University Boulevard: A Missed Opportunity?

by Jill Locantore on April 2, 2015

A major public infrastructure project, but no new sidewalk

University Boulevard Construction

University Boulevard during construction. The east side of the Boulevard between 1st Avenue and Cherry Creek didn’t have a sidewalk before construction, and it still doesn’t. Photo: Google Image Capture May 2014

Commentary by former WalkDenver Board Member Ellen Ittleson:

I am honored to be a member of the Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee.  At the March meeting I asked a question about the inclusion of sidewalks in city-funded infrastructure projects.  My question was specifically about the massive storm water and street reconstruction project on University Boulevard between the Cherry Creek bridge and East 6th Avenue.

As those of you familiar with Cherry Creek and the Cherry Creek Area Plan know, there is no sidewalk along the east side of University between the Creek and 1st Avenue.  Standard city policy regarding sidewalk construction would not require this sidewalk segment to be built until such time as the west end of the Cherry Creek Shopping Center is redeveloped.

But why no sidewalk as part of this major public infrastructure project?  The response from the project manager is that there was not adequate right-of-way to construct the sidewalk and tree lawn, so the decision was made to wait for redevelopment of the adjacent property.  This raises a question for WalkDenver and other pedestrian advocates:  Is it better to construct a basic sidewalk (5-foot attached) as an interim solution or to wait for the appropriately sized sidewalk and tree lawn as part of future development?

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