Remember That 21st Street Became a Car-Free Oasis for Two Months, and It Can Be Transformed Again

Last year's pop-up park — captured for posterity in a new video — aimed to show people what a car-free network of downtown streets, known as the 5280 Loop, could look and feel like.

Movie night on 21st Street. Image: Community Planning and Development/Downtown Denver Partnership
Movie night on 21st Street. Image: Community Planning and Development/Downtown Denver Partnership

Tuan Bui heard birds outside his apartment for the first time. El A-Webb’s store saw a 30 percent spike in sales. A couple made out on a dance floor that’s usually overrun by traffic.

These were a few things that happened after the Denver Department of Community Planning and Development and the Downtown Denver Partnership made 21st Street car-free between Larimer and Lawrence streets for two months last summer, opening it up to people.

You can revisit those two months with this video retrospective released last week:

The pop-up park aimed to show people what a car-free network of downtown streets, known as the 5280 Loop, could look and feel like. It was the first of its kind in the city, and it won’t be the last.

There’s no money in the Hancock administration’s 2018 budget to host silent discos, ping-pong, and food stalls this summer. The good news is that there is funding for design work on a permanent overhaul of 21st from Coors Field to Benedict Fountain Park — the city calls the project a “festival street” — though nothing has been set aside for construction yet.

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