We'll start with the good news; the interstates (I-25 and I-70) will remain open during most of the convention week. I-25 will close down Thursday from 5:30 p.m. through the end of the convention.
Now for the bad news. The traffic on the interstates could be heavier than normal all week ,too. A rollover crash is bad enough on a regular day but when it happens convention week it will be a whole lot worse.
As commuters confront downtown street closures and detours, the potential for gridlock is a real concern. Mayor John Hickenlooper said he expects "modest" traffic problems when the 50,000+ visitors descend on our city. Modest might be a bit of an understatement.
Some of the streets that will be closed or restricted will center around the Pepsi Center. Speer will be closed Monday morning at 9 a.m. through Wednesday at midnight between I-25 and Lawrence Street. It will open Tuesday and Wednesday morning for rush hour -- 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Auraria Parkway will be closed from I-25 to Speer from Saturday at midnight through Wednesday at midnight. The other streets surrounding Pepsi Center will also see restrictions. Other roads that circle the convention center and the Hyatt convention center hotel will also be restricted.
Then we have to deal with the road closures for the daily protest marches along Colfax and Speer over to Pepsi Center. The parades on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will first stage in front of the City and County Building on Bannock Street starting at 10 a.m. Then at 11 a.m. the parades wind down Colfax to Speer, then north to the Pepsi Center. Roads will be closed from just after 10 a.m. until 3 in the afternoon.
When the convention moves west to Invesco Field at Mile High we will see Bronco-game-like congestion on I-25, Federal, 6th Ave. and on the neighborhood streets around the stadium. Because of the security concerns, there will be some additional streets closed that would normally be open for a game day.
I-25 from I-70 to 6th Avenue will be shut down while the event is going on. Colfax will close after 9 a.m. and the closure will last all night. Federal will also be restricted and then closed during the speeches.
For the Thursday parade the groups will gather at 13th and Mariposa before heading down westbound Colfax. The route takes the groups to Federal and up to 20th Avenue. The parade starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. Before the speech, there will most likely be many people walking or taking RTD to the stadium.
If that wasnt enough, you will have to deal with the numerous pedestrians, bicyclists, scooters, and taxis on downtown streets. Many of the visitors will not be renting cars but opt for walking in our city. Not every pedestrian waits for the light to change nor crosses at a designated crosswalk, putting an added danger to already frustrated commuters downtown.
The city will be implementing their freewheelin bike sharing program. That's where 1,000 bikes can be used free of charge by anyone looking for an alternative to automobiles while the convention is in town. Those bike riders will be fighting for space with road traffic and all the pedestrians.
Denver public works traffic planners warn that some problems can not be predicted and there are going to be some situations that are tough to deal with. Drivers are encouraged to monitor traffic reports closely, getting frequent updates from TheDenverChannel.com
If you have a driving tip or suggestion just e-mail me at Jayson_luber@kmgh.com
Avoid downtown during peak rush hour times.
Be watchful for pedestrians and bicyclists.
There's daily closures of westbound Colfax and southbound Speer for the parades.
Get information from the Colorado Dept. of Transportation
Limited street parking will be available all week .
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