City Loop doesn’t include a traffic plan. The City is building a 13 acre, 5 million dollar, Regional Attraction without a traffic study. According to their plan, City Loop will be “one of Denver’s most vibrant civic spaces” with staffed kiosks, comfort stations, and food trucks. It will attract hundreds of families, week-in and week-out, year-round, along with their hundreds of cars. What will that look like on neighborhood streets and inside City Park?
Traffic in City Park
City Park has a very limited, poorly marked, confusing traffic pattern. This resulted from road closures made to reduce vehicle traffic and crime in the park. It worked. City Park pedestrians and cyclists co-exist comfortably with the minimal traffic in the park. Vehicle entrances are limited and there are no direct vehicle routes through the park. So what will happen when hundreds of vehicles driven by regional visitors don’t know how to get into or through the park? The last City Park circulation study was completed in 2010, well before City Loop was conceived. The City implemented nothing from the 2010 study.
Traffic Around City Park
City Park traffic has limited points of entry and exit. Entry only is allowed from 23rd Avenue, less than a block away from the intersection at 23rd and York Street. Entry and exit are allowed at the Esplanade across from East High School. Exit only is allowed at 21st Avenue and York Street. So what happens when cars arrive at the same time for an Event? What does the traffic look like on 23rd? on 17th? on York – from Colfax all the way to 23rd? Do vehicles get frustrated and try to enter at 21st? What about the City Park neighbors, especially City Park West, Whittier, North City Park, and South City Park? We don’t know, but it doesn’t look good. The traffic problems we experience for big events today don’t include the west end of the park, so there is no experience to go by.
City Loop Landing?
The City Loop plan does call for the closure of the roadway between the Martin Luther King Monument and the traffic circle adjacent to the 21st Avenue exit. From the plan:
Though not included in the scope of services or budget for the City Loop project, the proposed reconfiguration of the diagonal road running along the southwestern leg of the parcel is an important contributor to the City Loop’s future success. This reconfiguration includes the closing of the roadway to through vehicular traffic; leveling the roadway and resurfacing with a graphically pronounced treatment; providing bike lanes in both directions; providing an area for food trucks; furnishing with loose seating and tables; and providing drop-off areas at both the north-west and south-east roundabouts.
What is the rest of the traffic story? Where will the cars go? Or will they all be parked in the neighborhoods? That’s you, City Park West.