Denver Plans to Make Some Open Streets Permanent

The city is moving to institutionalize segments of streets that were successfully pedestrianized during the pandemic.

1 minute read

September 13, 2023, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Close-up of blue "Slow Down - Shared Street" sign on orange and white barricade in Denver, Colorado.

City and County of Denver / Shared Streets Program

In a paywalled article in The Denver Post, Bruce Finley describes the city of Denver’s plan to make three segments of its downtown streets pedestrian-only permanently.

As Finley explains, “Two stretches along Larimer Street and one on Glenarm Place in the heart of downtown have entered a city process to stay closed for another five years. After 2028, those closures — backed by business owners and economic development groups — would become permanent if nobody objects.” The city will also create new open streets and green spaces on some residential streets.

“Street closures fit into a citywide long-term overhaul, costing up to $800 million a year, to enable more car-free transportation. City planning documents lay out multiple large-scale projects including the installation of more than 100 miles of “Bus Rapid Transit” — buses that move in exclusive lanes — on major routes. They also call for demarcating 400 miles of new bicycle-only lanes and making pedestrian-friendly improvements along 1,300 miles of streets.”

The city’s experience with open streets during the pandemic highlighted the benefits and challenges of pedestrianizing more spaces, Finley notes. “Over two years, city transportation officials measured a 287% spike in walking, riding scooters, and biking. In August 2021, streets reverted to vehicle-priority status and barriers were removed.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2023 in The Denver Post

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