The cars are back on 17th Ave. between Colorado Blvd. and York St. — and there’s a fancy new crosswalk to boot (and bike)

“It’s been a long, long time.”

A recently reopened stretch of 17th Ave., between Colorado Blvd. and York St.

The stretch on 17th Ave. between Colorado Blvd. and York St. reopened in June 2022. Kyle Harris/Denverite

kyle harris

City Park resident Ruby Valles was out for a stroll with her boxer Tuesday morning and getting ready to cross 17th Avenue at the new crosswalk at Garfield Street. After more than a year of construction, traffic was flowing again down 17th, from Colorado Boulevard to York Street, past City Park, and she was happy the roadwork in her neighborhood was complete.

“It’s been a long, long time,” said Valles of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure construction project, which was months behind schedule after construction snafus.

Ongoing construction on 17th Avenue, just west of Colorado Boulevard at City Park. March 15, 2022.

Construction on 17th Avenue, just west of Colorado Boulevard at City Park. March 15, 2022.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

The construction is part of DOTI’s larger plan to stop flooding on the east side of town. Houses in the area, including some in Park Hill and Mayfair, were built in the Montclair basin, a waterway where two historic creek beds once flowed.

The basin has had no natural waterway for stormwater to flow, and the area is at high risk of flooding, explained DOTI in a statement. When it floods, the creeks rise again, wrecking basements and making the streets unpassable.

The stormwater-drainage project will be rolled out in the years to come as the city secures funding. The project will include construction from the current site all the way to 14th Avenue and Krameria Street. Over the next few months, construction on 17th and east of Colorado will continue.

For Valles, not being able to access 17th wasn’t a huge problem. But the increase of traffic on 16th Street made her concerned.

“It was pretty horrible having traffic come through 16th,” she said. “Lots of car accidents. So I’m looking forward to not seeing that anymore.”

A bike lane into City Park.

A newly installed bike lane from Garfield St. into City Park. Kyle Harris/Denverite

Valles is impressed with the new entry to the park from Garfield Street, which includes traffic lights and both a traditional pedestrian crosswalk and the beginning of a bike lane that will eventually run north-south up Garfield to the Cherry Creek Trail.

“I really love this,” Valles said, pointing to the crosswalk. “It’s always been super dangerous to cross the street on 17th, because people go really, really fast. So I’m excited about this little intersection.”

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