Denver freezes road widening of Quebec Street

They didn’t have enough money.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The city of Denver has suspended a plan to widen Quebec Street in the eastern part of the city.

Denver Public Works has for years studied a plan to remake the project. Among the major possibilities: widening the street, adding amenities for bikes and potentially adding bus lanes. But the project is on hold now because there’s not enough money, according to city staff.

The city had about $23 million available for the project, which ran from 13th Avenue to 26th Avenue but the estimated costs were “far beyond” that, according to city staff.

Now, the team is pausing its work for 12 to 18 months as it looks at other options. Quebec Street has carried heavier and heavier loads of traffic, as it’s “one of the only major north-south connections in the entire northeast Denver area,” as described by Denver Public Works. The project could have shifted bicyclists to nearby Syracuse, where the city is working on a plan for bike lanes.

The idea of widening Quebec attracted criticism from transit and mobility advocates, as Streetsblog reported. The idea is that widening roads only attracts more drivers and makes streets harder to use and more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.

Project documents provided by Streetsblog showed that the project was to include new curbs and gutters, lighting, sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure. The total cost was expected to be $41 million. The project was submitted for funding from the city’s new infrastructure bonds, but it wasn’t selected.

Automobile “travel demand” is expected to increase by about 50 percent along Quebec by 2040, according to city planners. Meanwhile, city staff are working on a broader area plan for eastern Denver.