From the LinkedIn Group – Mobility and Real Estate
Driverless vehicles could bring out the best – or worst – in our cities by transforming land use
“Urban planning as a profession is largely unprepared for autonomous vehicles. Planners need to be aware, smart and proactive about the potential impacts, particularly in terms of the potential for renewed urban sprawl. A future involving widespread use of autonomous vehicles presents both land-use opportunities and challenges. Progressive outcomes will require an objective assessment of their complex land-use, economic and community influences on our evolving cities.”
Taco Bell Ditching Drive-Thrus in Cities
“Expect other chains to also look to urban areas for growth — adding new suburban locations is no longer a viable strategy.”
How Would Fully Autonomous Cars Change Our Lives?
“Exactly what that world might look like is anybody’s guess. The computer-driven car could make America’s most congested roads flow freely for the first time in decades, or it could stress our infrastructure to collapse. It might replace existing transit options in our largest cities while simultaneously killing off the regional transit that largely serves the least mobile populations. It could put millions of Americans out of work or spark the kind of economic boom we haven’t seen in decades. The uncertainty stems not from the technology itself, but from the many ways it could be implemented.”
The Problem With America’s New Streetcars
“The new streetcar segments typically run a short distance — a few miles at most — in mixed traffic, and they aren’t well-integrated into existing transit networks. So it should come as no surprise that ridership is often underwhelming.”
Amazon Is Said to Test Delivery Service to Rival FedEx, UPS
“Handling more deliveries itself would give Amazon greater flexibility and control over the last mile to shoppers’ doorsteps, let it save money through volume discounts, and help avoid congestion in its own warehouses by keeping merchandise in the outside sellers’ own facilities.”
Walmart Puts Its Eggs in a Time-Saving Basket: Grocery Pickup
“The customers select their groceries online, and then the shoppers pick the items off the store shelves and deliver them to people when they arrive in the parking lot. Customers never have to step inside the store.”
Hockey Pucks, Foam, Canopies: Inside the New Civic Center Station
“Let’s start with the foam: 180,000 cubic feet of “geofoam” — aka cooler material — will replace dirt as structural fill. “It’s the largest geofoam project in downtown Denver,” says Dave Espinosa, senior project manager for Mortenson Construction, the project’s general contractor. Geofoam is commonly used in road projects, such as embankments, and doesn’t take on water, Espinosa says. And hauling the stuff is less costly than moving dirt…Then there are the 2,300 black rubber discs that contractors involved with the project call hockey pucks. SEH, the project’s architect, developed a noise- and vibration-cancellation system that utilizes the discs so that buses coming in and out of the station won’t disturb the high-rise next door.”
20-year blueprint for Denver parks envisions 5-mile path around downtown, other changes
“The ideas are among several that comprise what the city calls the Outdoor Downtown Plan, a multimillion-dollar initiative that broadly looks to expand the city’s urban forest and improve the safety and security of outdoor spaces. Another of those is an arts and culture park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, a nature-inspired kids play area slated for Commons Park and the Denver Loop.”
DRIVING CHANGE – How the transportation revolution affects real estate
“In 2013, Paar Development in Seattle built a 48-unit apartment building that had no associated parking. Many observers were worried that tenants would take up nearby street parking. “That was not the case,” says Joe Paar, owner and lead developer. “Our tenants actually didn’t have Cars — a lot of them didn’t even have bikes.” The building was a success, and Paar has since developed more Seattle apartment buildings with little or no parking. For many people, cars are not a critical part of the equation when sizing up a place to live.”
Coming Home to a Shipping Container
“Building with shipping containers isn’t exactly new, but until recently it hasn’t been exactly mainstream either. Now, though, it is becoming a lot more popular, as eco-friendly practices begin to influence market trends. ”
Denver City Council Member Robin Kniech announced that the City and RTD continue to refine a package of mobility improvements for transit, pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles on East Colfax Avenue (between I-25 and I-225). Based on project goals and prior public input, a recent study is focusing on a Bus Rapid Transit design concept that will aim to double daily bus ridership (from 22,000 to 50,000), shorten travel times by up to 15 minutes and more. Amenities such as benches, public restrooms and bike facilities will also be considered as the design process for transit stops along the corridor continues.
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The Regional Transportation District (RTD) has initiated a comprehensive study in collaboration with northwest area elected officials, jurisdiction staffs, business leaders and public agencies to evaluate the viability of bus rapid transit (BRT) service along State Highway 119 between Boulder and Longmont. The State Highway 119 BRT study resulted from recommendations by the Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS), which was initiated by RTD in 2013. The NAMS was a response to the significant cost increases and delays associated with building and operating commuter rail in the 41-mile northwest corridor. It developed consensus among northwest area stakeholders, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and RTD for implementing cost-effective mobility improvements. One of the study’s highest interim priorities was to establish BRT in the State Highway 119 corridor as the preferred alternative for BRT.
Parsons will lead a team of 10 consulting companies to address the growing congestion and travel demand in the corridor, environmental impacts, multimodal access, transit reliability and corridor transit travel time, among other criteria. “The ultimate goal is to get State Highway 119 ready for BRT service. The highway is a critical link and the primary travel corridor between Boulder and Longmont, with connections to Niwot, Gunbarrel and rural eastern Boulder County,” said RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova. “Traffic congestion in the corridor is tied to increased development, which is expected to continue into the future.”
