Commentary

Seven Things That Make Thornton Residents Very, Very Mad

In previous installments of this series, we've focused on specific neighborhoods in Denver proper. This time, we're looking at what raises the ire of residents of one of Denver's suburb-cities to the north, Thornton. For some readers, this 'burb is home; for others, it's the part of town where they were raised; for many more, it's that part of the metro area they drive through while heading to Fort Collins...or American Furniture Warehouse. Either way.

Still, Thornton is a burgeoning city with its share of parks and streets and pets and people...so, as with everywhere else in metro Denver, its residents have their share of beefs. Like these seven, for starters.
7.  Very little history
Since Thornton was incorporated only sixty years ago, the city is still a relative youth in terms of Colorado municipalities. With that comes a decided lack of history, with few noteworthy events or famous sons and daughters. (One of Thornton’s only claims to fame is that it was the city in which Rockies superstar Todd Helton was busted for a DUI back in 2013, when he drove out to get lotto tickets still drunk on red wine.) Likewise, no structure in Thornton is very old: Most neighborhoods go back to the 1960s at most, and even those are relatively rare. Missing are the brick bungalows and Denver squares from parts south; instead, you'll see siding and attached two-car garages and cul-de-sacs. Great for block parties, for sure, but not so great for old-fashioned charm.

6. I-25
Seriously, has there been a significant period of time over the last decade when there wasn’t construction where Thornton Parkway crosses I-25? Doesn’t seem like it, and that’s only the tip of the road-improvement iceberg where Thornton is concerned. Sure, it’s nice to have roads that aren’t pothole-slaloms — but it’s also nice to get home once in a while without seeing an orange cone, or (shudder) having to deal with the bottleneck created when the number of available lanes is reduced to one or two. That's the curse of the bedroom community: If you’re not able (or don’t want to) live where you work, the price of that is commuting, and I-25 is so irritating that we've written before about how to handle it.

5. Tolls and the New Definition of Carpooling
Speaking of I-25…Thornton residents just got the option to pay for that sucky commute — if they want to take advantage of the almost done (really, almost done, we swear) toll lanes from U.S. 36 all the way up to 120th Avenue. Granted, you will still be able to use the toll lane for free if you’re carpooling…but only with two other people instead of just one. That’s because the road is going to be rated HOV3, which means that in order to qualify for the free toll-lane trip, you have to have not two but a minimum of three people in your car. So, sorry, couples: You don’t count anymore unless you have a kid. And, sorry, carpoolers who don’t have a third: You’re not officially carpooling anymore. That’s some incentive, CDOT, and in no way does it seem like a complete cash grab.


Keep reading for four more things that make Thornton residents mad.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen