Walnut, the last one-way street in RiNo, could be a two-way street by the end of the year

It would follow the conversion made to nearby Blake Street in 2016.

Walnut Street is a one-way street. March 4, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Walnut Street is a one-way street. March 4, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The last one-way street in the RiNo Art District could be converted into a two-way corridor by the fall.

The city’s transportation department is hosting an open house on Thursday to provide more details and let the public give feedback on the project.

Plans for the two-way change have been in the works since 2017 after the city made improvements to Walnut Street that included adding curbs to provide more sidewalks and installing ADA improvements at intersections, according to a city study. The study’s long-term goals include increasing sidewalks and adding new curbs and gutters.

A rendering of what a two-way Walnut Street could look like. (Courtesy of the Denver's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure)

A rendering of what a two-way Walnut Street could look like. (Courtesy of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Esteban Hernandez

RiNo Art District Executive Director and co-founder Tracy Weil said residents and business owners largely support the plan to convert Walnut to a two-way street. Weil pointed out that Blake Street’s two-way conversion has helped slow traffic in the area.

Weil said Walnut Street is problematic because drivers regularly go the wrong way or speed.

“We’re hoping that they get it done by the end of the year, that’s our goal,” he said. “We’re excited. It needs to be changed.”

Tai Beldock has owned Erico Motosports on Walnut Street for 21 years. She said she’s watched the corridor grow from being mostly empty to constantly filled with people and cars.

Her employees have been hit by cars on the street, and she’s seen scooter users fall on the uneven pavement.

“I’m really advocating for stop signs and crosswalks on Walnut,” Beldock said, adding that new and incoming shops, including Beldock’s project called Octane Alley, make safety features even more important.

The city has started designing the signage, striping and signal changes for the two-way conversation, with a goal of implementing everything as early as this fall to coincide with planned repaving efforts for the street. Transportation department spokesperson Heather Burke said installing and designing everything will cost between $300,000 and $400,000.

The open house runs from 5 to 7 p.m. at the River North Brewery Blake Street Taproom. The brewery is located at 3400 Blake St.

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