After years of planning and trial runs, the "front porch” of Denver's city hall is officially getting a makeover.
The one-block stretch of Bannock Street outside of the City and County Building will be permanently closed to vehicle traffic beginning this spring, Mayor Michael Hancock announced today, February 27.
"As a city working hard to reduce vehicle traffic and expand multimodal transportation, and a city that invests in growing and preserving our park land, this closure simply made sense," Hancock said during a press conference revealing the plans.
Bannock will close on April 21 and undergo an initial renovation to install trees, seating, a mural and other features, with reopening scheduled for sometime in May. City officials will then begin a community planning process to finalize plans for "phase two," a more complete redesign that will transform the street into a "place of prominence and celebration for the city," said Eulois Cleckley, director of the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.
"It's really a part of the new focus and vision of our department," Cleckley said. "As our population continues to grow, we need to carve out new spaces, re-envision our right-of-way in our streets, and bring our streets to a point where they're a space to promote life, where people can socialize, recreate and celebrate our city's arts and culture."
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The stretch of Bannock between Colfax and 14th avenues is already frequently closed to traffic during special events held in Civic Center Park, and the permanent change has been a long time coming; DOTI studied the possibility during a five-week test closure in 2017.
Twelve parking spots outside of the City and County Building will be removed as part of the redesign, including two ADA-compliant accessible spaces that will be relocated to West 14th Avenue. The project's $200,000 price tag will be split between DOTI and the Department of Parks and Recreation, which will help oversee the integration of the space into Civic Center Park.
"One of the things we're going to do as a city is to think about how this fits in with the overall Civic Center area," Hancock said. "Not only the park, but you've got the library, the art museum and, of course, city hall and the State Capitol. All this is part of our thinking — how we grow and advance the values of inclusivity and accessibility to the seat of government here."