Forest City, MCA Accepting Bids for Eastbridge Pedestrian Tunnel

Pedestrian-TunnelWith the pending development of the Eastbridge town center, several concerns loom. One of these concerns is in regards to pedestrians and cyclists safely crossing MLK to get to the center. “Obviously, this area on MLK is going to get much busier if they put a large grocery store in there,” says Eastbridge resident Aaron Gaies. “It’s already a tricky spot to cross for pedestrians and cyclists with a blind curve right there.” Indeed, if Forest City hopes to continue to promote Stapleton as a green, walking and cycling community, something needs to be done. Forest City and the Stapleton MCA have recognized this issue and are already working to find a suitable solution.

“We know we need to address a major access issue in regards to the Eastbridge Town Center,” said MCA President Liza Kampstra. “We have been working with Forest City, and they agree that a solution will be in place.” The MCA, Forest City, and the City of Denver evaluated several options, including a pedestrian crosswalk, stoplights, and even a pedestrian bridge. “After working with Denver traffic engineers, it is clear that a crosswalk, or a set of stoplights simply aren’t the best solution,” said Forest City Spokesperson Janelle Ayers. “It would slow down what will already be a congested traffic area with the Soopers, especially if they keep the gas station.” Kampstra says that a pedestrian bridge is not an option as well. “It would be quite the eye sore, and a pretty big pain for pedestrians,” says Kampstra. “We looked at some renderings of this, and nothing really worked with the area.”

After two weeks of studying best practices in similar areas, the MCA and Forest City, with the support of the City of Denver, plans to build a pedestrian tunnel. “A tunnel is the most viable option,” said Ayers. “We can make it walkable and rideable, and it won’t be a massive, ugly protrusion that a pedestrian bridge would be.” Forest City says they have sent out RFPs to local and national architectural firms who may be interested in the project. “We are looking for something cost-efficient,” says Ayers. “But, at the same time, it needs to fit in well with the cityscape around it. We want it to be used by Stapleton residents.” Ayers says the plan right now is to have the pedestrian bridge cross from South Eastbridge to North Eastrbidge with an exit in the middle at the town center. “We are committed to making the town center work with the community,” says Ayers. “Once construction begins on the town center, construction will begin on the pedestrian tunnel. We will view it as one, fluid project.”

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