New push to transform Union Station into Denver's first pedestrian only plaza

No more cars on Wynkoop St. between 16th & 18th
Posted at 9:51 PM, Apr 14, 2017

DENVER -- Denver's Union Station already has the nightlife, trendy restaurants, and of course the train to the plane -- but then there's the cars.

"It's just not a functional space for everybody, there's just too much going on," said video blogger Chris Jones.

Jones sees Wynkoop St. between 16th St. and 18th Streets as a huge opportunity to create Denver's first pedestrian only plaza.

"This has all the right bones for that," he said. "It connects to the 16th Street Mall, which is a great public space, you got Coors Field right here."

A Master's of Urban Planning Student at CU Denver, Jones said the walkability and other similarly designed plazas in Europe is what inspired him to create this now viral YouTube video about his vision for Union Station.

"What I think would be awesome for Denver is Wynkoop Square," Jones says in the video. "Kick the cars out and extend the pavers from wall to wall."

Denver Community Planning and Development has a slightly different vision.

"Not just be a street, but to be a kind of all modes combined," said Steve Nalley, a Denver Neighborhood Planning Supervisor.

The idea is remove the curb on both sides of Wynkoop Street to give it more of a plaza-like feel that still has traffic in both directions.

"It will certainly be less convenient to drive there," said Nalley.

The extended Piazza Project would cost $9 million and is still in the early stages. But if they don't get rid of all the cars, Jones said they defeat the purpose of a great public space.

"I love Union Station cause it's a place for people, and there's only going to be more people here when the rail lines open," he said.

The city also has plans to turn 21st Street from Larimer and Arapahoe Streets into a car free square. Denver plans to test the idea with a pop-up park in that area this summer, and if it goes well they'll make it permanent. 

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