Brighton Boulevard will be great when it’s done, but until then, business owners brace for impact

There’s a lot of construction between now and all those new sidewalks, curbs and gutters, cycle tracks, landscaping and street lighting coming to Brighton.

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Brighton Boulevard under much construction. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Brighton Boulevard under much construction. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Riding to and from work along Brighton Boulevard was already a challenge for the owner of Urban Cyclist, but now that months of construction are underway along the corridor, it’s downright dangerous.

The owner of the shop, Darrin Duran, said he’s telling customers and employees to ride slower, and more defensively. If they can avoid taking the corridor, they should, he said.

Brighton has been problematic with poor, if any, sidewalk infrastructure, no bike lanes and fast moving cars.

“Right now, it is one of the sketchiest streets to ride on in Denver, and when it’s done it’s going to be one of the safest,” Duran said.

The Source next to much construction. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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The Source next to a large construction site. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Construction on Brighton Boulevard began in October 2016 and is really moving now with on-street parking gone from 29th through 40th streets and one lane of traffic in each direction.

Business owners are looking forward to the $29 million project that will add new sidewalks, curbs and gutters, cycle tracks, landscaping, street lighting and other improvements. But they’re also realistic about what construction lasting until winter 2017-2018 could mean for their livelihoods.

“We’re going to love it when the construction is done, and we’re optimistic it’s not going to affect us. But you never know,” Duran said. “If it goes bad, it could put a shop like mine out of business.”

Urban Cyclist, Mister Tuna, Downtown Dog and other businesses along Brighton Boulevard are expected to remain open during the months of construction. So far, Duran said the entrance to his business, 3434 Brighton Blvd., was blocked unexpectedly once.

Bryan Slekes said, “there’s been little to no surprises with construction” for him. That could be because Slekes sits on the board of the RiNo Business Improvement District and regularly gets updates about the project, in addition to being the director of business operations for Great Divide Brewing Co.

Brighton Boulevard under much construction. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Brighton Boulevard under much construction. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Great Divide Barrel Bar is located at 1812 35th St., where the brewery’s warehouse and canning line are also located.

“Our loading dock being off 35th has worked out for us,” Slekes said. “So far it hasn’t been too bad. We have an alternate road that trucks can enter and exit from.”

Slekes said he does expect to see a little bit of a drop in beer lovers frequenting the taproom in RiNo, but it’s too early to tell.

“There’s been construction on the street ever since we moved there,” he said. The Source Hotel is currently being built near The Source urban market, The Catalyst HTI campus is coming on line nearby and other projects are planned in the area.

“It’s one of those things where you have to deal with a little bit of pain to get what will prove to be a great longterm investment for this neighborhood and this corridor,” Slekes said. “When it’s all said and done, you’re going to have a street and right of way that lends itself well to pedestrians both on foot and a bike.”

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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