21st and Wynkoop Streets Will Become Part of Denver’s New Pedestrian and Cyclist-Friendly Downtown Loop.
Downtown is full of bustling city streets moving cars and buses across Lodo and the Central Business District. Most streets downtown are one-way streets, with three, four, or even five lanes clogging up with traffic during the rush hour. This makes 21st Street and Wynkoop Street look like small neighborhood side streets. Both of these streets have two-way traffic and only one lane in each direction. There are no turn lanes and very few stoplights, making them oddities in downtown’s busy grid. This makes them ideal candidates for pedestrian and bicycle friendly thoroughfares. Denver is slowly implementing plans to make this happen.
21st Street is currently lined mostly by parking lots, but it ends at Coors Field and cuts through the nightlight area around Market, Larimer and Lawrence Streets. The Southeast end of 21st Street ends at Benedict Fountain Park. Wynkoop Street is only six blocks long, with the last block also ending by the ballpark. This block is already closed to traffic, but outside of Rockies’ game days, it is a largely unused pedestrian plaza (page 18). Given that it is right by Union Station, it is already utilized by a large number of pedestrians, but the heavy traffic and street parking doesn’t make it the most conducive street for people to walk along.
The proposal calls for wide sidewalks and bike-friendly paths along both streets, with plenty of green space and possible small parks and plazas lining 21st, as well as extending the plaza in front of Union Station. There would be a three block “apron” constructed around Coors Field to provide a connection between the two streets. Studies into the project have also looked at public art which could be installed along the streets. Given the current condition of the streets, especially 21st Street, this would be a welcome change. Special attention will be given to the intersection at 21st and Broadway, where clearly marked crossings for pedestrians and cyclists will help to connect downtown to Arapahoe Square. Two-traffic is planned to be maintained on both streets.
The project has been in the planning stages, but the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Colorado Rockies are both on board. The project is being planned in three phases, with the first two rebuilding 21st Street and the 3rd rebuilding Wynkoop Street. The whole project has been estimated to cost $45 million. Funding has not yet been identified and there is no set timeline for this project (one presentation on the project indicates that something might be happening this Summer). When it is completed, Denver may finally have a great way to cross downtown on foot or bike without having to deal with the pot smokers on the 16th Street Mall.
Would this be beneficial to you personally? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.