In early 2011, the City of Lakewood began working with the Lakewood-West Colfax Business Improvement District, interested residents, students, businesses, community members, and neighborhood and business associations to explore opportunities for creating an arts district in the vicinity of the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD) campus and the Lamar Street light rail station in northeast Lakewood and also to identify opportunities to improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility between the station and adjacent neighborhoods. The idea for an arts district in this area emerged during previous planning efforts that focused on opportunities to revitalize West Colfax Avenue and surrounding neighborhoods. Using an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Grant, Lakewood initiated a dialogue with the community about creating an arts district, encouraging infill investment in an economically challenged area surrounding the Lamar Street neighborhood walk-up light rail station, and promoting multimodal mobility through improved sidewalks, bicycle facilities, and car and bike share programs. This collaborative planning effort, led by Todd Wenskoski when he was at RNL Design, created the 40 West Arts District Urban Design and Mobility Concepts. A grassroots group of local activists, the 40 West Champions, also emerged and is now bringing the arts district to life.
This project facilitated a dialogue with the community about creating an arts district to capitalize on these recent investments and to serve as a catalyst for economic growth and reinvestment in this area. The plan recommended multimodal transportation in the area through the innovative blend of mobility, art interventions and an ongoing social media and branding effort. An extensive and collaborative public involvement process was a key part of this planning effort. A series of five public open houses was held to gain community input and a groundswell of community support for the arts district and mobility improvements quickly became apparent. Fewer than 30 attendees participated in the first planning open house in February 2011. Attendance grew substantially at subsequent open houses and by the fourth open house and arts celebration that launched the 40 West Arts District in June 2011 there were over 200 attendees. A key feature of the plan is the 40 West ArtLine, an on-street arts bike loop delineated by colored pavement to connect parks, light rail, the RMCAD campus and other important destinations.
The collaborative effort on this project brought reality to the arts district vision and resulted in the 40 West Arts District Urban Design and Mobility Concepts plan that identifies specific implementation strategies to improve multimodal mobility in the area and help create a unique sense of place.
Project Management | Urban Design | Landscape Architecture | Planning | Public Engagement
City of Lakewood
Lakewood – West Colfax Business Improvement District
Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design
Fehr & Peers
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Denver, Colorado 80204