young, open, and entrepreneurial city. The citys primary street, its civic adaptability. Due to the availability of space and proximity to dense residential neighborhoods, the corridor is poised for major growth space should be the spine of the city and should be used in ways that are relevant to Denver residents. The design of the street dynamism. strategies for different sections along the length of Broadway. A series of collaborative workshops conducted by the re:Streets group in Berkeley, California looked at innovative ways to use streets for more than just moving for Broadway as well, and are incorporated in various combinations for each design recommendation. These programs are: commerce, events, green infrastructure, image and identity, mobility and access, play and recreation, vision goals, these program strategies will help position Broadway as a highly visible civic spine for Denver. The new vision for Broadway combines the permanent with the temporary to create a hybrid boulevard design. Fixed landmarks along the street will be permanent interventions. New public spaces at key junctures will also
63 Fig. 3.4 GENERAL PROPOSED STREET SECTIONbe permanent additions to the city. Flexible zones in between these key landmarks will be initially low-cost and changeable spaces that can be adapted as the community changes around them. In some spaces the street will simply be painted and low-cost furniture and planters places to create new public spaces that can then be tested for use and success. These spaces may be changed based on how people use them. This hybrid approach to a of Western American cities in the 21st century. Key landmarks create the boulevard structure, but the interstitial zones may be less permanent and Design Proposal In order to accommodate increased public amenities, new landmarks, and new activity zones, and to reduce Broadways imposition as a barrier between downtown Denver and adjacent neighborhoods, the streets function must change. North of 20th 20th Street and I-70. Design recommendations for this area, intersection improvements, and future redevelopment will minimize the perceived barrier between downtown and Curtis Park. Broadway and Lincoln Street south of 20th become enjoyable public spaces. To function as a boulevard, Broadway must be a pleasant place to walk and linger, not just a good place to drive. The pedestrians. Broadway has a continuous 100-foot right-of-way that will not be expanded (City and County of Denver 2002). This project recommends a reduction in travel lanes on Broadway south of 20th
64 from four lanes to three, allowing for wider sidewalks and a larger buffer Complimentary vehicular routes between I-25 and downtown Denver exist on Santa Fe Drive/Kalamath Street, Grant/Logan Streets, and University/ Speer Boulevards. These routes can absorb some of the displaced vehicular and downtown via the Southeast and Southwest light rail lines, as well as multiple bus routes, which may provide alternatives for some drivers. The addition of streetcar service to Broadway in the future will further mitigate the negatively impact urban neighborhoods. Fifth Avenue in New York, Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills are all congested, but they are also all lively places full of pedestrians. Norman Garricks critique of the Texas Transportation Institutes 2010 Urban Mobility Report highlights that the areas of the country with the highest amount of automobile use per capita have lower rates of economic growth (Garrick 2010). This challenges the popular perception that increased vehicular mobility also increases economic neighborhoods, pedestrians, cyclists, and even businesses. Additionally, various other options already exist for traveling through these areas. The reduction in automobile lanes, while maintaining on-street parallel parking where it currently exists, 11-foot existing sidewalks, and adding a 5-foot bicycle lane, frees up 19 feet of space on Broadway. Where on-street parking does not exist there is an additional 9 to 18 feet. The additional transitional, and adaptable to the changing and growing city and no proposals certain areas to accommodate increased use on different sides of the street where appropriate. For instance, in some zones the active use may be on that side. In other zones, such as through the existing South Broadway district between 2nd quality for pedestrians and cyclists. If needs and uses should change in the
65Fig. 3.5 STREET ZONES DIAGRAM Fig. 3.6 STREET ZONE A Fig. 3.7 STREET ZONE B & C Fig. 3.8 BRIDGE ZONE Fig. 3.9 STREET ZONE D
Fig. 3.10 LANE SHIFTS AND FLEX ZONES Fig. 3.11 PROPOSED STREETCAR ROUTE66 Broadway Streetcar In the future a streetcar line is recommended by this proposal for the length of Broadway in this study area, connecting the future National Western Stock Show (NWSS) rail station to the existing Broadway light rail station. The 2007 Downtown Area Plan highlights potential future intra-downtown transit transit on East Colfax, Broadway, and Broadway/Speer/1st Avenue as the of Denver 2007, 23) This proposal builds upon that recommendation by suggesting a Broadway-based streetcar line linking two rail stations on either side of downtown Denver. Many cultural destinations currently exist on Broadway including the National Western Stock Show, Denver Coliseum, various museums, and entertainment districts. Many of the regions largest cultural events are held right on Broadway in Civic Center. As Broadway is re-imagined, it is reasonable to assume that the street itself will become a
67 Fig. 3.14 DOWNTOWN TRANSIT MAP, Downtown Denver Area Plan; Accessed Dec. 30, 2011 from City and County of Denver < http://www.denvergov. com/Planning/CompletedPlans/DowntownAreaPlan/ tabid/431886/Default.aspx >. Fig. 3.15 FASTRACKS MAP, Regional Transportation District (RTD); Accessed Dec. 30, 2011 from Denver Urbanism < http://denverurbanism.com/2011/04/ plan.html >. Fig. 3.12 PORTLAND LIBRARY STREETCAR, Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JAT) Future Plans; Accessed April 3, 2012 from JAT < http://www. Fig. 3.13 BOMBARDIER STREETCAR, Sarasota Streetcar Initiative; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Sarasota Streetcar Initiative < http://sarasotastreetcar. com/about.html >.
