If city officials have their way, Brighton Boulevard will soon have a new name. A name that doesn’t refer to Brighton, but will connote the dramatic $40 million makeover the once-gritty industrial route out of downtown is now receiving as it becomes a stretch of art studios, brewpubs, coffee roasters and luxury apartments.
The idea of a name change was recently floated at a gathering of River North business interests by representatives of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative, a city agency created by Mayor Michael Hancock to oversee several ongoing projects in northeast Denver — including the expansion of I-70 and the National Western Center — in what the mayor is fond of calling the “Corridor of Opportunity.” The Brighton Boulevard facelift will include protected bike lanes, new signals and streetlights and pedestrian features — like, you know, sidewalks.
Why the name change, and what name in particular does the group have in mind? NDCC executive director Anna Jones and a press spokeswoman didn’t respond to requests for comment. But Mayor Hancock reportedly favors renaming the strip North Broadway North.
In a city known for ridiculous locational abbreviations such as LoHi and RiNo, North Broadway North might pose some interesting challenges. It’s redundant, for one thing. And it’s not clear if its shorthand reference will turn out to be NoBroNo (a cry at a frat party as the keg runs out), the phonetically inclined NoBraNo (is the area designated for strip clubs?), or simply NoBoNo (U2 can just suck it).
The term is also confusing, since Denver’s longstanding habit in referring to north-south streets is to designate the south portion by direction but not the north one — there’s Broadway, and then there’s South Broadway. If there is a North Broadway, it’s the part that plays peek-a-boo with the I-70/I-25 interchange and then reappears alongside I-25 northbound, far from Brighton Boulevard, which picks up from Broadway north of 29th Street and runs through the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood to Commerce City as State Highway 265.
If Brighton Boulevard needs rebranding, perhaps something that better captures the flavor of the new Denver is in order. We could call it Cattle Drive, in honor of the billion-dollar investment going into the Stock Show grounds — and as a nod to this burg's cowtown roots. Or perhaps RiNo Virus Way.
Given the cost and the amount of construction involved, it could be known as the Hancock High Hat Highway, or the Double Triple Bypass, or the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, or simply The Corridor of Opportunists. To highlight the sort of businesses that have replaced plumbing-supply houses along the old Blighted Boulevard, it could even be the Fresh and Organically Provendered Promenade, which hipsters could then refer to as the FOPP.
Other suggestions? Send them our way. Let’s get this naming contest on the road!
Update March 21, 2:40 p.m.: In response to the above report, we heard from North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative spokeswoman Leesley Leon, who states that "there is no proposal being led by NDCC" to change the boulevard's name, which would require an official request to City Council and gathering signatures to be implemented.
Leon adds: "The idea of renaming Brighton Boulevard has come up time and again as many have observed confusion created by the name of the street. As Broadway is currently devolving from a state highway into a Denver street and Brighton is undergoing major reconstruction, the idea of renaming has come up again. The NDCC works to coordinate the impact of significant projects in the area, and in this capacity has been helping the community regarding renaming to understand what the public wants. We look forward to [seeing] where this goes and remain committed to Denver’s residents."
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