Parkways

Much of Denver’s unique identity and sense of place is built on the system of interconnected parkways, parks and neighborhoods. As early as the 1870’s, city leaders began transforming Denver’s character from a dry and dusty prairie into the green oasis of today by creating parks and parkways.

In Denver, parkway management is the responsibility of the Department of Parks and Recreation. Caring for and maintaining these treasured streets is complex as it requires the combined efforts of city agencies, the historic preservation community, elected officials, neighborhoods and residents

Definition of Terms

Public land that includes the street, tree lawn and sidewalk. The right-of-way width is established by the city. The right-of way also defines the boundary line along the street frontage of a property. In the case of parkways, the right-of-way is defined by the parkway ordinances.
The distance from the right-of-way that permanent structures such as houses and walls can be located. Development on private property is regulated by the city to establish set-back requirements. Set-back distances for parkways are defined by the parkway ordinances and provide the basic framework for the parkway character.
The area between the curb and edge of a detached sidewalk. Tree lawns are an integral component of the parkway character and typically very generous to create a distinctive park-like setting. Street trees are located within the tree lawn and often establish a continuous overhead canopy embracing the street. The lawn under the trees also reinforces the continuity of the parkway landscape. While this area is part of the public right-of-way, individual property owners are responsible for the maintenance of this area. Trees in the tree lawn along parkways are cared for by the city.
The median is a landscaped area separating the street into each direction of travel. Medians along the parkway are typically landscaped with lawn and trees. Shrub masses and flower beds may also add to the park-like setting of the parkway. Some medians are so wide, they can be used as linear parks for recreational uses such as walking dogs and jogging. A median is not always present on a parkway.
The private front yard is the space between the right-of-way and the front of a home or building facing the parkway. The front yard is an important component of a parkway and in many cases the character of the parkway is dependent on the consistency of the set-back and continuous spacious lawns on each side of the street.
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