68 Fig. 3.16 ARC DE TRIOMPHE, Places in Paris Paris Attractions; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Places in Paris < http://www.placesinparis.com/arc-de-triomphe/ >. Fig. 3.17 Panther, GOGOLEVSKY BOULEVARD, Wikipedia; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Wikipedia < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gogolevsky_ boulevard_shot_02.jpg >.destination within the region. Due to Union Stations location on the western edge of downtown, people arriving on trains to the central city will need to make multiple transfers to get to destinations outside of Civic Center. A streetcar connection from the NWSS station to the Broadway station at I-25 provides a direct link to the cultural events and destinations along Broadway for those arriving on the North Metro, Southeast, and Southwest rail lines. identity for the street as a cultural spine for the city, as well as provide residents living near Broadway with an improved transit route to destinations north and south. Additional study will be necessary to incorporate streetcar Landmarks Landmarks are a key component of a boulevard design. To reinforce Broadway as a true civic boulevard for Denver, existing landmarks must be acknowledged and celebrated, and new landmarks created. These landmarks should be highly visible from points along the street and in the surrounding areas. To accomplish this on such a long street with a wide right-of-way, most landmarks should have a strong vertical element. These landmarks will reinforce the themes of movement, procession, demarcation, and ceremony
69 Fig. 3.18 TRAVELSHEDSby marking important transportation junctures, points of arrival and departure, and nodes of increased activity. The landmarks will lead travelers along Broadway and provide a sense of identity and discovery. Furthermore, these landmarks will link to existing physical features of the city, identify and mark important urban spaces, and help residents and visitors locate themselves within the urban milieu. These landmarks and their attendant public spaces constructed as part of a greater system as they will be the key factor in setting up the major operations of this new urban boulevard. Broadway is not commonly traversed continuously from one end to the other. Very few travelers move from I-70 in the north all the way to I-25 in the south, or vice versa. The northern two-way section of Broadway and Brighton Boulevard, from 20th Street to I-70 is primarily a local arterial linking downtown to the industrial corridors along Brighton Boulevard and I-70, as well as north Denver neighborhoods such as Curtis Park, Five Points, Globeville, and Elyria-Swansea. This route is one of several direct vehicular links between downtown and Denver International Airport, and provides access to the emerging River North arts district and the South Platte River greenway system. This corridor of Broadway and Brighton Boulevard is poised ground as of this writing. At 20th Street Broadway becomes a one-way on Lincoln moves north. This couplet functions as a primary link into and out of downtown from I-25, providing an alternative to the freeway. Parallel north-south couplets exist on either side of the Broadway-Lincoln pair on Santa Fe Drive and Kalamath Street to the west, and Grant Street and Logan Street to the east. A majority of users travel Broadway either between I-70 and 20th Street, or between 20th Street and I-25, but rarely the entire length. Additionally, this intersection marks the collision of Denvers two street grids. These facts make the intersection of Broadway and 20th Street the central point of the boulevard, and the location for a dominant landmark acknowledging its importance within the urban context.
Fig. 3.19 DENVERS TWO STREET GRIDS Fig. 3.20 CLOCKTOWER LOFTS, OZ Architecture; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Wagner Studio < http:// www.wagnerstudioarch.com/wagnerstudioarch.com/ WagnerStudio_OzArch.html >.Along the northern two-way section of Broadway lie two additional landmarks. The Clock Tower Lofts building at Broadway and Walnut Street is an existing landmark with its strong vertical clock tower. This structure lies at a slight curve in the street and lies on axis with the street when viewed from the south. It is visible from as far south as Civic Center. A new landmark will be created at the northern terminus of the new boulevard at Brighton and I-70. Moving south from 20th Street the boulevard will encounter three new landmarks at the intersection of Broadway and Colfax Avenue, the point where Broadway crosses the Cherry Creek and Speer Boulevard, and at the southern terminus where Broadway passes under I-25. The Northern and Southern Termini will create a visible identity system for travelers on the freeway system by referencing either end of this new boulevard. Since art has played a prominent role in Denvers contemporary redevelopment, several of these landmarks will be commissioned public art competitions sponsored by the City and County of Denver. The Northern and Southern Termini landmarks will have a unique base structure that brands the boulevard at either end (See Figure 3.22). This low, angular base should be constructed of Corten steel. Its form references the angular rising of the Hogbacks and Flat Irons from the high plains just west of Denver. 70
71 Fig. 3.21 MAP OF LANDMARKS
72 Fig 3.22 BROADWAY LANDMARK BASE development and design of each new landmark and in some cases the attendant public spaces straddling Broadway. 1. 20th Street Fulcrum This site marks the functional center point of Broadway. Though the intersection of Broadway and Colfax Avenue is popularly considered the heart of the city, Broadway and 20th Street is more precisely the center of the transportation corridor, the fulcrum of the street grids, and the heart of a re-imagined boulevard. The boulevard radiates north and south from this point. The block of Broadway between 20th Street and 20th Avenue becomes the site for a new central landmark. Rather than a strong vertical element, this landmark is experiential and on the ground, just as the street grids have to be experienced on the ground. Extending from just north of 20th Street to just south of 20th Avenue is a series of long steel plinths that rise gently from the ground. These plinths are similar in form to the sculptural bases for the Northern and Southern Termini landmarks. This design vernacular creates a common language at the center and two end points of the of the street and partly into the sidewalks on either side. Where they would cross Broadway, rumble strips in the pavement create a tactile experience for drivers referencing the crossing of the plinths. These plinths are arranged in a radiating series of cardinal and diagonal grids referencing the competing street grids that Broadway bisects. The plinths will rise gently to a height of 4 feet at their highest point.
Fig. 3.23 20TH STREET FULCRUM SITE PLAN73 If the property becomes available in the future, the triangular parcel between Broadway, 20th Street, and Welton Street should be acquired by the City and transformed into a new public space. A future streetcar station on Broadway will compliment the existing light rail station on Welton and help activate this space. This parcel will become part of the public space Triangles discussed in Street Zone 2: The Grid. The steel plinths can be extended or added into this space providing seating for outdoor events.
