Denver Residents Lack Transit Access to Local Parks

Despite an early plan to run rail lines to the city’s mountain parks, they are not easily accessible to Denverites without cars.

2 minute read

April 17, 2023, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Denver, Colorado skyline with park and lake in foreground and mountains in background

Andrew Zarivny / Denver, Colorado

In a story for Colorado Public Radio, Nathaniel Minor draws attention to the “very limited” public transit available to Denver residents who want to access the area’s mountain parks.

“Denver voters approved funding for the mountain park system in 1912, at a time when very few of them owned personal vehicles and many were pining to escape the city. The plan presented to voters showed two electric rail lines that would run from Golden to Bergen Park, and part way up Bear Creek Canyon from Morrison.” Yet when the parks were built, the rail lines didn’t come along with them, garnering criticism from residents. 

“It was felt and understood that everybody should and would have the benefit of the public outlay and of the health and recreation so near our doors, and this not once in a while, but by quick and economic access,” wrote one resident in a 1914 op-ed.

According to Minor, “A recent strategic plan from the city calls for more shuttles — especially from rec centers in “inverted L neighborhoods”  – to popular parks including Echo Lake, Genesee and Red Rocks,” but a Denver Parks and Recreation spokesperson said the agency has “no specific information” about any new transit programs. “The agency is currently dealing with a driver shortage and has no immediate plans to restore service to pre-pandemic levels, let alone expand it.”

Monday, April 17, 2023 in Colorado Public Radio

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