Denver shuts down 4 streets to give pedestrians more social distance space on their way to parks

Barricades cause confusion for some drivers
Posted at 11:09 PM, Apr 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 15:24:18-04

DENVER — Denver's major parks, including City, Washington, Sloan's Lake and Cheesman, are usually packed on weekends, as are the sidewalks leading to those parks.

Some sidewalks are so packed, there's no way to maintain a six-foot social distance buffer between pedestrians.

On Saturday, Denver shut down traffic on four streets, turning them over to pedestrians, so they'd have more room to spread out.

"I feel safe," said Margaret Mussman. "It's a lot more comfortable to go out when you have a lot more space. Getting out is crucial, especially with kids and dogs, and it helps people's mental health."

Street closures

The city closed 11th Avenue from Lincoln Street east to Humboldt, Byron Place from Zenobia to Stuart Street, Stuart Street from 21st to 24th Avenue, and 16th Avenue from Lincoln Street to Park Esplanade.

Hundreds, if not thousands of residents, took advantage of the street closures to take their dogs for a walk, to go bike riding, or to just head out to the park with loved ones or friends.

Denver resident Robert Colachico said the intention was good, but the closures caused some confusion because many drivers weren't anticipating the barricades.

"There are cars following a little too aggressively as you're walking down the street," he said. "I don't think people are clear, what's closed and what's open."


Many people out walking, jogging or riding their bikes were wearing masks, many were not.

"I heard the governor say that we needed to have a strong mask culture in Denver and Colorado," one pedestrian said, "and if it helps protect other people, it's two seconds out of my day, so I might as well do it."

Shannon Freeman went on a walk without a mask.

"I know it helps, but I don't even have one,' he said. "I am going to get one when they become available."

Gregg Leverentz has a polite message for pedestrians and bicyclists who are out and about without masks.

"Everyone needs to (be aware) of what's going on and try to help," he said. "Obviously, it's going to get worse before it gets better, but there are ways we can help it be less worse."

Leverentz said it's likely that more people will be wearing masks in the days to come.