All the ways the Parade of Lights will mess up your downtown Denver travels

It’s attend or avoid.

The Cherry Creek High School marching band processes downtown in Denver's annual Parade of Lights, Dec. 1, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Cherry Creek High School marching band processes downtown in Denver's annual Parade of Lights, Dec. 1, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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It’s Friday, December 6. The sun is shining and the temperature is sitting at a just-fine 45 degrees. I’m Ashley Dean and this is your dramatic traffic report.

The Parade of Lights is tonight and tomorrow night, folks. Expect any attempted travel around Upper Downtown — née Central Business District — to be somewhat to very frustrating. Friday night’s parade starts at 8 p.m. and Saturday night’s parade starts at 6 p.m., but there’s more to know than that.

Let’s start with the parade route. It starts at the City & County Building at 14th Avenue and Bannock Street, crosses Colfax Avenue, travels west on 14th, turns right on Tremont Place and goes three blocks to 17th Street. It then heads down 17th to Arapahoe Street, where it turns left, marches over to 15th Street and turns left again. It continues on 15th  up to Glenarm Place, turns right and finishes at 14th and Glenarm.

So those streets are closed, obviously.

But other streets are also closed, also obviously.

You may have noticed that street closures have already begun. Bannock Street closed from Colfax to 14th on Wednesday. It’ll stay closed through 5 p.m. Sunday. The Parade of Lights information page also vaguely warns about other street closures near the parade route and staging area in the Golden Triangle and near Civic Center Park.

The provided map provides a much more explicit picture.

Maybe just don't.

Maybe just don't.

The parade will also muck up RTD operations.

All of these bus routes will be affected: 0, 1, 6, 8, 9, 10, 15, 15L, 16, 16L, 19, 20, 28, 32, 38, 43, 44, 48, 52 and the Free MallRide. Detours will be in effect from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday and 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

All of these train lines will be affected: D, F, H, L.

In a press release, RTD says “trains traveling to downtown Denver will end service at the Convention Center one hour before the start of the parade both Friday and Saturday. Normal service will resume as crowds clear. The light rail stations at both 16th and 18th on Stout and California will be closed during that time. There will be no L Line service beginning one hour before the parade until after the parade clears. L Line passengers can use Route 43 as an alternative.”

RTD also “recommends passengers dress warmly and be patient with the extra volume on the trains,” which is solid advice for any public transit journey, honestly.

So that’s the deal. Attend or stay home or go somewhere else. Wear layers. Drink water. Eat a vegetable. Have a nice weekend.

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