A pedestrian and bicycle bridge to Colorado Station over I-25 opened today, 16 years and $8 million after Denver’s government officially identified it as necessary. Advocates, elected officials, and members of the Department of Public Works marked the opening with a ribbon cutting at RTD’s Colorado Station this morning.
The freeway used to separate people from Colorado Station, but now the bridge connects the transit hub with Cherry Street and the Virginia Village Neighborhood to the east. The bridge also offers a safer way for walkers and bike riders to cross I-25 without using Colorado Boulevard, a street designed for cars rushing through the city.
“Projects like this one demonstrate our commitment to providing transportation choices and infrastructure improvements to help people get around the city, whether they walk, bike, drive, or use transit,” said Mayor Michael Hancock.
BikeDenver advocated for the bridge, and the organization’s executive director, Molly North, took Hancock up on his pledge by nudging him on upcoming budget decisions.
“We are thrilled to have a mayor who has committed to prioritizing mobility in his second term,” she said. “Mr. Mayor, you can count on BikeDenver to support your bold investments in bicycle education, enforcement, and infrastructure in the 2016 budget and beyond.”
There were well-earned congratulations all around, but DPW Transportation Director Crissy Fanganello also looked to the future in her words for the crowd.
“Before the bridge, connections for people that were walking or people that were biking were challenging, as our infrastructure for the last several decades has really focused on moving people in vehicles,” Fanganello said. “And while that approach worked for many years and was very successful, as Denver emerges into a vibrant, urban metropolis and one of the fastest growing cities in the country, our community is shifting how they move around and what we want our streets to look like and feel like for us as people.”
Fanganello’s role as transportation director is a critical one, so it’s good to hear her talk about building streets for people. She identified vision and leadership as keys to making Denver into that thriving metropolis she mentioned, and sounded like she’s up to the task.