Fig. 3.24 VIEW LOOKING NORTH Fig. 3.25 VIEW LOOKING SOUTH Fig. 3.26 20TH STREET FULCRUM SECTION74 2. Northern Terminus at I-70/The Rails This landmark sits in the existing median in Brighton Boulevard directly south of the I-70 overpass. It will be visible to travelers on both I-70 and Brighton Boulevard. It will also be visible from the front of the Denver Coliseum that sits directly to the west. Several tall industrial and agricultural structures sit directly to the east and will provide a unique backdrop to this new landmark for people exiting the Coliseum. This landmark should reference the industrial nature of the surrounding context, drawing inspiration from the Denver into the modern city it is today. Material recommendations include various metals, rusted materials, wire, rails, and wood. The landmark will have the Broadway branded base but will be commissioned as a public art competition by the City and County of Denver using these guidelines. To the immediate west of this location is an underused gravel become a new public plaza tied closely to the street and terminus
75 Fig. 3.29 VISTAS TO NORTHERN TERMINUS LANDMARK Fig. 3.27 JOSEPH ROCHES TRADE DEFICIT Fig. 3.28 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH OF DENVER COLISEUM AREA, Google Earth; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Google Earth < http://maps.google.com > of the boulevard. The Coliseum, built in 1952 and owned by the City and County of Denver, hosts a large number of events throughout the year ranging from circuses and rodeos to high school athletic tournaments and concerts (denvercoliseum.com). The front doors of the Coliseum currently open to a very small public plaza fronting behind the Coliseum to the west and south. This new public space, named by this proposal as The Rails, will be an urban plaza with railroad boxcars framing a central open space. These boxcars will be arranged in curved spurs leading to the active rail line that cuts across the southeast corner of the site and the street. The boxcars reference the existing rail yards
76 Fig. 3.30 THE RAILS SITE PLAN Fig. 3.31 THE RAILS SECTION Fig. 3.32 VIEW LOOKING WEST Fig. 3.33 VIEW LOOKING EAST making Denver the city it is today. Several additional boxcars will be placed around the site in small pieces to function as seating and will appear to be emerging from the ground, similar to the on Broadway and creating a common language for the Brighton
77 Boulevard corridor. The larger boxcars will be re-imagined as vendor stalls by opening up one side. During events at the Coliseum, these boxcar stalls can be opened up for business and the plaza activated for the time before and after the event. Managed by the City and County of Denver, these boxcar stalls can potentially serve as a business incubator for residents of the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods, who suffer from disconnection to the larger urban context and a lack of local jobs and access to goods (Elyria-Swansea Neighborhood Assessment 2003; Globeville Neighborhood Assessment 2008). The addition of a streetcar station on Brighton Boulevard at The Rails will potentially bring visitors during other times. As the area develops, with the addition of the National Western Stock Show rail station on the north side of I-70, The Rails may become a more active urban plaza throughout the year. 3. Broadway and Colfax/The Hill The intersection of Broadway and Colfax Avenue is popularly regarded as the center of the city. These two streets are Denvers main streets. This intersection is also directly south of where the 16th Street pedestrian mall meets Broadway and forms the nexus of Denvers public transportation system, with Civic Center Station occupying the block east of Broadway and north of East Colfax Avenue. This is also the point at which Broadway enters Denvers Civic Center, the citys primary ceremonial public space and forum. Though the intersection at 20th Street is the structural center of the new boulevard, this intersection is the most important to both public perception and public transit. It is also highly ceremonial as most large events and festivals occur in Civic Center Park and most parades travel along Colfax or Broadway. The landmark at this site will be implemented as part of a redesigned plaza atop Civic Center Station. The existing plaza above street level is awkward and underused. Yet this elevated plaza offers a unique perspective available nowhere else from which to view the city. At the north end of the plaza are views down 16th Street Mall to the Millennium Bridge and Rocky Mountains. From the south end of the plaza are views over Civic Center Parks tree canopy to the Colorado State Capitol, the Denver City and County Building, the Denver Public Library, the Denver Art Museum, and the new Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center.
78 Fig. 3.34 THE HILL SITE PLAN Fig. 3.35 THE HILL SECTIONKnown as The Hill, the vision for this plaza consists of three parts. First, the elevated plaza should be opened up and redesigned. Existing trees should be relocated to frame the views and areas of native grasses should be planted to soften the edges. Opportunity also exists on this plaza for a map of Broadway etched into the paving surface to help visitors locate themselves within the larger boulevard. Secondly, the structural slope along Broadway and East grand staircase creating a stronger connection between the plaza and the street. Not only will this staircase provide a more welcoming arrival to The Hill, but it will also function as seating for
79 Fig. 3.36 VIEW LOOKING NORTH Fig. 3.37 VIEW LOOKING SOUTHEASTthe busy bus stops along both streets and during the many parades and festivals in Civic Center during the summer and fall. This is one of the busiest intersections in Denver and these steps will become an excellent place for observing and experiencing the city. The third element to this space is the visible landmark. This landmark will be a curved viewing platform extending from The Hill over Broadway. A strong vertical element will function as the support structure for the platform as well as the visible landmark from points north and south along Broadway. This structure should build upon existing transportation vernacular in Denver (see Figure 3.38), including the terminal at Denver International Airport, the Millennium and
80 Fig. 3.38 DENVERS TRANSPORTATION ARMATURE FIGURE 3.39 Steve Kite, MILLENNIUM BRIDGE, Structurae; Accessed April 3, 2012 from The Boston Museum < http://www.bostonmuseum.org/linksbridges. html >. Fig. 3.40 Ellen Jaskol, DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, World Architecture News; Accessed April 17, 2012 from World Architecture News < http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index. php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_ id=12024 >.Highland Bridges, Market Street Station shade structures, and the future Union Station commuter rail station structure. All of these structures are white and feature tent elements or spires. This language should be reinforced at Civic Center Station, as it is a key terminus in the regional transit system. This landmark will be an icon within the city, and most likely a coveted spot from which to view events at Civic Center.
81 Where Broadway passes through the Financial District and should be entirely on the west side. Between 20th Street and 13th Street there is a dense concentration of activity during the day and during festivals and events. This extra space will be most effective on one side of the street where it can be as wide as possible. This will allow space for food vendors and ample seating, as well as space for transit passengers. Where 16th Street Mall meets Broadway, this space will provide a continuous pedestrian promenade moving south into Civic Center Park and to the Denver Public Library and Denver Art Museum. 4. Cherry Creek Crossing/The Hub Speer Boulevard is a vestige of the City Beautiful movement and is perhaps Denvers most iconic parkway The Cherry Creek and its popular multi-use trail lie in the middle ground of the parkway between Lower Downtown and the Denver Country Club. This trail connects the South Platte River trail to Cherry Creek State Park in southeast Aurora and is a primary route for bicycle commuters into and out of downtown Denver. Where Broadway crosses the Cherry Creek and intersects with Speer Boulevard is a major point of convergence within the city for vehicles and cyclists. 6th Avenue, a primary route between Denver and the Rocky Mountains, also crosses Broadway half a block south of Speer Boulevard. Additionally, future streetcar routes as discussed in this proposal and the 2007 Downtown Area Plan would converge here. Broadway/Lincoln streetcars would continue north and south, while Cherry Creek-bound streetcars would diverge to follow Speer Boulevard. Due to this location on the regional trail network and the convergence of multiple major arteries and transit routes, this is a logical site for another landmark along Broadway. This landmark will be integrated into a new public space and activity node in part of the triangular parcel formed between Broadway, 6th Avenue, and the Cherry Creek. This new space, known as The Hub, is envisioned as a bicycle hub for Denver. The city has an active cycling culture, but lacks a central gathering space for the cycling community. Similar to the future transit hub at Union Station, this site will provide new links to the regional trail system and local on-street bicycle network.
Fig. 3.41 THE HUB SITE PLAN82 The Hub can be programmed with a variety of uses related to cycling and eventually may include the following elements: water fountains, bicycle parking, bicycle rental, B-cycle station, bicycle washing stations, a bicycle repair shop, a community bicycle co-op, and an outdoor beer garden and caf. Events programmed around cycling may take place in the new public space. The Hub makes a logical resting place on the Cherry Creek Trail halfway between the Cherry Creek neighborhood and downtown Denver, and with some amenities would become a destination in itself. Enhanced
83 Fig. 3.42 THE HUB SECTION Fig. 3.43 BICYCLE WASH STATION, Mountain Bike Park Wagrain; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Mountain Bike Park Wagrain < http://www.bikewagrain.com/de/ parkinfos/bikewash-duschen.htm >. Fig. 3.44 BICYCLE TIRE AIR PUMP STATION, Let Ideas Compete; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Flickr Fig. 3.45 Joseph Perez-Green, POP-UP BEER GARDEN, envelopeA+D; Accessed April 3, 2012 from The Atlantic Cities < http://www.theatlanticcities.com/ neighborhoods/2011/11/san-franciscos-temporary-beergarden/408/ >. Fig. 3.46 Stephen Vance, MCDONALDS CYCLE CENTER IN MILLENNIUM PARK; Accessed April 3, 2012 from City of Chicago < http://www.cityofchicago. org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/bike/svcs/bike_parking. html >.connections to the on-street bicycle network, including signage, painted lanes, and sharrows, (street markings used to identify lanes shared by vehicles and bicycles) will identify this point as a place to enter and exit the regional trail system.
84Fig. 3.47 THE HUB FUTURE DEVELOPMENT DIAGRAM Where Broadway passes alongside this space and over the Cherry Creek is the site for a new landmark. This landmark is two-fold. Where streams exist on the high plains of Colorado are the only places where trees can be found. As Broadway approaches the bridge over Cherry Creek trees in raised planters will be placed street nears the bridge. The rows of trees will be most dense on the bridge itself, identifying the stream crossing below. Planters are useful so that they can be moved as necessary and they are not provide shade for pedestrians and create new gathering spaces transportation-related activity (in this case cycling) an armature will be installed, visible on Broadway, Speer Boulevard, and the Cherry Creek Trail, that is similar in language to the existing transit infrastructure in Denver. Like the viewing platform at The Hill, this structure should be white, have a strong verticality, and utilize tents and spires to identify and locate this point of convergence. It may function as a shade structure for resting cyclists or a future beer garden and caf.
85 Future development strategies The neighborhoods adjacent to The Hub have many surface parking lots that may, in the future, be redeveloped as the city grows. Strategies should be implemented for development in this Denver Healths nearby medical facilities can compliment this development and create potential development partnerships. Like transit-oriented development, this node can become a bicycleoriented development. Similar projects have been undertaken in Portland, Oregon and Boise, Idaho and build upon the strength of those cities cycling communities and demand for cycling-related businesses. Development guidelines may include: a higher proportions of bicycle parking and incentives for developers to include less automobile parking; commercial spaces large enough goods stores; and incentives for health-related development such as biotechnology industries and research and development. 5. Southern Terminus at I-25 landmark where Broadway meets I-25. Similar to the Northern Terminus, this landmark will be a vertical public art piece that is visible from Broadway, the elevated I-25, and the existing Broadway light rail station. The landmark will be located within interchange right-of-way north of I-25 and east of Broadway. This landmark will highways, arterial streets, and railroads. Material recommendations include metals, plastics, concrete, and asphalt. The landmark will have the Broadway branded base but will be commissioned as a public art competition by the City and County of Denver using these guidelines. Street Zones zones build the concept for a re-imagined urban boulevard by referencing the adjacent context and responding to the social and economic factors of surrounding areas. Each zone will have unique amenity or activity zones and
86 may be programmed for different uses. The aesthetic interventions will be unique to the surrounding context, and activate the street by highlighting it as the primary spine of the city. These street zones incorporate combinations of permanent and temporary interventions. Some elements are integral to the overall boulevard system and must be permanent, while others are more adaptable and may need to be changed over time. These zones are described moving from north to south. 1. The River This zone follows Brighton Boulevard from 38th Street south to the Blake Street viaduct and acknowledges the close connection to the South Platte River. Water will be the basis for design interventions through this zone. The recommendation serves as a way to identify with and link to the river. This section of Brighton Boulevard is approximately 80 wide and consists of 4 travel lanes and one center turning lane. The street lacks sidewalks and pedestrian amenities along most of this zone, though where new development occurs the city has required the construction of such amenities. In some cases there is no curb and gutter, the asphalt of the street merges with the asphalt parking and loading areas for the adjacent buildings. In such cases it is recommended that concrete curbs and sidewalks be constructed and pedestrian amenities installed ahead of new development to emphasize the street as an important link into downtown. The main opportunity for design interventions is on the numbered cross streets linking Brighton Boulevard to the South Platte River: 36th, 35th, 33rd, 31st, and 29th Streets. These streets provide a direct link to the emerging greenway along the river and the existing multi-use trail. Primary links should be established along three of these streets because of their likely future use. 35th Street will link to a new park along the river with a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the river connecting to the Taxi complex. 31st Street is the shortest link between the river and Brighton Boulevard, and will eventually include a pedestrian bridge connection over the railroad and Coors Field parking lots to the southeast to Curtis Park. 29th Street is alongside the developing Denargo Market project that will include several thousand new residential units, plentiful commercial space, and a new park and plaza fronting the river.
