Bike-Ped Bridge Opens, Better Connects People With Colorado Station

A young cyclist tests out the new bridge over I-25. Photo: David Sachs
A young cyclist tests out the new bridge over I-25. Photo: David Sachs

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.”

Mayor Michael Hancock cuts the ribbon to the new bridge. Photo: David Sachs
Mayor Michael Hancock cuts the ribbon to the new bridge. Photo: David Sachs

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.

  • EMB

    I was disappointed the bridge wasn’t open for my morning commute (no soft opening!), but was happy to make my last unnecessary bicycle crossing of I-25 on Evans. Can’t wait to try it out on the way home — Evans is much worse eastbound than it is westbound on that stretch. Plus, now there’s another movie theater I can get to easily by bicycle!

  • EMB

    And an update now that I’ve tried it: awesome! I’m so glad they opened it before the stairs on the northeast side are complete. Hope they remove the barrels from the curb cut at Jewell soon. This bridge will make getting around a lot easier for a lot of people in the area.

    Now we just need to improve ways for people on bicycles to get to and from Colorado Station from the south — what with the way S Birch St jogs at Evans, there’s no simple through lane to take, and IIRC there’s not much signage in that neighborhood to let you know that Birch is the street to use if you want to go north (being the only one with a traffic light). Still, crossing Evans isn’t nearly as dangerous as crossing I-25 was until this morning. I hope we can get the word out that the new bridge is open!

    • I think there needs to be a re-examination of Denver’s designated bike routes, especially after the opening of this bridge. I think eliminating Florida as the primary east-west route and establishing a Jewell/Buchtel route in its place would be a much better and safer option. Birch could be established as a route south from Colorado Center.

      • EMB

        A reexamination is definitely in order! Though I’m not sure it’s a good idea to deprecate east-west travel in between the Cherry Creek trail and Jewell/Buchtel as that would be a couple of miles without facilities.

        I’d particularly like to see more signage directing people from arterials to parallel streets where appropriate. Maps are good (and Denver needs to update its map to show the new bridge!) but they don’t reach as many people as they should, nor do existing signs. One of Denver’s great virtues is its grid-style street system, and we need to make it work for us.

  • EMB

    In other news, the current Denver bike map hasn’t got the bridge on it yet, and Google Maps’s editing function seems to be disabled indefinitely. Boo! I want this to show up everywhere!

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