5280 Loop: Community workshops continue to develop vision for route

DENVER, Colo. — The Downtown Denver Partnership is collecting community input for the next step in the planning phase for the 5280 Loop. The 5.280-mile urban trail would rework streets currently reserved for cars and retrofit them to include pedestrians and bicyclists as well.

The next workshop is planned for Tuesday, April 24 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 1373 Grant Street. Community members living in the Capitol Hill and Uptown neighborhood are invited to attend and ask questions or share opinions about the design of the project and proposed route.

So far the Downtown Denver Partnership has received more than 700 public responses to the 5280 loop vision. Most recently, the team went to the Golden Triangle neighborhood. People living there learned about the details of the proposed route, the relevance to their neighborhood, how the route would celebrate the art culture there and what street landscaping and signage would look like.

Organizers said this piece is important for the future of the project.

"If they have an interest in that portion of the loop they should come prepared to ask questions and to say this landmark, this attraction, this part of our neighborhood is really important, we should connect to it," said John Desmond, Executive Vice President of Downtown Environment for the Downtown Denver Partnership.

The loop is currently in the middle of the conceptual planning phase. Through the workshops, designers are finding out where they need to make changes in the route. The group will then take the input gathered to the executive and steering committees to come up with the final design for the loop in the next couple of months.

The goal of the project is to have the 5.280-mile loop go through center city neighborhoods, connect them together and provide inlets into the heart of the city. Designers said it's also a way to make living in Denver feel like a neighborhood as we try to keep up with the rapid growth.

"We have got so many more people, 22,000 people living in our downtown neighborhoods right now so downtown should feel like a neighborhood. It should have that intimate feel, it shouldn't just be a raceway for cars to get through," said Desmond.

Organizers said this project is about accommodating all modes of transportation and making streets safer for both cars and pedestrians. Last year, Downtown Denver saw a 25 percent increase in the number of bike commuters.

The plan is to build the project in phases, which organizers said could ultimately take 10 years. In the nearer future, one to two years down the road, the group wants to find blocks along the proposed route where they can build an example to show people how this would look.

The project currently has $420,000  from grants and contributions to back the design phase. The next phase will cost at least $850,000, when designers will connect with developers in the downtown area to see how they can work together to connect the loop.

Community workshop times, dates & locations:

* Capitol Hill/Uptown – Tuesday, April 24th

5:30-7:00 pm

First Baptist Church 1373 Grant Street

* Five Points – Wednesday, April 25th

5:30-7:00 pm

Blair-Caldwell African American Library

* La Alma/Lincoln Park – Wednesday, May 2nd

5:30-7:00 pm

North Lincoln Community Center

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