Brighton, as well as the larger RiNo District, are to be the entryway to downtown Denver from both I-70 and DIA, by way of the new A-Line rail, under the vision of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative (1). A focus on mixed-use and pedestrian- and bike-friendly spaces is the major theme in both the Brighton and RiNo plans, and the position of the 38th and Blake railway station as perfectly located to serve this area is no coincidence, given the central role of the district as the northern gateway to downtown Denver, within the larger NDCC project. As the last stop from DIA before Union Station via train, this part of town will offer visitors and returning residents their first real view of the downtown Denver area and, if successful, could provide an example for other districts in terms of integrating infrastructure, transportation, and cultural improvements in order to promote a healthy and safe mixed-use neighborhood for all types of people and businesses (2). In order to do this, however, it will have to find a balance for the needs of bikers and pedestrians, without compromising the viability of the Brighton corridor as a critical industrial transportation line. These two interrelated and adjacent projects seem to have met with very little direct opposition, apparent from the fact that new Business and General Improvement Districts have been formed by property and business owners in the area specifically to contribute to furthering the goals of these two projects (3). Because this area was formerly dominated by industrial business use, its planned transformation into a more usable, accessible, and friendly district has not been confronted with any significant stakeholder groups opposed to this change, other than the usual, and important, concerns about the potential for rising rents, or gentrification, as the area becomes more popular (4). These concerns are well founded, however, and some fear that the same unique artistic presence that has helped developers capitalize on the area’s growing popularity might be one of the first victims of gentrification; the increasing presence of retail and residential use can only serve to limit, more and more, the space previously affordable to artists (5).
1. Justin. “The Vision for Brighton Boulevard.” Denver Urban Review. 08 Apr 2015. Web. http://denverurbanreview.com/2015/04/the-vision-for-brighton-boulevard/ [Accessed on 29 Jan 2016]
2. Dano, Mike. “RiNo Rising: Brighton Boulevard and the Transformation of River North.” Confluence Denver. 27 Mar 2013. Web. http://www.confluence-denver.com/features/rinorising_022713.aspx [Accessed on 29 Jan 2016]
3. Murray, Jon. “River North tax plan aims to spiff up art district by pooling money.” Denver Post. 28 May 2015. Web. http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_28201839/river-north-tax-plan-aims-spiff-up-art [Accessed on 02 Feb 2016]
4. Jones, Corey. “Amid rising rents, artists try to hold on to Denver’s River North Art District.” Colorado Public Radio. 29 Jan. 2015. Web. http://www.cpr.org/news/story/amid-rising-rents-artists-try-hold-denver-s-river-north-art-district [Accessed Feb. 23 2016].
5. Jones, Corey. “Amid rising rents, artists try to hold on to Denver’s River North Art District.” Colorado Public Radio. 29 Jan. 2015. Web. http://www.cpr.org/news/story/amid-rising-rents-artists-try-hold-denver-s-river-north-art-district [Accessed Feb. 23 2016].