Transportation

The I-70 East project will remove the aging I-70 east viaduct, which is the raised portion of the highway, and reconstruct the highway in a similar, but larger, space, from I-25 to Tower Road. The project will also add lanes to the highway to increase capacity, lower the roadway below ground level, and construct a four acre cover over the highway near Swansea Elementary. A park will be created on this highway cover. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is leading this project, and says the project is needed for four main reasons:

  • The transportation infrastructure is old and needs repair: the I-70 East viaduct east of I-25 is near the end of its useful life, and needs to be replaced.

  • CDOT also wants to prepare for transportation growth, due to economic and population growth in surrounding areas like Stapleton, Lory, Gateway, Downtown Denver, the Denver International Airport, and the National Western Complex.

  • CDOT also is responding to ‘limited transportation capacity,’ or traffic in the corridor, and expects increases in travel to lead to more congestion and increased travel times along this corridor.

  • The fourth justification for the project is that the highway sees more crashes than the state average for urban freeways, because of the highway’s older design.

The project will have large impacts on Denver’s transportation system: CDOT believes that new highway capacity will provide greater mobility for Denver’s residents, and that managed (tolled) lanes will provide improved operations and more reliable travel time. 

Many groups are opposed to the project. Project opponents believe this new capacity will soon be congested, claiming that wider highways encourage people to travel more by car. An independent review also found that the highway project is a waste of Colorado taxpayer dollars, and will not solve the current congestion problem. The new highway will reduce north-south connectivity for motor traffic in the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods, and lead to increased local traffic volumes due to interchange changes and removals. There are also air quality impacts caused by all of these transportation changes, as motor vehicles emit many pollutants and can cause serious health and environmental effects. Project opponents have proposed removing the highway from the neighborhood, rerouting I-70 north to follow the current alignments of I-76 and I-270.; This proposed alternative would reunite the neighborhood with a tree lined boulevard where the existing highway now runs. Reroute supporters have asked that CDOT study the reroute as an official alternative in the Environmental Impact Statement; CDOT says that the reroute has already been studied, but was eliminated because it did not help relieve congestion and mobility in the area. Neighborhood and environmental groups have sued the Environmental Protection Agency over reviewed environmental guidelines that allowed the project to move forward.

The I-70 East project will remove the aging I-70 east viaduct, which is the raised portion of the highway, and reconstruct the highway in a similar, but larger, space, from I-25 to Tower Road. The project will also add lanes to the highway to increase capacity, lower the roadway below ground level, and construct a four acre cover over the highway near Swansea Elementary. A park will be created on this highway cover. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is leading this project, and says the project is needed for four main reasons:

  • The transportation infrastructure is old and needs repair: the I-70 East viaduct east of I-25 is near the end of its useful life, and needs to be replaced.

  • CDOT also wants to prepare for transportation growth, due to economic and population growth in surrounding areas like Stapleton, Lory, Gateway, Downtown Denver, the Denver International Airport, and the National Western Complex.

  • CDOT also is responding to ‘limited transportation capacity,’ or traffic in the corridor, and expects increases in travel to lead to more congestion and increased travel times along this corridor.

  • The fourth justification for the project is that the highway sees more crashes than the state average for urban freeways, because of the highway’s older design.

The project will have large impacts on Denver’s transportation system: CDOT believes that new highway capacity will provide greater mobility for Denver’s residents, and that managed (tolled) lanes will provide improved operations and more reliable travel time.  

Many groups are opposed to the project. Project opponents believe this new capacity will soon be congested, claiming that wider highways encourage people to travel more by car. An independent review also found that the highway project is a waste of Colorado taxpayer dollars, and will not solve the current congestion problem. The new highway will reduce north-south connectivity for motor traffic in the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods, and lead to increased local traffic volumes due to interchange changes and removals. There are also air quality impacts caused by all of these transportation changes, as motor vehicles emit many pollutants and can cause serious health and environmental effects. Project opponents have proposed removing the highway from the neighborhood, rerouting I-70 north to follow the current alignments of I-76 and I-270.; This proposed alternative would reunite the neighborhood with a tree lined boulevard where the existing highway now runs. Reroute supporters have asked that CDOT study the reroute as an official alternative in the Environmental Impact Statement; CDOT says that the reroute has already been studied, but was eliminated because it did not help relieve congestion and mobility in the area. Neighborhood and environmental groups have sued the Environmental Protection Agency over reviewed environmental guidelines that allowed the project to move forward.


