DENVER (CBS4) - In April, Denver's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure temporarily closed select streets to thru-traffic. The goal is to allow more space for residents to walk while maintaining a safe distance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city of Denver hasn't given a date on when roads like 16th and 11th Avenues will reopen. Denver Councilman Chris Hinds is pushing for the closures to remain until at least Labor Day.
"We'll still need to physical distance and our parks are packed already. We don't need cars on the streets this summer as much as previous summers because we're telling people to stay at home and telecommute," explained Hinds.
He says most sidewalks are not wide enough for people to physically distance while walking. The city prioritized closures in areas of the city that don't have immediate access to a park or trail.
According to a recent survey, Hinds says the majority of residents don't mind the closure.
"Denver Streets Partnership conducted a survey and found that 90% of the people they surveyed enjoyed the street closures and hope it remains closed," said Hinds.
The city reports up to four times the normal amount of people are biking and along these roads.
Hinds was behind the push to restrict thru-traffic on these roads, not with the intent of closing roads to cars -- but rather opening roads to people. He sees this is an opportunity for Denverites to break their dependence on cars.
According to the city, the current vehicle volume is about 65% of what it was before the stay-at-home order. DOTI will continue to monitor the streets and align any next steps as needed with the city's COVID-19 recovery plans. Suspended enforcement activities, like parking meters fines, will also remain in place until further notice.
Roads that will close to thru-traffic are:
Capitol Hill Neighborhood
- E. 11th Avenue from Lincoln Street to Humboldt Street
Sloan Lake Neighborhood
- Bryon Place from Zenobia Street to Stuart Street
- Stuart Street from 24th Avenue to 21st Avenue
North Capitol Hill/City Park West Neighborhoods
- E. 16th Avenue from Lincoln Street to City Park Esplanade
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