Road Diet, New Sidewalks, and Bike Lanes Coming to Blake Street Bridge

The Blake Street bridge over the 38th Street underpass will get a makeover this summer.
The Blake Street bridge over the 38th Street underpass is unsightly — and unusable for pedestrians — but it will get a makeover this summer.

The Blake Street Bridge over 38th Street is a dangerous mess with three driving lanes, no sidewalks, and no dedicated space for bicycling. All of that is about to change, though, with a makeover that will narrow the space for traffic while adding sidewalks and striping bike lanes in each direction.

This piece of Blake Street is an important connector between Ballpark, RiNo, Five Points, and Cole, and will become even more crucial once the 38th and Blake RTD Station is complete in 2016. The rail stop is expected to catalyze development and will mean more people looking to get around without a car. The Blake Street Bridge project is one of several changes planned to make the neighborhood more walkable.

I don’t have a pretty rendering of what the bridge will look like, but here are some specs:

  • 8-foot sidewalks on each side
  • 6-foot bike lanes on each side
  • Motor vehicle lane reduction from three to two
  • Flattening of “hump” to increase visibility for drivers

The Denver City Council passed the $2.5 million building contract earlier this week. The Department of Public Works will begin razing and replacing the bridge this summer, and the final product should be ready next spring, a DPW spokesperson said.

This is a relatively small project, and there remain other hurdles in the area. But it will better connect an area with barriers to walking like wide roads, train tracks, and the absence of sidewalks. Rather than widening roads near transit hubs, this is the type of thinking that has to permeate planning as Denver’s transportation network grows up.