Ever tried to walk Brighton Boulevard? It’s not fun. You’ll end up crammed on broken or nonexistent sidewalks between parked cars and a screamingly busy road.
That’s hopefully going to change in the 18 months ahead. The city of Denver is breaking ground next Thursday, Oct. 13, on a $29 million project to remake Brighton in a major way.
There will be a media event earlier on Oct. 13, with Mayor Michael Hancock possibly operating some kind of equipment in a ceremonious manner, followed by a community celebration from 4 to 6 p.m. at Great Divide with free beer.
The first phase of construction will cover 29th Street to 44th Street on Brighton Boulevard, ending near the National Western Center. Construction should start soon after the groundbreaking and take about a year and a half.
“Right now, it’s full of potholes. It’s extremely unsafe for bikes and pedestrians,” said Tracy Weil, co-founder of the River North Art District. “We definitely want to maintain our grit and our edge, but we also want to have a safe environment.”
Major components of the first phase include:
- New traffic signals at 29th Street and 35th Street, and a new pedestrian signal at 33rd Street
- 2.6 miles of 5-foot-wide sidewalks, compared to 0.5 miles now
- Dedicated 6.5-foot-wide cycle tracks on either side of the street. These will essentially be bike lanes that are elevated on the curb, next to the sidewalk, rather than running on the pavement.
- 400 new trees
- 80 designated on-street parking spaces
- 100-plus new benches
- New bike racks
- New pedestrian and street-level lighting
- There will still be two lanes of traffic in each direction
“It’s a big deal,” said project manager Brian McLaren.
Predictably, it will come with some disruption.
“There will probably be work along the entire length of Brighton during construction,” McLaren said.
“We have committed to retaining one lane of traffic in each direction along the length of Brighton at all times, with some minor exceptions, and we’ve committed to maintain access to businesses and residences.”
A second phase eventually should take things up to Race Court near Riverside Cemetery, but it’s still under design. Check out the city’s website for more, including a newsletter that will provide updates.
“It’s showing off Denver’s front door, pretty much,” Weil said.
One other interesting RiNo project:
The visual arts duo Knomad Colab will be installing new lighting in the 38th Street underpass beneath the 38th & Blake rail station.
“They’re doing a really cool treatment,” Weil said. “If you walk under there you’ll see some beautiful artwork from the ’20s and the ’10s. They’re going to highlight that and create a safer environment.”
Correction: Thursday is Oct. 13, not Oct. 12. Calendars are not my strong suit.