Over the past decade, Denver has grown into one of the country’s most desirable places to live, offering a vibrant urban center with an abundance of interesting neighborhoods. But growth comes with an obvious cost: too many cars.
How can the city continue to evolve but minimize traffic?
One answer is to create pedestrian- and bike-friendly places that encourage people to leave their cars home. To that end, the metro area is undertaking some renewal projects, including:
East Colfax Ave: With its tattoo parlors, rundown bars and homeless people, Colfax isn’t exactly the place for a leisurely stroll. But city officials and developers are determined to make it more inviting. Last year, City Works, a pilot program, began hiring homeless people to help clean up graffiti, remove trash, and complete small landscaping projects. Colfax Avenue Business Improvement District also plans to “install wayfinding signs, enhance crosswalks, install landscaped medians and encourage store owners to have outdoor patio seating and clean storefronts,” according to 303Magazine.
The Ridge at 38th: Located in downtown Wheat Ridge, on West 38th Ave. between Sheridan and Wadsworth, this cultural district was founded to offer “a taste of small-town life without the driving,” according to its website. Since its inception several years ago, the area has encouraged the establishment of local restaurants and shops selling locally created crafts, creating a better sense of identity and community for the area.
16th Street Mall: The mall has been a popular gathering spot for Denverites and tourists alike since opening in 1982. But time has taken a toll, and the gathering place has begun looking shopworn. Soon, the city will begin updating the mall, replacing the granite pavers, which are slippery when wet, and shrinking the middle section where the shuttle buses traverse. This will allow for wider sidewalks to better accommodate pedestrians, outdoor seating for dining, kiosks and art installments.