Speak up! Share your thoughts on the proposed RiNo pedestrian bridge

by Jill Locantore on February 26, 2015

Submit your comments to the city here

 

Suspension Bridge Rendering

Rendering of the type of suspension bridge that could be built across the Platte River in RiNo. Image source: City of Denver.

Millennium Bridge Sunset

As the trio of pedestrian bridges connecting Union Station with the Lower Highlands demonstrates, these types of bridges not only create important connections between neighborhoods and increase mobility, but can also become iconic destinations in and of themselves.  Just witness the crowds of people who regularly gather on the Millennium Bridge to watch the trains go by, enjoy the panoramic view of new development happening around Union Station, snap pictures of the bridge’s iconic “mast,” or simply lounge on the benches.

The Millennium Bridge at sunset.  

I-25, I-70, the Platte River, and railroads divide many Denver neighborhoods, and as more and more residents clamor for better pedestrian and bicycle connections, the construction of new bridges provides an opportunity for creative “placemaking” throughout the city.  Just imagine if Denver became known around the world for our beautiful pedestrian bridges! Well, now’s your chance to weigh in on a proposed new bridge in the RiNo neighborhood.

The RiNo pedestrian bridge would connect from the Taxi redevelopment on the west side of the Platte River to a planned future park on the east side, allowing bicycles and pedestrians to more easily connect from the Globeville neighborhood to the regional trail network, the emerging retail and entertainment district along Brighton Boulevard, and the new RTD East Line transit station at 38th and Blake. The city further characterizes the project as an opportunity to create a “signature bridge that expresses the community’s character and future.”

RiNo Pedestrian Bridge Map

The location and environs of the proposed pedestrian bridge. Image source: City of Denver.

The location of the proposed bridge in a heavily urbanized area with existing utilities and roadways presents particular challenges.  The trapezoidal channel through which the Platte River flows in this section is just large enough to accommodate a 100-year flood, which means that no piers can be placed within the river to support a bridge.  The landing of the bridge on the west side is constrained by Ringsby Court, with very little room between the roadway and the river.  Positioning the bridge at an angle across the River, so that it lands a little further north on the west side, allows more room for the landing but eliminates design options that could not span this longer distance without supporting piers.

Economics also constrain the project – currently there is no funding identified for bridge construction.  Project partners, including the Greenway Foundation and Bridges to Prosperity, are anxious to move the project forward sooner rather than later and therefore have steered away from more expensive design options.  Given all of these constraints, the project team has identified a suspension bridge design, such as the one pictured at the top of the page, as the most feasible option.

15.02.19 RiNo Ped Bridge Public Meeting

The city hosted a public meeting February 19 on the proposed pedestrian bridge.  Image source: RiNo, River North Art District.

At a public meeting held on February 19, participants expressed interest in the opportunities to incorporate public art and other “placemaking” elements into the bridge design, as well as the ability of the bridge to not only connect over the river, but also serve as a community gathering place.  If you missed the meeting, you can still weigh in on these issues and other aspects of the project through the city’s online comment form.

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