The National Western Center (NWC) has numerous unique transportation challenges due to the nearby railroad lines, highways, the South Platte river, and industrial land uses. As a result, pedestrian connectivity is currently limited. The NWC Master Plan is designed to increase neighborhood connectivity and local access to the campus. The redevelopment will thus include major road, transit, and pedestrian improvements, such as two bridges connecting Globeville to the NWC across the Platte River at 51st and 48th Ave, improvements of Washington St. and Brighton Blvd, a light rail station, and a revamp of Globeville Landing Park. Events such as the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) have historically caused serious congestion problems. Due to the high volume of visitor vehicles during the NWSS and the number of trailers during the three week event there are significant traffic jams, large events directly affect local residents’ mobility and quality of life. One result of the NWSS yearly event is a strained relationship between the NWC and the nearby residents who have felt the stock show doesn't care about them. In addition to the traffic from tourist events, the local residents will have to deal with additional traffic impacts from road and building construction for years to come. Finally, the NWSS wants every stock show attendee to have a free and easily accessible parking space, which goes against the city's desire to limit parking and invest in alternative transportation. In order to find a compromise, current conditions are being studied. Solutions include using offsite parking, multimodal connections, and amending the zoning code to require adaptable parking structures.

The National Western Center (NWC) has numerous unique transportation challenges due to the nearby railroad lines, highways, the South Platte river, and industrial land uses. As a result, pedestrian connectivity is currently limited. The NWC Master Plan is designed to increase neighborhood connectivity and local access to the campus. The redevelopment will thus include major road, transit, and pedestrian improvements, such as two bridges connecting Globeville to the NWC across the Platte River at 51st and 48th Ave, improvements of Washington St. and Brighton Blvd, a light rail station, and a revamp of Globeville Landing Park. Events such as the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) have historically caused serious congestion problems. Due to the high volume of visitor vehicles during the NWSS and the number of trailers during the three week event there are significant traffic jams, large events directly affect local residents’ mobility and quality of life. One result of the NWSS yearly event is a strained relationship between the NWC and the nearby residents who have felt the stock show doesn't care about them. In addition to the traffic from tourist events, the local residents will have to deal with additional traffic impacts from road and building construction for years to come. Finally, the NWSS wants every stock show attendee to have a free and easily accessible parking space, which goes against the city's desire to limit parking and invest in alternative transportation. In order to find a compromise, current conditions are being studied. Solutions include using offsite parking, multimodal connections, and amending the zoning code to require adaptable parking structures.


The neighborhood of Globeville is difficult to access despite being so close to the major highways of the city, I-70 and I-25. There is a lack of biking infrastructure, walkability is poor, and Washington Street is the only street that enters and exits the neighborhoods. There are several projects that are still in the planning stages while others are near completion. The area will see pedestrian and bike projects that will increase access to commuter rail stations, busses, and biking (bike lanes, B-Cycle stations etc.). Currently the 40th and Colorado station, as well as the 41st and Fox station, (both park-and-rides) are near completion.

The neighborhood of Globeville is difficult to access despite being so close to the major highways of the city, I-70 and I-25. There is a lack of biking infrastructure, walkability is poor, and Washington Street is the only street that enters and exits the neighborhoods. There are several projects that are still in the planning stages while others are near completion. The area will see pedestrian and bike projects that will increase access to commuter rail stations, busses, and biking (bike lanes, B-Cycle stations etc.). Currently the 40th and Colorado station, as well as the 41st and Fox station, (both park-and-rides) are near completion.


