The Zeppelin family always knew that they’d have to build a bridge.
Their regularly expanding Taxi development is only a couple hundred feet from one of the most popular areas of the River North district and just a few blocks from a train station — but the mixed-use campus is separated from the rest of the district by the South Platte River.
Now, the pieces are finally falling into place for a bicycle and pedestrian bridge at 35th Street that could change the way people get around the district.
“We’ve kind of spun our wheels on it for a while,” said Kyle Zeppelin, but the long-awaited link now appears to be “imminent.”
Currently, it might take 20 minutes to walk from Taxi to The Source on Brighton, and it’s not a particularly pleasant journey, especially when it comes to crossing the roadway bridges near 38th or 31st street.
“In our mind, it was a complete no-brainer to connect both sides of the neighborhood. You have a population center, and then you have the rest of the neighborhood that’s still kind of emerging,” Zeppelin said.
Roughly 1,000 people work at offices on the Taxi campus, and it’s home to 100 residential units.
The finished bridge will stretch about 310 feet, starting at Taxi and landing near the current intersection of 35th Street and Arkins Court. Eventually, that will be the corner of RiNo Park, also scheduled for construction in 2018, and the proposed mile-long RiNo Promenade.
“The more ways we can create access, the better,” said Jamie Licko, president of the RiNo Art District. “How do we create more ways for people to easily access, particularly, the park and public spaces that we’re really focused on building over on the west side of RiNo?”
The bridge also could improve the connection between Globeville and River North, especially as the city plans to make Washington Street a much more pleasant walking corridor, Licko said. (Check out Erica’s coverage of that plan.)
Engineering and design work for the bridge is nearly finished, and Zeppelin hopes to get construction underway next year. The bridge will cost roughly $3.5 million, Zeppelin said. The city government gave about $200,000 for initial designs, and the Zeppelins will contribute $900,000. The nonprofit Bridges for Prosperity will help raise further funds, according to minutes of the RiNo GID.
“The way RiNo gets talked about is ‘It’s already happened, it’s already fully developed,'” Zeppelin said. “But if you drive around the neighborhood, there’s some pretty big gaps. There’s a lot of things that are just beginning, rather than ending — and one of the thing that’s lacking is that east-west connection for people.”
This story was updated to correct a bridge location.