Bannock will close to handle crush of events
Denver is brunching so hard, it’s closing down streets. And they won’t reopen for five weeks.
BrunchFEST on Aug. 27 kicks off a string of late-summer events at Civic Center that typically would have the city opening and closing Bannock Street through the end of September. But this year, Denver has opted to put up the barriers at West Colfax Avenue and at West 14th Avenue Parkway and leave them until the last drop of chocolate fondue is mopped up after the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K on Oct. 1.
But unlike other street closures that focus on activating public spaces, such as the pop-up park on 21st Street, this closure focuses on studying transportation and laying the groundwork for future plans.
“People are used to Bannock being closed this time of year,” said Crissy Fanganello, Denver’s director of transportation and mobility. “It’s just on and off, on and off.”
Bannock Street will be closed between Colfax and 14th from Aug. 25 to Oct. 1. The closure will create more consistency for drivers and allow the city to test a new traffic configuration and a pedestrian-friendly plaza, Fanganello said.
The idea for the plaza has floated around the city for years, but Denver Public Works spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn wasn’t aware of any formal discussions until this 2017 study. She and Fanganello said the closure is simply a preliminary step and a plaza is still far in the future.
Ideally, the temporary closure will lessen confusion, Fanganello said.
But she admitted it may not be perfect in terms of traffic flow.
Sidewalks and bike lanes will remain open. Many of the major events will have additional closures. The city will be assessing safety and mobility for cars, pedestrians and bikes. It’ll also monitor the effect on regular Bannock Street users.
The city will maintain two leftturn lanes and a right-turn lane from 14th onto Colfax, Kuhn said. There will be signage attached to the traffic signal mast post and a more clear barricade of Bannock than is usually deployed.
The closure is not expected to have a financial impact on the city as event organizers are the ones who provide and cover the costs of barricades, Kuhn said.
Bannock was closed for an extended period of time last year when the city had several consecutive events, including the NFL kickoff party, 911 commemorative event and Taste of Colorado.