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It’s been several years in the making, but this morning Denver officials announced that a one block stretch of Bannock Street between Colfax and 14th avenues will permanently close to cars and trucks beginning April 21. It will reopen to pedestrians and bicyclists once it’s converted into a park-like space.
The stretch of road—directly in front of the City and County Building—has been the subject of scrutiny dating back to at least 2017, when it closed for five weeks for events and was studied as a potential pedestrian plaza. The street also closed temporarily about a year ago, when two different vehicles jumped the curb and parked near the steps of the City and County Building, leading to security concerns and resulting in barriers blocking traffic.
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The changes to Bannock Street will be rolled out in at least two stages, according to Mayor Michael Hancock and Eulois Cleckley, executive director of the city’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI). After the first phase, which will include minor changes like planters and a street mural, the block will reopen in May. The second phase, which is expected to be a more serious redesign with increased pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, will require public input. No firm timeline for the second phase has been established.
Because the street will be closed to motor vehicles, parking will be eliminated directly in front of the City and County Building. However, according to DOTI marketing and communications manager Nancy Kuhn, some of that parking will be relocated to 14th Avenue. Moreover, according to a DOTI release, the city studied traffic patterns and is confident alternative travel routes are sufficient and will not seriously impact drivers.