Fig. 3.48 THE RIVER SITE DIAGRAM Fig. 3.49 VIEW TOWARDS RIVER Fig. 3.50 VIEW LOOKING NORTHEAST Fig. 3.51 THE RIVER-BRIGHTON BOULEVARD SECTION87 These streets have very wide rights-of-way and provide ample opportunity to establish stronger pedestrian and bicycle links to the South Platte River. Each streets vehicular space can be reduced
88 access the existing warehouses. On one side of each street will be a meandering multi-use path through storm water collection and detention basins. The storm water basins will be planted with native wetland species and will collect runoff from both the streets and the adjacent buildings. The pathway should wind through the basin giving the route a unique experiential quality found nowhere else in Denver while establishing a strong visual link to the river beyond. The meandering pathway is reminiscent of the weaving rivulet pattern of waterways on the high plains and other dry climates. Before the South Platte River was channelized it would have exhibited a pattern of small, intertwined channels that intersection. Storm water runoff from properties on the southeast side of Brighton will be collected in gardens at the corners and funneled under the street and towards the river. Textured paving in the crosswalks will create a tactile experience for vehicles crossing over the storm water channels, calling attention to the storm water collection system, and create a visual stimulus for all users on Broadway. Future development strategies The stretch of Brighton Boulevard between the Blake Street viaduct and I-70 is characterized by long vistas down the street and open views of the sky. This urban landscape of low-rise industrial and warehouse structures is unique to this zone of the boulevard. Efforts should be made to preserve these long views for travelers coming into and out of downtown Denver. To accomplish this, development strategies should recommend that building heights be limited to one story fronting Brighton, and stepping up to the east and west. The highest structures will be along the South Platte River and the rail yards. At each intersection, buildings should be set back further from the street to create the corner storm water gardens described above and enhance the connections to the river. These pocket gardens will provide public space for new development, and also create unique moments at each intersection for travelers on Brighton Boulevard.
89Fig. 3.52 BRIGHTON MASSING Fig. 3.53 BRIGHTON MASSING 2. The Grid The section of Broadway between the Blake Street viaduct and 20th Street traverses the diagonal downtown grid as it runs directly north from Civic Center. Built in the 1920s, this section of Broadway creates a unique and challenging set of intersections and a series of triangular parcels that are currently underused. Additionally, residents of Curtis Park to the east of Broadway view the street as a barrier between their neighborhood and downtown Denver because of the challenging crossings. In the Downtown Denver Multi-modal Access Plan (DMAP), this section of Broadway was made to reconstruct the street with a planted median and wider sidewalks between 20th Street and Blake Street (City and County of lack of coordination between public agencies resulted in the recent reconstruction of Broadway in concrete (a 30-year commitment) with none of the DMAP recommendations. The only pedestrian improvements as part of this project are bulb-outs at several key intersections. The primary recommendation for this section of Broadway is to highlight the collision of the competing street grids, and in doing so, improve the physical and visual connection between Curtis Park
Fig. 3.54 THE GRID SITE DIAGRAM90 and downtown. This area of Broadway is a gateway to the emerging River North arts district and various public art pieces have been installed along its length, including the boxcar sculptures of Trade are underused concrete slabs. The design recommendation for this section of Broadway uses art and play to create new activity centers and visible connections across the street. The triangle pairs will become activated urban mini-plazas that create an identity for this section of Broadway and link the neighborhoods on either side of the street. The triangle pair at Broadway and 24th Street will become the Red Triangles, the concrete surface painted red. This color system will extend into the crosswalks in all directions and fade gradually to a lighter shade, calling attention to the grid that Broadway is traversing. At Broadway and 21st Street will be
Fig. 3.55 VIEW LOOKING SOUTH Fig. 3.56 VIEW LOOKING NORTH Fig. 3.57 ART STREETS, South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA), Philadelphia; Accessed April 3, 2012 from West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance < http://wwbpa.org/2010/12/saferoutes-intersection-mural/ >. Fig. 3.58 PLAY STREETS, re:Streets; Accessed April 3, 2012 from re:Streets Charette Documents < http:// www.restreets.org/Content/10017/CharretteDocuments. html >. Fig. 3.59 THE GRID-BROADWAY SECTION91 the Yellow Triangles. 21st Street is recommended in the Northeast Downtown Neighborhoods Plan as a festival street connecting Coors Field to Benedict Fountain Park in Uptown, and the Yellow of Denver 2011). Further in the future, if the property becomes available, the parcel between Broadway, 20th Street, and Welton
92 Street will become the Blue Triangle. This space is also the central landmark for the new boulevard, sitting at the fulcrum of the two city street grids and marking the location where Broadway changes from one-way to two-way. The primary colors red, yellow, Each pair of triangles will be programmed for various art and play events throughout the year. The city, adjacent neighborhoods, and other community organizations may organize these events. Events should be programmed to utilize both triangles of the pair together, actively connect the two sides of Broadway. For example, a PingPong tournament could be held on competing sides of Broadway in the Yellow Triangles. By marking these spaces with color they will begin to be recognized within the urban fabric. Eventually, people will know precisely where the Red Triangles, Yellow Triangles, in this area, and more pedestrians use the streets, the link between will be seen as less of a barrier. The activated spaces will help put more people on the street until development occurs. 3. The Blocks South of Civic Center Broadway passes through the Golden Triangle and Capitol Hill, two of Denvers most densely populated neighborhoods. The Golden Triangle contains many of the citys museums and cultural institutions. This section of the street is populated by a large variety of businesses including retail, restaurants, nightlife, and entertainment venues. Though the neighborhoods adjacent to Broadway are densely populated, the street itself suffers from a lack of pedestrian activity. This section of Broadway between 13th and 8th Avenues will be known as The Blocks, referencing the square street grid of the neighborhoods, and includes three unique zones along its route. These three zones are complimentary to existing uses and businesses on the street, yet are temporary enough to be changed should these uses change in the future. The two blocks between 13th and 11th Avenues become the Event
