A two-block stretch of 18th Street between Wynkoop and Blake streets in Lower Downtown Denver will be converted from one-way to two-way traffic this year. RTD’s new circulator service, the Free MetroRide, will debut this spring and travel from Union Station to Civic Center Station along 18th and 19th streets as part of RTD’s FasTracks transit expansion.

In January 2013, the city of Denver re-examined the efficiency of the transportation network in LoDo. The many changes taking place in the area—including the pending completion of the Denver Union Station project, a significant increase in residential living and Denver’s growing multi-modal transportation options—meant it was time to improve traffic flow.

Denver Public Works officials and experts in planning, traffic engineering and traffic operations recommended the shift to improve traffic flow, and Public Works Manager Jose Cornejo decided to move forward with the conversion sooner rather than later. Work on 18th Street should begin this summer and take about two months to complete. The conversion will include:

• Dedicated striped lanes for bicycles on both sides of the street with pavement markings to draw the attention of all users.

• New traffic signals at 18th and Wynkoop, with countdown pedestrian signals.

• Countdown pedestrian signals will also be added at Wazee and Blake streets.

• Improved curb ramps and crosswalk markings.

The estimated cost of the conversion of 18th Street is $550,000 and is being funded through the city’s general fund, capital improvement project funds and tax increment financing.

The specific goals of the conversion include:

• Reconnecting the street grid, finishing the two-way conversion in the area that includes Wazee Street, 17th Street and 19th Street.

• Furthering the Downtown Area Plan’s vision of creating a “green and walkable city.”

• Allowing more efficient movement of all modes of traffic.