DPW Will Build a Low-Cost “Sidewalk” on Walnut Street in RiNo

Walnut Street. Image: Google Maps
Walnut Street. Image: Google Maps

Walnut Street east of Broadway is a nightmare for anyone walking. Despite the rapidly growing number of homes and businesses on this one-way, two-lane strip in River North, the street barely has any sidewalks. Navigating Walnut on foot usually means walking in the street next to speeding cars.

That’s going to change soon, the Department of Public Works said at a neighborhood meeting last night, but not because the city is building sidewalks. Instead, to get an improvement on the street as quickly as possible, DPW will install “curb stops” — hard, low-lying barriers — to separate pedestrians from traffic. Plastic posts and parked cars will serve as a buffer as well.

While full sidewalks would be preferable — and remain the city’s goal for Walnut Street — this low-cost approach can provide dedicated space for walking almost right away. DPW expects to install the project this spring.

This picture of a protected bike lane is what Public Works used to illustrate the type of pedestrian infrastructure coming to Walnut Street. Image: DPW
This picture of a protected bike lane is what Public Works used to illustrate the type of pedestrian infrastructure coming to Walnut Street. Image: DPW

The RiNo street project extends one mile, from Broadway to 36th Street. It’s part of Hancock’s North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative initiative, which is mainly focused on mega-projects like widening I-70 and rebuilding the National Western Complex.

Public Works billed the meeting as a discussion about transforming Walnut into a two-way street, like it did on Blake Street nearby, but that probably won’t happen until 2019, city engineer Michael Koslow said. Making Walnut two-way would compel drivers to travel at safer speeds and create a more pedestrian-friendly environment that caters to street life.

The ultimate goal is a two-way street with sidewalks, and Koslow said Walnut could become a prime bus route as part of the city’s transit overhaul. Public Works is avoiding a permanent redesign until the “Cadillac version” of the plan is ready and funded, he said.

  • Walter Crunch

    When will be build low cost roads to.sib standards?

  • John Riecke

    Can we get the curb stops added to all the downtown bike lanes as well?

  • Kristin Smith

    Well, it’s a step in the right direction. I can personally testify to how scary it is walking around this neighborhood with car traffic just inches away and no clear delineation. While I look forward to a full-blown infrastructure plan, the barriers will help provide some guidance and legitimacy to pedestrians in the meantime.

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