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Local business owners share how they feel about upgrades on Colfax

The Regional Transportation District started work on an $11 million project that will change some things about Colfax Avenue.

DENVER — John Chapman IV has been a business owner for years, but it was two years ago that Chapman’s shop, Lawrence & Larimer, joined the hundreds of businesses on Colfax Avenue. 

Now that the Regional Transportation District (RTD) is beginning work on the 15L East Colfax Construction Project, business owners like Chapman said they are looking forward to the upgrades.

“Being born and raised here, it’s important that we take care of our city,” Chapman said. “I’m thinking that upgrades will definitely add to the character of Colfax.”

RTD agrees that the changes will improve the area. 

“East Colfax corridor has not had any significant improvements in over 30 years,” said Lisa Trujillo, the Project Outreach Manager at RTD. 

According to RTD, a project like the one they are working on takes years to design -- which is what made the team so excited to finally announce the undertaking at a press conference Thursday morning. 

RELATED: RTD to renovate 37 bus stops along East Colfax route

Credit: Lori Lizarraga

RTD, in partnership with the City and County of Denver, completed a Transit Signal Priority study in 2014. With information from the study, RTD was able to secure funding for the 15L East Colfax Construction Project and, after 30 years, pre-construction started on March 18. 

The total project budget is $11 million funded through FTA Ladders of Opportunity Grant, DRCOG, and CDOT FASTER.

RTD plans to renovate 37 bus stops between Broadway in Denver and Interstate 225 in Aurora along the East Colfax Limited route.

The route - 15L East Colfax Limited - will see those bus stops get "enhanced shelters" with lighting. Not just that, but some will see queue bypass lanes, curb extensions and expanded boarding areas at key bus stops.

“We will also be providing improvements to the roadways so the buses can move along Colfax faster," Trujillo said.

Trujillo also said the project intends to enhance the passenger experience, passenger safety and service reliability for 15L riders.The shelters will have lighting, cameras and offer visibility from the outside.

"These enhancements can aid in discouraging suspicious activity," Trujillo said. 

“Security is always a great addition," Chapman echoed. "With all the people, all the foot traffic that’s on Colfax, a lot of the newer people who have moved here - I think it helps people feel more secure. Cameras, lights, even the smallest things like trashcans being added to Colfax is huge.”

The 15L East Colfax Construction Project expects to see construction begin mid April. 9NEWS was told construction shouldn't cause any businesses to close down along Colfax Avenue during the 400 days of renovation. 

The project is expected to see completion by the spring of 2020. 

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