CDOT’s Solution for a Slippery Sidewalk? Just Close It Down

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Hampden Avenue is a key east-west connection, and the state makes sure it’s clear after a snowfall — as long as you’re driving. Photo: David Sachs

The fresh coat of snow that covered Denver last night may be pretty to look at, but if you’re walking to, say, a bus stop on Hampden Avenue, you’re actually breaking the law.

That’s because some sidewalks on Hampden Avenue, a state highway under the Colorado Department of Transportation’s jurisdiction, are closed during icy conditions. Yep, next to a pristinely plowed eight-lane speedway, the sidewalk remains covered in white stuff and off-limits to people walking, ostensibly to keep them safe.

Some people waiting to catch the bus said that after the sun melts the snow, it freezes overnight, rendering the sidewalk even more hazardous.

If CDOT and the Department of Public Works want to keep people walking safe during winter conditions, here’s an idea: Clear the sidewalk instead of closing it.

  • Adam Crews

    That section is shaded year round by a 7ft tall privacy fence. thats why its covered in snow and ice. the people that live there have no access to hampden to clear it. another option is move the bus stop to the opposite side of Tamarac… instead of after the intersection put it before the intersection. oh wait there is a stop there!!! get rid of this one all together they are less then 1000 ft apart…

  • neroden

    Completely deranged. Someone should be sued for the hazard, but I’m not sure who’s legally liable; I think I’d sue the whole bunch of them jointly and let them sort it out among themselves.

  • Kendra Black

    A constituent just sent me this article. I’m the Denver City Council member representing this part of Denver. This “closed” sidewalk is in my district. I–like my predecessors–have been working on solutions to this “orphan” sidewalk. Under our current policies, shoveling is legally the responsibility of the homeowners whose properties back up to the sidewalk, which is quite impractical in this situation! I am having Public Works remove the “closed” signs in front of the businesses, as they should be clearing their own sidewalks. The sign will remain behind the houses, but Xcel Energy, which has a sub-station on Hampden, has generously agreed to plow their sidewalk and the section behind the homes. Thank you Xcel! The owner of the bus shelter (and advertising company) is responsible for removing snow from the shelter. CDOT is not responsible for any portion of the sidewalk. Mobility (including sidewalks) is a priority for me and the entire Council. In 2017 we will be looking into new policies to address a myriad of issues including sidewalk installation, maintenance and shoveling. Clearing our “orphan” sidewalks of snow must be addressed. We are working on it!

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