Colorado Public Works Journal, Fall/Winter 2021

Fall/Winter 2021 57 RTD FASTRACKS Pauline Hamberman Windscreens for new Colfax 15/15L bus shelters embrace the line’s east-west connection The Regional Transportation District (RTD)’s 15/15L bus shelter improvement project showcases windscreen artwork that cele- brates Colfax Avenue as a vital connection between Colorado’s Eastern Plains and Rocky Mountains. Designed in-house by RTD Architect Ignacio Correa-Ortiz, each of the 36 new shelters installed at 34 sites along east- and west- bound Colfax Avenue in Denver and Aurora will feature a geometric design inspired by 20th century artist M.C. Escher embedded into the windscreen glass. The artwork depicts a high plains creek (Correa-Ortiz envisions Sand Creek), along with native species such as yucca plants and lizards, that geometrically transforms through a field of staggered cubes into the Front Range skyline, from Mount Evans to Longs Peak, featuring indigenous aspens and hawks. Correa-Ortiz intentionally designed the wind- screen artwork to be most dense at its cen- ter, which is at eye level for many patrons. While the field of staggered cubes was created to be visually evident for functional purposes, Correa-Ortiz dubs the center “the place where the plains meet the mountains as a representation of plate tectonics.” As a safety feature, the windscreens are imprinted during fabrication with a texture that looks like sand-blasted glass to provide visual contrast on the surfaces. The glass is coated with an anti-graffiti film to discourage vandalism. The work was made possible by RTD construction inspectors; the contractor, Jalisco; and the contractor’s glass vendor. In addition to windscreens, RTD is upgrading bus stops between Broadway and the R Line’s Colfax Station in Aurora to include benches, lighted maps and schedule displays, as well as safety amenities such as lighting and security cameras (the eastbound and westbound 15L stops beneath Colfax Station have monument signs with electronic displays and security cameras, but not shelters). Electronic displays with real-time departure information are located at six stops as part of a pilot program. The project to enhance stops along the 15/15L bus route includes queue bypass lanes, transit signal priority and bus bulbs, also known as curb extensions, in key locations. Street and sidewalk construction were completed in 2020, and the installation of bus shelters and additional amenities is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Prior to the pandemic, RTD’s 15/15L bus service along Colfax served as many passengers per day as some rail corridors (over 20,000 boardings per day). Current demand for the bus routes remains higher than all other RTD routes. Bus service along this busy corridor operates nearly 24 hours per day, seven days a week. The author Pauline Haberman is the Public Outreach Specialist at Regional Transportation District RTD Architect Ignacio Correa-Ortiz designed the windscreen artwork to be most dense at its center, “the place where the plains meet the mountains as a representation of plate tectonics.”