93Fig. 3.60 THE BLOCKS SITE DIAGRAM Blocks. Several large museums, venues, and nightclubs line these two blocks. The new History Colorado Center and City Hall Event Venue are the most notable. These two blocks will be used for various outdoor events and extensions of indoor events throughout the year. Due to their proximity to Civic Center these blocks of Broadway on these blocks will be used for smaller street events festivals and lunchtime markets, outdoor music events, etc. Broadway between 11th and 10th Avenue and 10th Avenue between
Fig. 3.63 STREET CLOSED FOR EVENT, re:Streets; Accessed April 3, 2012 from re:Streets Charette Documents < http://www.restreets.org/Content/10017/ CharretteDocuments.html >. Fig. 3.64 STREETS FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE, re:Streets; Accessed April 3, 2012 from re:Streets Charette Documents < http://www.restreets.org/ Content/10017/CharretteDocuments.html >. Fig. 3.65 THE BLOCKS-BROADWAY SECTION94Fig. 3.61 URBAN MOUNTAIN BIKE COURSE Fig. 3.62 10TH AVENUE SLEDDING
95 Lincoln and Acoma Streets becomes the Sports Blocks. Anchored will be used for outdoor athletic events throughout the year. The and bicycle races. Other examples could be an outdoor urban mountain bike course, climbing walls, or bouldering course. In the winter, 10th Avenue can be closed to allow for sledding on the slope between Lincoln and Broadway. In Capitol Hill during the snowstorms to allow children to sled (Johnson 1969). Denver has an active winter sports community and this block could be an excellent way to re-imagine that historic social activity. The southernmost blocks between 10th and 8th Avenue will become the Garden Blocks. These blocks are anchored by Tonys Market and in close proximity to dense residential areas. Denver has a large network of community gardens and urban farms, but currently none within close proximity to these densely populated raised bed community garden space will provide nearby residents with access to gardens and create an innovative new form of urban street using a social practice that is currently popular in Denver. Partnerships with Tonys Market and Denver Urban Gardens are possible to operate the garden blocks and host community events such as markets and cooking demonstrations. 4. The Settlement The section of Broadway between 2nd and Alameda Avenues is known popularly as the South Broadway district. It is also adjacent to the densely populated neighborhoods of Baker and Speer. This stretch of the street is lined with numerous shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, and theaters and is one of the most popular neighborhood business districts in the city. Referencing the small scale and dense pattern of blocks in this area, this zone of Broadway is known as The Settlement. The primary design intervention in this space is lighting. The area is already very active in the evening but lacks pedestrian scale lighting and seating on the narrow sidewalks. This zone is a primary candidate for brick-and-mortar improvements
96 Fig. 3.66 THE SETTLEMENT SITE PLANsidewalks can be expanded on both sides allowing for caf seating areas for the numerous restaurants and bars along Broadway. An interactive lighting scheme will be introduced using pylon light poles that delineate the new space. These lights will be wired on separate systems in groupings determined by adjacent uses. When people enter the seating space the pylons will activate, providing lighting for users while marking their space to passers-by. This system evokes the historical practice of settlers staking a claim to space on the prairie. The lights themselves are reminiscent of the fence posts that delineate space in much of Colorado, but can be angular in the shape of Broadway and Brighton Boulevard. Due to the large number of pedestrians in this area at night, motionactivated lighting will be embedded in the crosswalks to alert drivers to pedestrians. These recommendations are conceptual, and the Fig. 3.67 THE SETTLEMENT-BROADWAY SECTION
97 Fig. 3.68 VIEW LOOKING NORTH Fig. 3.69 SWARM STREET INDIANAPOLIS CULTURAL TRAIL, Acconci Studio; Accessed April 3, 2012 from Art Knowledge News < http://www. artknowledgenews.com/01_05_2011_23_32_22_ unique_public_art_project.html >.lighting projects can be commissioned individually or together by the city as public art installations at a later date. 5. The Highway This design recommendation occurs on Broadway in two zones: between 6th and 2nd Avenues, and again between Alameda Avenue and I-25 at the southern end of the boulevard proposal. This intervention, known as The Highway, is a means to identify and visually activate stretches of Broadway that are currently lowdensity and relatively automobile-dependent. These two zones lack the dense mix of businesses and residences necessary to support a high level of pedestrian use, but may change over time. The proposed redevelopment of the big-box shopping center and Denver Design District south of Alameda Avenue and west of Broadway will greatly increase the density along the street and potentially change the function of the public space. side of the street and is used for a planting installation. Concrete planters will be used that can be shifted and removed at a later date as the street use changes. In the interim, the planters will be organized in alternating bands that reference major landscape
Fig. 3.72 VIEW LOOKING WEST Fig. 3.73 VIEW LOOKING SOUTH98 Fig. 3.70 THE HIGHWAY SITE PLAN Fig. 3.71 THE HIGHWAY-BROADWAY SECTIONelements in Colorado. These bands will include prairie grass mixes, woody shrubs, boulders, and small trees. These landscape bands, perpendicular to the street, amplify the experience of movement parts of the city. These sections of Broadway will use the visual effect of passing through agricultural areas with orderly rows of
99 crops to reference the landscapes one may pass through in much of Colorado. Materiality Materials and colors used in design interventions along Broadway should reference those commonly found in Denvers urban landscape. Examples include sandstone, steel, Corten steel, aluminum, and concrete. These materials should work to identify the street and its larger context and to help users locate themselves within the larger urban environment. The following is a suggested palette. Fig. 3.74 MATERIALS PALETTEConclusion It is possible that Broadway can become a new urban boulevard while acknowledging Denvers identity as a modern city on the high plains of Colorado. Using the historical structure of a boulevard, design elements on the street will encourage movement, procession, demarcation, and ceremony. The form, function, and aesthetics of these individual elements, however, must be unique to Denver. The boulevards of history were gestures of power and authoritarianism. Their formality created their grandeur. These qualities are not appropriate for a city such as Denver, without a military past, medieval urban fabric, or architectural uniformity. Nor are they appropriate for a modern city that struggles with a rapidly growing population of transplants and ecological issues relating to water and climate. The bones of the boulevard have relevance for a civic spine such as Broadway, but this design proposal aims to re-imagine the individual components, as part of a greater whole, for 21st century Denver.
