New development in northeast Denver is transforming some of the city’s most diverse and historic neighborhoods. As the area continues to grow and thrive, the City and County of Denver is undertaking a number of infrastructure projects, including the 35th/36th Pedestrian Bridge Project.
This project identified the location and design of a new pedestrian and bike connection between the River North, Curtis Park and Cole neighborhoods and the 38th & Blake station for RTD's A-Line commuter rail, which opened in 2016.
The bridge spans the railroad tracks to connect Blake Street and Wazee Street between 35th and 36th Streets.
Additional multimodal improvements in the 38th & Blake Station area were completed in April 2016, including changes to the Blake Street Bridge over 38th Street, new bike lanes along Blake Street, and nearly 4,000 feet of new sidewalks.
The pedestrian bridge opened on Friday, August 11, in time for the Velorama/Colorado Classic event in RiNo.
Preferred Alternative Selected, 2014
As part of its final alternatives evaluation process, the City and County of Denver has identified a preferred alternative for the new bridge. The bridge will be located between 35th and 36th Streets and will include an elevator and stairs on both sides of the railroad tracks with landings and sidewalks extending north and south on Blake Street and Wazee Street.
On the east side, a sidewalk and plaza will be built directly adjacent to RTD’s 38th & Blake Station. On the west side, a sidewalk and plaza area will extend south to 35th Street to strengthen connections to the redeveloping areas on Brighton Boulevard.
The City is designing the bridge to be consistent with other planned structures in the area. Based on input expressed in the public outreach process, several driving factors for the design were developed. While the design is constrained by the project budget, future opportunities for partnerships that may be helpful in reaching long-term urban design and connectivity goals will also be explored. View PDFs of the draft design factors in the March 2014 Project Update and additional information on design features.
With an abundance of new development in the area, the freight and commuter railroad tracks that run between Blake and Wazee streets present a neighborhood division problem, separating the River North, Curtis Park and Cole neighborhoods.
The new bridge will provide an important pedestrian and bike connection for these neighborhoods as well as improve access to the under-construction RTD 38th & Blake East Rail station. Previous City and County of Denver planning efforts including the 38th & Blake Station Area Plan and the Northeast Downtown Neighborhoods Plan have also identified the need for a new non-motorized connection across the tracks.
The City and County of Denver has identified a preferred alternative for the new bridge which will be located between 35th and 36th Streets and include an elevator and stairs on both sides of the railroad tracks with landings and plazas on Blake and Wazee Streets.
A number of constraints such as limited City right-of-way, existing and planned development, active rail operations and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) influence the location and technical design of the bridge.
View a detailed map of the opportunities/constraints.
Informed by input from the community, the project team evaluated the technical feasibility of a number of bridge alternatives considering both ramps and elevator/stairs combinations.
While a ramp and stairs combination was initially recommended for the west side landing of the bridge, additional engineering conducted in early 2014 has made a ramp less feasible from both a technical and usability perspective due to longer, steeper ramp grades and sharper curves. Further constructability analysis also determined the cost to build such a ramp would exceed the project budget because of the need for highly specialized construction equipment. As such, an elevator and stairs will be constructed on both sides of the bridge.
The City is designing the bridge to be consistent with other planned structures in the area. View the preliminary design features.
The project team will coordinate with RTD and the local community to ensure that the new bridge integrates well with the future plans for the area and functions as a critical part of the area’s bike and pedestrian network. The City is also undertaking a separate study to evaluate improved bike and pedestrian connections from Wazee Street to Brighton Boulevard on the west side of the proposed bridge and under the railroad and East Rail tracks at 38th Street to the north of the proposed bridge.
Timing of the construction of additional bike and pedestrian connections will be dependent on the availability of funds for them.
In the near term, the City’s 38th & Blake Station TOD Infrastructure Project will construct thousands of feet of new sidewalks in the area, beginning in 2015. Learn more about that project.
The 35th/36th Pedestrian Bridge Project is a vital step in preparing a design for construction so that the bridge can be provide a connection to the RTD East Rail Line (now called the University of Colorado A Line). The project will be completed in four phases.
(Note, this schedule is tentative and for planning purposes only)
Purpose & Need Phase: Fall 2013
This preliminary phase will identify the purpose and need for the project. Based on technical data collection and public input, evaluation criteria and bridge alternatives will be developed.
Alternative Evaluation Phase: Winter 2013 to Spring 2014
The project team will consider public input and conduct a technical alternatives analysis to determine the preferred alternative for the design and location of the pedestrian bridge.
Design Phase: 2014 – 2015
Necessary environmental clearances, utilities, permits and right-of-way acquisitions will occur as bridge/plaza designs and construction plans are developed.
Construction Phase: 2015 –
Cost estimates will be finalized and the City will request bids for the construction of the project with the goal of beginning construction in 2015.
December 2013 NDCC Open House
April 2014 NDCC Open House
July 2014 NDCC Open House
December 2014 NDCC Town Hall