RTD opened its first BRT service, the Flatiron Flyer, in 2016 on U.S. 36 between Boulder and Denver. The bus rapid transit service provides convenient and frequent travel options. Participating in the BRT study are the cities of Boulder and Longmont; Boulder County; Boulder and Longmont chambers of commerce; Niwot Business Association; Commuting Solutions; North Area Transportation Alliance; CDOT, Denver Regional Council of Governments, Federal Transit Administration, BNSF and the University of Colorado – Boulder. Joining Parsons on the consultant team are Apex Design; ArLand Land Use Economics; Connetics Transportation Group; Economic & Planning Systems; Fehr & Peers; Felsburg, Holt & Ullevig; H.C. Peck & Associates; Harris Kocher Smith; Pinyon Environmental; and Virtegic Group.
Council Member Susman also announced that the Fax-Mayfair Business Improvement District recently installed bike racks on East Colfax Avenue. They’re in 15 locations along the corridor near neighborhood-serving businesses. They provide a great opportunity for neighbors to ride in, park their bike, and spend time at the many great restaurants, stores, and other services along East Colfax. Bike Denver consulted with the BID on the design and placement, and the racks were partially funded by the City of Denver Office of Economic Development.
For Denverites, taking advantage of ride sharing and car sharing through companies like Lyft and Uber is about to get much more sustainable. The City and County of Denver was recently named a sub-recipient of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) that aims to increase environmental sustainability across the community’s ride sharing industry.
Denver City Council Member Paul Kashmann announced that The University of Denver (DU) recently launched its Campus Master Plan process—a planning effort that will create a blueprint to guide the evolution of the physical and built environment on and around the campus. This is a unique planning effort in that it will not only examine the campus, but also its edges. The goal is to promote greater interactions with neighboring communities, commercial areas and parks, as well as to improve transportation, pedestrian, and bicycling systems for the entire area. Throughout the planning process, DU plans to work with the community to gather ideas and vision for the future of the area and has partnered with Ayers Saint Gross (ASG), a planning and architecture firm that has planned and executed comprehensive building projects at such institutions as the University of Virginia, Emory University and Johns Hopkins University.
In September, more than 200 citizens joined the Blueprint Denver team for community workshops. They reviewed and provided feedback on draft maps of Denver’s future centers, corridors, residential areas and districts. The maps indicate where growth could go — with an eye on making neighborhoods more complete and inclusive while being sensitive to their existing character. Residents gave broad input on what it takes to make a neighborhood complete and livable, as well as specific input on how their own neighborhoods and others are labeled in the draft maps.
What would it take to make your neighborhood complete? Better transit options? More park land or open space? Safe bike lanes or trails? Affordable housing or ways to age in place? What about better access to healthy food? All of these ideas came up at the September workshops. Watch a narrated slideshow from one of the workshops and share your voice on the draft maps online.
Denveright’s NEW Blueprint Denver future places survey asks you to review and react to a draft map of future Denver corridors, centers, residential areas and districts. The map was developed based on input from hundreds of residents who participated in the “Growth Game” last spring, and was recently presented at September’s Blueprint Denver community workshops. Check out your neighborhood — did we get it right? This is the first draft of the future places map. You’ll have more chances to comment as Blueprint Denver progresses and the map gets more detailed.
Council Member Susman also announced that Lucky’s Market, an affordable natural foods grocer, will be on the ground floor of the three-story commercial space at Quebec Street and Lowry Boulevard as part of the new commercial development in Boulevard One. The store will span 25,000 square feet and mark the first Denver location for the Boulder-based grocery store chain. Lucky’s plans to break ground in early 2018 with anticipated completion in early 2019.
Council Member Robin Kniech also announced that city officials released the final draft of Denver’s five-year housing policy, strategy, and investment plan, Housing an Inclusive Denver.
The new plan, which was developed with significant input from the newly-established Housing Advisory Committee, outlines strategies to create and preserve strong neighborhoods with diverse housing options that are accessible and affordable to all Denver Residents. The plan is centered around four fundamental values:
- Leveraging and enhancing housing investments to support inclusive communities
- Identifying ways to foster communities of opportunity
- Looking at housing as a continuum that serves residents across incomes
- Embracing diversity throughout our neighborhoods to ensure that Denver remains a welcoming community for all residents
A 45-day public comment period will run through November 13. This plan will then be considered for adoption by the Council. You can give your feedback through this survey:
Denver City Council Member Kendra Black announced that Greenbox Storage plans to build on the former Rockies Inn site (Evans & I-25). Construction has been delayed because the company opted to amend the original plan to a “smarter” building (net zero energy output). Work on the project is expected to begin early 2018. “Unfortunately, we had hoped that more community-inspired development would go in at this site, especially with the close proximity to the light rail station.”
Also Council Member Black announced that Wellshire Golf Course is transitioning from High Line Canal water and is installing a new irrigation system using potable water. Construction of the new irrigation system will began after Labor Day (Sept. 4) and will extend to spring 2018.
Periodically, the City and County of Denver authorizes General Obligation (GO) Bonds to restore, replace, and expand infrastructure and capital assets across the city. Denver plans to present the next general obligation bond (GO Bond) authorization to voters in the November election after more than a year of agency, City Council, and public input. Projects that the GO Bond can pay for must be city-owned and operated assets. Of the $937 million of projects, over $415 million are for transportation and mobility systems.