Look at All The Dirt Paths CDOT Won’t Turn Into Sidewalks While it Repaves Sheridan Blvd

A curb ramp to nowhere at Sheridan and Iowa. Image: Google Maps
A curb ramp to nowhere at Sheridan and Iowa. Image: Google Maps

The Colorado Department of Transportation began smoothing out Sheridan Boulevard for cars last month, but if you think the agency will do much about the missing and decrepit sidewalks lining the busy street, think again.

Keep in mind, this is the agency that markets itself as a tech-forward innovator. CDOT just gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop futuristic fixes for pedestrian and bike safety. Yet CDOT crews can’t complete Sheridan’s sidewalk system for all the people walking on a dangerous street built for speed?

Scenes like these show the disparity between what CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt says he cares about — moving people, not just cars, safely — and what his agency does. Bhatt said his agency is doing all it can to prevent traffic deaths, but these images say otherwise.

CDOT won't fix this non-sidewalk near Santa Fe Bouleveard. Photo: David Sachs
CDOT won’t fix this sidewalk gap near Santa Fe Boulevard. Photo: David Sachs

City and state DOTs often combine standard maintenance like paving with other projects to save time and money. For instance, Denver Public Works’ redesign of Wynkoop Street will be implemented later this summer to coincide with the city’s paving schedule.

To its credit, CDOT is building 30 new curb ramps and repairing 30 others on Sheridan. The problem is that these ramps feed into a sidewalk system that’s not fit for people walking or using wheelchairs. The ramps may check a box required under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but as you can see in the top photo, they’re not part of a coherent pedestrian network.

Whether people are trying to catch a bus or running errands, pedestrians run into dirt-and-grass paths and paper-thin sidewalks on the Sheridan carscape, which is five lanes wide, including the center turn lane.

On the three-mile stretch between Arizona and Hampden avenues that’s getting repaved, CDOT will build all of 400 feet of sidewalk on the east side of the street between Colorado and Mexico avenues, a spokesperson told Streetsblog (the west side will get nothing). That’s it. On much of Sheridan, people will still be expected to walk on narrow strips of dirt, grass, and overgrown bushes, and in parking lots.

Here are more scenes of the state of CDOT pedestrian infrastructure in 2017.

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This parking lot at a clinic between Arizona Avenue and Louisiana Avenue, is what passes for a sidewalk. CDOT won’t touch it. Image: Google Maps
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A welcoming walking environment between Arkansas and Florida avenues. Image: Google Maps
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This is between Colorado and Mexico avenues, on the west side of Sheridan. Nothing here will change. Image: Google Maps
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CDOT’s idea of decent walking infrastructure, near Evans Avenue. Image: Google Maps
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Maybe CDOT thinks this sign will make up for the sidewalk void on Sheridan. Image: CDOT