Garfield Street to become “bikeway” from City Park to Cherry Creek

A series of projects over the next couple years will open a better north-south connection from City Park to Cherry Creek.

The intersection of 17th Avenue and Garfield Street beneath City Park, May 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Leroy Williams waits to cross 17th Avenue at Garfield Street to get to City Park, May 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) pedestrians; walkability; kevinjbeaty; denver; colorado; denverite;
Leroy Williams waits to cross 17th Avenue near Garfield Street to get to City Park, May 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A series of projects over the next couple years will make Garfield Street much friendlier for bicyclists, opening a better north-south connection from City Park to Cherry Creek, according to city staff.

Rather than having striped bike lanes, the city plans to redesign the street itself with bicycles in mind. Automobiles will still be allowed to use the road, but improved intersections and new signage are meant to make the space safer to ride.

“These are neighborhood streets that are really good neighborhood streets to ride your bike along, but it’s at the intersections that it can get real challenging and intimidate folks,” said Dan Raine, senior city planner.

The city is calling the remade road a “neighborhood bikeway.” It could prove an important link in the bicycle network, as it taps into both the recreational area of City Park and the extensive greenway network that connects to Cherry Creek.

The first upgrades:

The city already is in the process of designing bike and ped stuff for several of Garfield’s intersections.

One of the most noticeable changes will be at Dakota Avenue, where stretches of new cycle track and multi-use trail would connect to the Cherry Creek Trail.  The city also would narrow Cherry Creek North Drive, among other modifications to make crossing safer.

A concept plan for changes at Dakota and Garfield. (City and County of Denver)
A concept plan for changes at Dakota and Garfield. (City and County of Denver)

Also on the list is Garfield’s intersection with 17th Avenue near City Park. A feasibility study suggested that new pedestrian signals and bicycle detection hardware could make the crossing easier.

The initial plan also suggests eliminating left turns for cars entering and leaving Garfield street. A new path also could lead into City Park itself.

A concept plan for changes at 17th and Garfield. (City and County of Denver)
A concept plan for changes at 17th and Garfield. (City and County of Denver)

At Alameda Avenue, signals would be triggered by bikes and pedestrians while new markings would emphasize the bike crossing, among other changes.

Similar changes are underway already at Colfax Avenue.

The next phase:

In 2018, the city will design changes for Garfield’s intersections with First Avenue, Sixth Avenue and East Bayaud Avenue. Planners are hoping for construction there to be done by 2019.

“The improvements we developed look to improve the experience for folks of all ages and abilities, walking and cycling,” Raine said.

He did not yet have cost estimates for the project, he said. The city is tracking progress on the project on its website.

Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration has put new emphasis on walking, biking and transit. The coming year’s budget includes changes at several other dangerous intersections, plus ten miles of striped bike lanes and two miles of protected bike lanes.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.