The neighborhoods of Elyria and Swansea are difficult to access despite being so close to the major highways of the city, I-70 and I-25. There is not a biking infrastructure, walkability is poor, and Washington Street is the only street that both enters and exits the neighborhoods. Most of the projects are still in the planning stages with the exception of  RTD’s A Line lake as well at 40th and Colorado. The area is supposed to see pedestrian and bike projects that will increase access to commuter rail stations, busses, and biking (bike lanes, B-Cycle stations etc.). United North Metro Denver, Elyria and Swansea Neighborhood Association, Citizens for a Greater Denver and  Cross Community Coalition, as well as other community groups are suing the EPA over the I-70 expansion. The groups are promoting a reroute of I-70 that would use I-270 and I-76 for truck and interstate traffic while eliminating the viaduct and replacing it with a boulevard. They say that a reroute would allow for more connectivity between the neighborhoods and eliminate traffic problems. CDOT says that they have studied the reroute but the community groups claim that CDOT has only studied a partial reroute and not their proposal.

The neighborhoods of Elyria and Swansea are difficult to access despite being so close to the major highways of the city, I-70 and I-25. There is not a biking infrastructure, walkability is poor, and Washington Street is the only street that both enters and exits the neighborhoods. Most of the projects are still in the planning stages with the exception of  RTD’s A Line lake as well at 40th and Colorado. The area is supposed to see pedestrian and bike projects that will increase access to commuter rail stations, busses, and biking (bike lanes, B-Cycle stations etc.). United North Metro Denver, Elyria and Swansea Neighborhood Association, Citizens for a Greater Denver and  Cross Community Coalition, as well as other community groups are suing the EPA over the I-70 expansion. The groups are promoting a reroute of I-70 that would use I-270 and I-76 for truck and interstate traffic while eliminating the viaduct and replacing it with a boulevard. They say that a reroute would allow for more connectivity between the neighborhoods and eliminate traffic problems. CDOT says that they have studied the reroute but the community groups claim that CDOT has only studied a partial reroute and not their proposal.


A number of basic improvements to the transportation-related elements of the district will make the River North Art District more accessible from almost every direction. While mass-transit will be much more accessible in the area, due to the 38th and Blake station and bus service along Brighton Boulevard, there are also two new footbridges planned to serve the district: one crossing the train tracks between Blake Street and Wazee Street, and another that will bridge the banks of the Platte River, both of which will improve pedestrian access. The RiNo plan, given its nearness to the nearby bus and rail service, as well it’s location partially along Brighton Boulevard, focuses on pedestrian-oriented improvements. These will enhance the walkability of the entire district and increase access for foot-traffic to the new RiNo Park and the planned festival promenade areas. In order to be successful, however, it will have to coexist with the large-vehicle traffic of Brighton Boulevard, which runs through RiNo and is a main artery for industrial traffic serving the downtown area. It is interesting to note, as well, that it is only amidst the rising popularity and economic prosperity of the area that the sore lack of critical pedestrian access and convenient public transportation is finally being addressed.

A number of basic improvements to the transportation-related elements of the district will make the River North Art District more accessible from almost every direction. While mass-transit will be much more accessible in the area, due to the 38th and Blake station and bus service along Brighton Boulevard, there are also two new footbridges planned to serve the district: one crossing the train tracks between Blake Street and Wazee Street, and another that will bridge the banks of the Platte River, both of which will improve pedestrian access. The RiNo plan, given its nearness to the nearby bus and rail service, as well it’s location partially along Brighton Boulevard, focuses on pedestrian-oriented improvements. These will enhance the walkability of the entire district and increase access for foot-traffic to the new RiNo Park and the planned festival promenade areas. In order to be successful, however, it will have to coexist with the large-vehicle traffic of Brighton Boulevard, which runs through RiNo and is a main artery for industrial traffic serving the downtown area. It is interesting to note, as well, that it is only amidst the rising popularity and economic prosperity of the area that the sore lack of critical pedestrian access and convenient public transportation is finally being addressed.