Discussing The Proposal: Challenges And Critique In developing this vision for a re-imagined Broadway several challenges the study area. At 5.8 miles from I-70 to I-25, Broadway is a long and very and the adjacent neighborhoods change character rapidly. Recommending proposals for accommodating increased pedestrian, bicycle, and transit use make this a very complicated street design. As acknowledged earlier, the function of Broadway must change in order to become a true public space and accommodate multiple users. The 100-foot right-of-way does not allow for maintaining existing vehicular lanes and maximizing pedestrian activity zones simultaneously. A two-way conversion was considered for Broadway and Lincoln south of 20th due to space constraints in an effort to maximize available pedestrian, recommendations. Due to the size and complexity of this study area, and the time allotted for this thesis, this project remains a visioning exercise rather than a detailed design proposal. It is important to acknowledge that this vision for Broadway is one element of a larger strategy for the city. If the network of Grand Boulevards is completed, each street may have unique functions independent of each other. Broadway does not need to do everything for everyone. Each new boulevard can complement the others and form a true system of identitybuilding public spaces for Denver, ringing the downtown core and providing a distinct sequence of arrival, departure, and procession through the city. Other streets in the city can build upon these boulevards by providing smaller-scale visions at a neighborhood level. The purpose of this vision for Broadway is to express the relevance of boulevards in contemporary Western cities and to demonstrate how these streets must become more dynamic in order to Community participation was not a factor in this vision recommendation. Due to the time constraints of the thesis and its nature as a visioning exercise, community input was not possible beyond the interview process. The design recommendations remain relatively broad in scope to allow for the necessary 100
101 community input in certain spaces that would make the boulevard a true that historically boulevards were very much a top-down urban intervention. Though the authoritarian politics that beget the creation of European boulevards are not present in contemporary Denver, to some degree, a vision on this scale requires a certain amount of heavy-handed intervention. A street design and implementation of this scale necessitates the creation of input. Similar to many planning and design recommendations for large and complex urban sites, the vision is born before the citizen participation phase. The permanent landmark spaces of this proposal do not require community participation, and in fact, may be compromised by such a process. These spaces should be implemented by the city as a means to achieving the overall vision. These landmarks are integral to the creation of this boulevard and any changes to them would compromise the vision. A boulevard is a complete linear system. Each landmark and attendant public space is integral to the whole of the boulevard, and none of these elements can disappear without deliberately un-planned and un-programmed in many areas to allow for more grassroots, temporary interventions by the local community. Though the implementation of these zones is still the responsibility of the city, those who are responsible for the creation of urban space, these zones may be functionality of the street for everyday users. The 10th Avenue sledding hill proposal, for example, is not integral to the overall vision of the boulevard and its elimination or transition into something else would not compromise the boulevard. This vision maintains the goal of a contextually sensitive proposal by providing spaces for temporary and adaptable programming to best suit the needs and desires of the community while simultaneously recommending Finally, the question of whether or not this recommendation for Broadway can still be considered a boulevard proposal is incredibly important. What makes a boulevard a boulevard? If you take away the formality and uniformity of the traditional boulevard, is it still a boulevard? If America, as argued in this typologies, does the notion of a boulevard still hold relevance? Based on the
102 is yes. Broadway can be a boulevard, even in this re-imagined form. It is the underlying structure and function of boulevards that make them unique: movement, procession, demarcation, and ceremony. The adjacent uses, the hybrid approach to creating a contemporary boulevard. A blend of the permanent and the temporary is the most appropriate model for a dynamic urban boulevard. In America, as a resurgence in urban living remakes cities in the 21st century, the importance of streets has never been greater. Decades of neglecting users without an automobile has created a landscape of inhospitable asphalt and concrete where most people would not dare walk or cycle. This damages not only the aesthetics of a city, but the civic pride as well. Social structures can be reinforced by the interaction with other people. The ideology behind this proposal is that urban streets, especially boulevards, should reinforce the identities and customs of a citys people and landscape. The urban boulevard, because of its nature as both street and linear plaza, is a useful tool in the rebuilding of American cities as a means for strengthening challenges to this project, Broadway can certainly become Denvers true civic spine: a boulevard for the 21st century. Future Work This project compliments work already underway on modern street design in the United States and Europe. As more people move to cities the importance of streets as components of the public space network increases. As fossil fuel prices rise and vehicular travel becomes less practical, streets will need to diversity their functions. This project opens the door to more exploration of streets as public spaces and the importance of a civic language within the urban context. Rethinking streets as public spaces and forums leads to possible studies in sociological issues relating to the street. Factors such as race, gender, and age certainly play an interesting role in how people use and think about street space. The environmental function of streets is only recently being given broader attention, though Ian McHarg proposed these notions decades ago in Design With Nature It is necessary for social and environmental justice to play a larger role in the design of city streets in the future. Technical issues could be studied such as how the availability of parking, cycling infrastructure, and pedestrian amenities, and the prevalence of trees and other landscaping impact local economics or social use of
