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Larimer Street Improvements Update

The narrowing (rehumanizing) of Larimer Street between 15th and 17th continues.

2010-11-03_larimer1 2010-11-03_larimer2

There’s just something about watching concrete get poured and leveled that I find quite appealing.

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10 Comments

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  2. Stosh says:

    Me too (regarding cement). I believe it was Frank Lloyd Wright who imagined urban centers full of pedestrians only (no cars). That is not probable here however, I feel projects like this focus on a more harmonious balance for all who want to enjoy our urban oasis. Keep up the good work Denver! P.S. Congrats to our recently elected officials who, with any luck will keep moving Colorado forward. Ken for President 2012!

  3. Matt says:

    Thank god. That part of Larimer was such a barren wasteland compared to what was going on west of it.

  4. MarkB says:

    It’s especially gratifying to see one of the key errors of the 1960s being corrected, street by street. When voters approved the Skyline urban renewal project in 1967, they said “yes” to a plan that was incredibly car-focused: all of the streets in the district (including Larimer, and Arapahoe, which is also getting wider sidewalks in a somewhat piecemeal fashion) were to be widened by one lane. To get this extra space, sidewalks on both sides were chopped down to absurdly narrow (for a downtown area) dimensions. Planners naively assumed that pedestrians would be willing to instead use a network of bridges and second-level plazas to get around; all of these bridges have now been removed, and most of the plazas are inaccessible to the general public.

    I wish the city or Downtown Denver Partnership would spearhead a project to widen ALL of the sidewalks in the Skyline area that have yet to be expanded to (or beyond) their historic widths.

    For reference: the Skyline plan covered most of the blocks between Speer and 20th, and between Curtis and the alley between Larimer and Market (note the differences in sidewalk width on either side of this alley the next time you’re walking down 15th or 17th). The original plan also entailed a freeway spur between Market and Blake that would have separated LoDo from downtown–luckily, this aspect was tabled early on.

  5. Aron says:

    Just wondering what impact the sidewalk widening will have in the long run, considering the block between 17th and 16th (cheesecake) has no current potential for development to take advantage of the expanded sidewalk, and as for the other block, (16th-15th) Writers is introverted, and has already undergone a pedestrian-hostile makeover in the past year. I agree that sidewalks in those areas were decidedly anxiety-causing for use, but we still have to find a way to populate these newly expanded sidewalks for more than just foot traffic (for which the former sidewalks were ample) — kiosks, freestanding shelters for art/ware display…something to create a reason to enjoy the wider sidewalks.

    • chucolo says:

      Aron brings up a good point, especially as it relates to the horror that is now Writers Square (which now has a retail vacancy rate of about 50 percent or so; you can really see how effective the “redesign” was). Not quite sure how it will all play out. One thing I do hope for: that any landscaping that’s planted is properly watered and maintained. Too often downtown trees are planted and unless they are on the 16th Street Mall (and even some of these are dead), they soon wither and die.

  6. keepin it medium says:

    How exciting it is to see a pro-pedestrian agenda advancing. It’s nice to read all the comments of such an intelligent urban culture. Yes I agree we need to restrict all auto access within the downtown area and quite possibly limit the access to just transportation industries such as delivery and local emergency. It’s great that downtown Denver is close to 100% handicap accessible so that those that are incapable of walking can be mobile. For those stinking suburbanites finding their way downtown via I-25 or I-70 to bring us their cash, I think it would be clever to build parking garages maybe out by the smelly Purina dog Chow plant and we could boost the services of the rickshaw cyclists to drag their butts into downtown from there. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see most of the pavement replaced by tall pines which grow well in shade? Then from any highrise the view would look like downtown was in a forest! Maybe that would keep most of those WTO corporates from wanting to build anymore towers downtown as well! Finally we could convert at least 50% of the downtown office space (great idea for the growing vacancies anyway) into condos and apartments which would also increase the pedestrian numbers utilizing the expanded pedestrian areas!
    Thanks,
    K-I-M

  7. Dave says:

    So why are we still making the same mistakes to this day? Currently DOT is putting the finishing touches on the south broadway overhaul which widened the street and narrowed the sidewalks along a vibrant stretch of main street zoned land. It would be nice if Colorado actually learned from it’s past mistakes.

    • benheb says:

      I would argue that the improvements on south broadway add a LOT to the pedestrian experience. While yes, they did widen the street slightly, they fixed the crumbling sidewalks, planted trees, added a center median and safer crossings for pedestrians to navigate. Even with freshly planted (therefore still small) trees, I for one think the area is much more inviting to residents and tourists alike looking to visit antique row.

      • Dave says:

        Raised center medians can be a pedestrian refuge when crossing a wide street, by at every intersection the median turns into a left turn lane so that pedestrians still have to cross 5 lanes of traffic. I agree that it does look aesthetically nicer, but I don’t think it actually improves the pedestrian infrastructure. Denver greenprint specifically says the city will not widen a streets footprint and will consider multimodal design when reconfiguring traffic, but it seems this was ignored- no bike or bus lanes, and a center median that will encourage speeding similar to Logan. Once again their interest was just maximizing traffic flow for commuters going south.