The Union Boulevard Corridor Urban Design Plan was adopted unanimously by the Lakewood Planning Commission at a public hearing on November 2, 2011.
The City of Lakewood began work on the plan in February 2011, with assistance from RNL Design. The City conducted stakeholder interviews and held three public open houses with interested businesses, property owners, property managers and community members to consider ways to help establish a sense of place and a consistent and identifiable character for the Union Boulevard Corridor between U.S. 6 and Alameda Avenue. The planning effort was funded by a brownfields assessment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The plan builds upon and helps advance recommendations in other adopted plans for the area, including the Federal Center/Union Boulevard Corridor Connectivity Plan, Union Corridor Station Area Plan and the General Services Administration’s Denver Federal Center Site Plan Study.
The plan provides recommendations related to the design and location of future public and private investments, such as street connections, sidewalks and pedestrian connections, benches, lighting and directional signage. The plan also provides a visual summary of how the corridor could begin to evolve as properties develop or redevelop to higher density, mixed-use development. Key recommendations fall into the following categories:
1. Urban Design
The plan makes recommendations to break up the large superblocks of buildings isolated by extensive surface parking lots. In their place, the plan recommends creating a finer grain of pedestrian walkways, and activated edges along Union Boulevard with buildings located near the street and structured parking replacing existing surface parking lots.
2. Branding the Corridor
The area lacks a unifying image and identity that could brand it as clearly as other regional business centers. The plan illustrates ways that the streetscape and landscape environment can help create a sense of unity for the district.
To achieve the vision for the area, Union Boulevard needs to be a “complete street,” accommodating pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, drivers and outdoor dining and retail activities. New east-west and north-south street connections are recommended in this plan. The plan also recommends increasing mobility options through proposed bike and car share programs and the possibility of a circulator shuttle service.
An Environmental Records Search Summary report was also created as part of this planning effort. The report, which is available from the City, helps advance economic reinvestment in the study area by documenting brownfield findings and recommending next steps for further analysis of sites with potential contamination.