may need a closer look in the 21st century. Key urban studies frameworks such as those of Kevin Lynch and Jane Jacobs were written in the early 1960s during a period of great social upheaval and massive migrations out of American cities. America is a much different place today. Landscape architecture is gaining traction on traditional urban planning ideologies as a new and perhaps more responsive way to envision, plan, and design urban agglomerations. A landscape urbanism or landscape infrastructure approach may provide interesting lenses through which to study the redesign of urban streets on a more detailed level. Lastly, tactical urbanism and grassroots design interventions provide a fascinating new forum for people to re-imagine their own urban spaces and thereby hold greater pride in their cities, neighborhoods, and even streets. The impact of these contemporary ideologies and frameworks, along with rapid societal and environmental changes, will surely affect street design in ways we do not yet understand. 103
APPENDIX A INTERVIEW PROTOCOL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Denver, the Downtown Denver Partnership, and private consultants STUDY TITLE : Re-imagining the Boulevard: A Vision for Denvers Broadway 11 January 2012 | Ryan Sotirakis Date: _______ ________________2012 Category: 1. Community Planning & Development 2. Public W orks 3. DDP 4. Consultant Interview #: ________ Informed Consent form completed and signed? YES NO Permission to tape record? YES NO Thank you for taking the time to participate in my research. Ive received your completed and signed Informed Consent Form. permission to I will not be using names for this study and will refer to you only by your general professional title when compiling my research and data. 2. Permission to tape record this session Thank you for allowing me to tape record this session, I may be 104
using your responsesincluding direct quotes from the interview. Since you have agreed to be audio taped, I will start the digital audio recording of the interview in order to augment my own note taking. recorded I will not be recording this session, so will now begin taking notes for future reference. Do you have any questions before we get started? I am a Masters student in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver. This interview is part of my thesis research, entitled: Re-imagining the Boulevard: A Vision for Denvers Broadway I provided you with a brief overview of my research in the Informed Consent Form This thesis aims to create an informed design proposal for Denvers Broadway, which the City and County of Denver has designated as a Grand Boulevard in the 2007 Downtown Denver Area Plan. Are you aware of this designation? The purpose of this study is to examine the cultural and architectural history of boulevards as an urban street typology, and suggest a new approach for creating boulevards in a city in the American West founded on notions of the frontier and individualism. Qualitative data will be collected through historical planning and landscape architecture, and in-depth interviews with of street transformations in Denver. The overarching question of this research is: What does the designation of Denvers Broadway as a Grand Boulevard mean for the future design of the street and its corresponding public space, and how might such a Boulevard look and function in an arid city on the high plains? In order to address this question, I will formulate a design proposal that responds to the unique context of Broadway as an urban boulevard in the American West. 105
Logistics: This interview will last approximately 45 to 60 minutes. The questions I will be asking will include a mix of open-ended and closed questions that will help me Partnership may intend by designating Broadway a Grand Boulevard. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. I appreciate your honest feedback and appreciate the time you have taken to help me with this research. As a reminder, I would like your response to these questions not as a resident, but from your perspective as a decision-maker or creator of streets and public space design in Denver. Before we proceed further, I want to provide you with a chance to ask any questions. Do you have any questions about the research at this time? (And you can always ask further questions, later.) The questions for this interview are organized into 4 sections: 1) questions about you and your organization; 2) streets and boulevards in Denver, and complete street design; 3) the Grand Boulevard and public space in Denver; and 4) the designation of Broadway as a Grand Boulevard. SECTION 1: Opening questions / Demographics / Your organization Gender M F 1.1 Professional Position / Title What is your general professional title? (e.g. landscape architect, planner, project manager) ____________________________________ 1.2 What is the scope of your responsibilities in this position? 1.3 How many years have you been in this position? 1.5 What are the goals of your organization in the creation of public space in Downtown Denver? What about streets as public spaces? 106
1.6 What are the challenges associated with creating new public space, Probe: lack of public support, resistance from xxx _____________________________________________________________ SECTION 2: Streets and boulevards in Denver / Complete Street design 2.1.1 Is a boulevard dif ferent from a parkway? If so, how? Probe: Denver has many parkways, but fewer true redevelopment of cities? 2.2.1 In Denver? SECTION 3: The Grand Boulevard and public space in Denver 3.1 Are you aware of the designation of Broadway as Grand Boulevard? If YES, proceed with 3.2 through end of questionnaire 3.2 What does the term Grand Boulevard mean to you? What components does it include? Are there any examples in Denver? 3.2.1 What does the term grand imply in terms of a street or public space? 3.2.2 Do you believe a Grand Boulevard incorporates multi-modal access, or is this reserved for other arterials? 107
and/or the public? 3.4 It is the belief of many designers that public space and its attendant physical components (materials, plantings, architecture) can and does contribute to a visible civic identity or branding for a city Times Square in New York, Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., the Champs-Elyses in Paris. In your opinion, what is the role of public space in the creation of civic identity? 3.4.1 Does Denver have examples of public space that help shape its civic identity as a city in the arid west? 3.4.2 Can streets also serve as identity-shapers? _____________________________________________________________ SECTION 4: The designation of Broadway as a Grand Boulevard You have previously stated that you are aware of the designation of Broadway as Grand Boulevard. The following questions will help me to gain a better understanding of what this designation may mean to you and your 4.1 To the best of your knowledge, what was the impetus for the Grand Boulevard designation? creation of this designation? 4.2 Are there other streets or boulevards in Denver that you believe can or should be used as precedent for a future design for Broadway? 4.3 What segment of Broadway received the designation of Grand Boulevard? 4.3.1 Does this designation imply different design treatments along 108
Broadway, or would Grand Boulevard be a blanket design? 4.4 With this designation and any future improvements, will Broadways 4.6 Is there a timeline or priority for this project as compared to other components of the Downtown Area Plan? 109
APPENDIX B HUMAN SUBJECTS APPROVAL 110
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