Rant: CU-CSU Showdown an Unwelcome Distraction

The arrival of Labor Day weekend means it’s time for the annual grudge match between the University of Colorado Buffaloes and the Colorado State Rams at Sports Authority Field (Sunday, 4 p.m.).

In case you were wondering, this is a football game. Such ignorance can be forgiven because for the past few years, the two schools have been playing something that bears only a passing resemblance to the sport. (True fans seem to agree; the stadium is expected to be no more than two-thirds full on Sunday.)

As a Denver transplant who attended a small Midwestern college, I have no allegiance whatsoever to either side in this tilt. As a Denver citizen, I’ve learned to steer clear of what usually turns into an unsightly affair both on and off the field.

A few years ago, in an effort to mitigate the inevitable public drunkenness, organizers started the game at 11 a.m. The result: The kids either began drinking earlier that morning or just stayed up the whole previous night. I had tickets to that one, and as we wove through the crowd toward the stadium we witnessed rampant alcohol-induced idiocy, several fights, and a good dozen young adults—far more women than men, incidentally—openly relieving themselves throughout the parking lot. Given this year’s late-afternoon kickoff and an off day Monday, such vivid displays will be even more rampant than usual. (Don’t be surprised if LoDo gets ugly, too.)

College kids will be college kids, and the in-state rivalry game is one of the NCAA’s grandest traditions. But Colorado’s version of this ritual has been pretty pathetic lately. (And it’s stuck in Denver until at least 2019.) So unless you’re one of the, uh, celebrants, do yourself a favor and avoid Federal Boulevard—and maybe downtown—until Labor Day dawns.

Rave: Downtown Bike Lanes a Welcome Addition—If Used Properly

Starting yesterday, a dedicated bike lane opened along 15th Avenue between Cleveland and Larimer streets. It features clearly marked buffers and “bike boxes” at some intersections where cyclists can gather at red lights and turn in a group rather than one by one.

This is the most recent dedicated lane downtown, and more are being discussed or planned in and around the densest part of the city. They should be welcomed not just by riders who’ve had to pedal among auto traffic, but also by pedestrians who’ve been clipped or nearly clipped by cyclists (illegally) riding on sidewalks.

Now if we can just get everyone to follow the rules for their vehicle of choice. (Just about everything you need to know can be found here.) As Denver continues to remake its local traffic patterns to reduce car use, the plans will only work if everyone respects the limits of the laws.

Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.