There will be major changes to the arrangement of the roadway, as part of the Brighton Boulevard Redevelopment. With a budget of about $26 million, the city plans to add sidewalks to this 2.6 mile stretch of road, which today has no sidewalks at all. In addition, there will be a raised bike path between the street and the sidewalk. Beautification and other aesthetic and landscaping enhancements are being paid for by the RiNo General Improvement District, with a budget of ~$3 million. The Brighton project and the RiNo project are closely linked, not only because of their proximity to one another, but also because of the relation and proximity of each to the new 38th and Blake railway station. This station will serve the new University of Colorado A Line, providing train service between DIA and Union Station. Newly designed bus stations will be added, along with 3 new traffic lights on Brighton Boulevard itself, as well as on-street parking. All of this is being done in a way that aims to ensure that Brighton Boulevard remains a practical way for commercial and industrial traffic (meaning large-vehicle traffic) to enter the downtown Denver area. That said, the mix of heavy industrial and foot-traffic will almost certainly come with unforeseen complications, and the Brighton corridor is a critical avenue for large-vehicle traffic serving the area north of downtown Denver, which means balancing these competing demands will be no simple task.

There will be major changes to the arrangement of the roadway, as part of the Brighton Boulevard Redevelopment. With a budget of about $26 million, the city plans to add sidewalks to this 2.6 mile stretch of road, which today has no sidewalks at all. In addition, there will be a raised bike path between the street and the sidewalk. Beautification and other aesthetic and landscaping enhancements are being paid for by the RiNo General Improvement District, with a budget of ~$3 million. The Brighton project and the RiNo project are closely linked, not only because of their proximity to one another, but also because of the relation and proximity of each to the new 38th and Blake railway station. This station will serve the new University of Colorado A Line, providing train service between DIA and Union Station. Newly designed bus stations will be added, along with 3 new traffic lights on Brighton Boulevard itself, as well as on-street parking. All of this is being done in a way that aims to ensure that Brighton Boulevard remains a practical way for commercial and industrial traffic (meaning large-vehicle traffic) to enter the downtown Denver area. That said, the mix of heavy industrial and foot-traffic will almost certainly come with unforeseen complications, and the Brighton corridor is a critical avenue for large-vehicle traffic serving the area north of downtown Denver, which means balancing these competing demands will be no simple task.


The River North Greenway Master Plan (GMP) contains ideas to increase access for residents and visitors to the South Platte River. For example, pedestrian crosswalks are planned along Washington Street and Brighton Boulevard. Some existing roadways and railroad tracks also present obstacles to new development. In order to fix this the roads, Arkins Court and Ringsby Court are planned to be moved, to make room for the expanded riverbanks.  The later (2013) Denver South Platte Corridor Study (DSPCS) expands on the idas in the GMP by incorporating “additional east/west streets that would improve connectivity from Brighton Boulevard to the proposed future park.” The intended benefits of the two plans include increased access to both the river and the local neighborhoods as well as a newly opened view of the mountains.  In fact, one of the DSPCS goals explicitly includes “More Walking, Less Driving,” to increase both the recreational use of the Greenway trail and the popularity of commuter rail transit.  Both plans fail to address, however, their own potential long-term impacts on driving habits and traffic congestion in the area.

The River North Greenway Master Plan (GMP) contains ideas to increase access for residents and visitors to the South Platte River. For example, pedestrian crosswalks are planned along Washington Street and Brighton Boulevard. Some existing roadways and railroad tracks also present obstacles to new development. In order to fix this the roads, Arkins Court and Ringsby Court are planned to be moved, to make room for the expanded riverbanks.  The later (2013) Denver South Platte Corridor Study (DSPCS) expands on the idas in the GMP by incorporating “additional east/west streets that would improve connectivity from Brighton Boulevard to the proposed future park.” The intended benefits of the two plans include increased access to both the river and the local neighborhoods as well as a newly opened view of the mountains.  In fact, one of the DSPCS goals explicitly includes “More Walking, Less Driving,” to increase both the recreational use of the Greenway trail and the popularity of commuter rail transit.  Both plans fail to address, however, their own potential long-term impacts on driving habits and traffic congestion in the area.