Denver Parks & Recreation is putting bikes at the forefront this year, with plans to break ground on a number of projects with new amenities and better trail access. Translation: Plenty of biking fun for everyone!
SOUTH PLATTE RIVER TRAIL
The Denver metro area is home to more than 80 miles of regional trails. One of the most popular, the South Platte River Trail, runs right through the heart of the City. Understanding the important natural resource the City has in the South Platte River, plans are underway to improve direct access to the river for fishing and boating, reclaim the natural landscapes and riparian habitat along its banks, and improve the flow of bicycle and pedestrian traffic along this well-used regional trail.
Work is underway in several locations to widen the trail, making it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians alike. In addition to smoother and wider trails, better access points and new safety features and signage are coming, which is all part of the City’s River Vision Implementation Plan.
All of the projects in the River Vision Implementation Plan are slated to be completed in the summer of 2016. But Denver won’t rest on those laurels. With a focus on multi-modal transportation as the City continues unprecedented economic growth, Denver will focus on improvements and amenities for the cycling community as long as the wheels continue to turn.
Perhaps the most notable project for bike enthusiasts within the River Vision Implementation Plan is Denver’s Confluence Park. One of the busiest—and most beautiful—stretches of the South Platte River Trail, access for bicyclists in this area has long been a challenge due to an outdated design of narrow zig-zag, back-and-forth ramps that provide access for both bikes and pedestrians between the trail and the river.
Improvements began in March to remove those outdated ramps, making them more user-friendly and bringing them up to code. This is a popular area for bicyclists and nature lovers alike due to its access to the river and the park’s proximity to REI’s flagship Denver store (not to mention Starbucks).
RUBY HILL BIKE PARK
For mountain bikers, a new skills course is planned for Ruby Hill Park that will be the only course of its kind in Denver. The seven-acre area will feature slope-style lines ranging from extra small to extra large, as well as a drop zone, freestyle skills area, various jumps and two pump tracks. It’s all part of phase two of the Ruby Hill master plan, which will bring park improvements, including a multi-use natural surface trail
The City began accepting construction bids for the skills course in March, and the work is expected to be completed in spring 2016.
Jay Henke, Senior Landscape Architect, and Joe Lovell, GIS Data Administrator, Denver Parks & Recreation, contributed to this article.