Denver, Where Golfing Is More Important Than Walking

If you pay a greens fee, you can walk along Sheridan safely. Otherwise, good luck. Photo: David Sachs

Along Sheridan Boulevard, next to the immaculately manicured Willis Case Golf Course in Berkeley, is a strip of dirt and shrubs, inches away from speeding traffic, that Denver Parks and Recreation expects people to use as a sidewalk. Walking isn’t much better on the other side of the street, where the sidewalk is either nonexistent or just a few feet wide.

Two other streets, West 52nd Avenue and Tennyson Street (as well as I-70), also border the city-owned golf course, operated by Parks and Rec. They don’t have sidewalks on the side next to the golf course either.

This stretch of 52nd Avenue is part of RTD’s 52 bus route, so it’s home to quite a sorry bus stop too:

A fence separates a well-maintained, publicly owned space for golfers from a poorly maintained, publicly owned space for pedestrians on West 52nd Avenue. Photo: David Sachs

The city’s penchant for prioritizing golf courses above pedestrian infrastructure is not new. In July Streetsblog published photos of a similar embarrassment along Colorado Boulevard, where people were forced to hoof it through overgrown weeds while golfers at Park Hill Golf Club teed off a few feet away. Last month Denver Public Works installed a sidewalk there, giving people a somewhat safer way to walk.

Unlike Park Hill, Willis Case is owned by taxpayers. It’s one of several public courses that gross about $11 million annually in greens fees, according to the city budget. It’s the responsibility of Parks and Rec to outfit the city’s parks with sidewalks, so maybe the department could use a chunk of that change to build a place for Denverites to walk safely.

Fore! Photo: David Sachs