44th Avenue Subarea Plan
West 44th Avenue is one of the City's primary east-west corridors, and the 44th Avenue Subarea Plan is a long-range planning document for the western portion of the corridor. The plan focuses on W. 44th Avenue between Youngfield Street and Clear Creek (near Field Street) and more broadly includes the portion of the City between Clear Creek and I-70. This western segment of W. 44th Avenue is the primary connection between the eastern and western portions of the City and the primary connection to key destinations such as RTD’s Wheat Ridge · Ward commuter rail station, Clear Creek Trail, the Clear Creek Crossing development at the City’s far western edge, and numerous adjacent residential neighborhoods.
The Envision Wheat Ridge Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2009, classifies W. 44th Avenue as a Neighborhood Commercial Corridor and the primary east/west corridor for the city. The 2019 Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy and ongoing Let’s Talk resident engagement program both identify W. 44th Avenue as a priority for planning efforts. The 44th Avenue Subarea Plan updates and replaces the 2007 Fruitdale Subarea Plan which covered a smaller geographic area and pre-dates many existing conditions including the current I-70 ramps, the Wheat Ridge · Ward station, investments in Anderson Park, and the Clear Creek Crossing development. Like the City’s other subarea plans, this Plan was adopted as an update or amendment to the City’s comprehensive plan on April 24, 2023.
The subarea planning process combined public input with technical analysis to establish a long-range vision and guiding principles for the W. 44th Avenue corridor which will guide public and private investments over the next 20 years. The plan includes an assessment of land use, transportation, circulation, neighborhood connections, and redevelopment strategies to ensure they are appropriate for the area. The plan identifies enumerates many recommendations and specifies high priority actions that will help achieve the community’s vision to visibly improve the area, with a focus on revitalization and reinvestment.
The Let’s Talk program completed engagement blitzes in the Fruitdale and Anderson Park neighborhoods from October 2021 to March 2022. Building on that engagement effort, the City and MIG have been working on the 44th Avenue Subarea Plan since early 2022 and designed a substantial public engagement component.
Each phase of the project involved a variety of engagement opportunities, including advisory committee meetings, focus group meetings, public meetings, online engagement, and presence at local events (aka pop-up events). Summary materials from each phase of engagement can be found on the project page at WhatsUpWheatRidge.com/44th-Avenue.
Communications for the project utilized all available City media outlets including bilingual direct mail, traditional media, and regular updates via social media, emails, City website, yard sign postings and What’s Up Wheat Ridge communications. The City began using What’s Up Wheat Ridge in 2020 which has enabled better outreach and the ability to keep stakeholders better informed. A full list of engagement and communications related to the project are provided in the Subarea plan appendices.
An essential goal of the subarea plan was to create a community-backed and realistic vision plan with actionable outcomes focused on revitalization and investment of the W. 44th Avenue corridor and surrounding area. The recommendations in Chapter III provide for long-term (20 year) direction and guidance, while the action plan in Chapter IV is intended to include more immediate actionable items that can be accomplished near- to mid-term (0-10 years).
If implemented strategically, the vision can be realized. The action plan helps prioritize the multitude of recommendations, and it provides a road map for moving into implementation quickly. Staff will continue to evaluate the action plan, and as time passes and conditions change additional recommendations will be elevated to action.
What is a Subarea Plan?
A subarea plan is a long-range planning document that articulates a vision for a specific geographic area. Unlike the City's comprehensive plan which outlines a vision for the entire City, a subarea plan describes more specific goals for the land use, design and transportation for a specific area. A subarea plan is sometimes called a master plan, small area plan, or station area plan.
The image at the right (click to enlarge) explains how a subarea plan fits into the processes of planning and development and how it relates to the the more general comprehensive plan and more specific development approvals.