The 61st & Peña Station Area Plan sets forth a clear vision for a vibrant urban district, centered on a rail station located just one stop from Denver International Airport. The 382-acre station area will evolve over time into a compact, walkable, and mixed-use “aerotropolis”. Hotels, offices, restaurants, cafés, shops, and a wide range of urban housing types, in buildings of up to 12 stories, will frame the district’s parks and plazas. Employers, workers, and residents will benefit from excellent access to America’s fifth-busiest airport and to downtown Denver, which anchors the rail line’s west end.
Patrick Siegman led the development of a parking strategy for the plan, while a principal at Nelson\Nygaard Consulting. When the plan was drafted, the station area was largely agricultural. Its multiple property owners had varying needs. A key challenge was to propose policies, regulations, and an implementation approach to help the district evolve from open fields in an auto-dependent area, to its desired future state: a dense, lively urban neighborhood, where people can thrive without a car.
The parking strategy provides comprehensive recommendations. These include an effective management approach for the station’s opening day, a flexible phasing strategy, and a suite of transportation demand management measures to increase transit ridership and reduce motor vehicle trips, pollution, and parking demand. Curb parking management policies, including demand-based pricing, ensure that from day one, motorists will pay to park in the station’s park-and-ride lot, rather than overcrowding nearby streets. Pay-by-phone technology eliminates the capital and operating costs of physical meters. Together, these policies will allow the district to grow, unfettered by minimum parking regulations.
The 61st & Peña Station opened in 2016. 113,000 ft.² of office, 218 apartments, a 226-room hotel, a public park, and an 800-space, $6/day park-and-ride lot (an interim use) are complete. Last-mile shuttle service, using EasyMile autonomous buses, has begun.
Images courtesy of City of Denver, Pena Station NEXT, and RTD