“Island” Connectors Proposed For Globeville, Surrounding Neighborhoods

The pedestrian bridge at the 41st and Fox light rail station opened in 2016, providing pedestrian east-west connections between Globeville and Sunnyside. Now the city is considering additional connectivity options as the area continues to grow. Photo by David Sabados

Framed by I-25, I-70, and railroad tracks, the small pocket of western Globeville off Fox Street is sometimes called Fox Island because of its isolation. With only one road to the south by 38th Ave and one to the east at 44th Ave, car transportation options are limited, as are options for biking and walking. Anticipating the transit-oriented growth on both sides of the railroad tracks, RTD opened a pedestrian bridge by the 41st and Fox St light rail station in 2016, connecting Globeville and Sunnyside. With more growth on the horizon, the city is now looking at additional ways for people to get on and off the island.

The 41st and Fox Next Steps Study, created by the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI), builds on previous studies in the area and looks at the recent growth, anticipated growth, and changing views of multimodal transportation. The study is exactly as the name suggests: an analysis including multiple options, some of which might be implemented, though none are certain. 

Within Globeville, the study looks at improvements to 44th Ave to “address safety and comfort for all users and include separated and protected bike and pedestrian facilities on the south side of the bridge.” As 44th is currently the only east-west connection across I-25 south of I-70, those improvements are fully multimodal with the goal of improving car, mass transit, biking, and pedestrian travel.

The city is considering several options for more connectivity in the area, though they likely won’t build all of them.
Image courtesy of The Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure

The bigger proposals relate to how the Fox Street area connects outside of Globeville. The study lists several possibilities, noting it’s unlikely they would all be built. A separate 2009 study by the city discussed a potential car bridge at 44th or 46th Ave connecting Globeville and Sunnyside, but the updated study dismisses that idea, looking at other options instead due to “constructability challenges and neighborhood impacts” of a bridge at either 44th or 46th. Instead, DOTI is looking at the feasibility of a crossing at 47th Ave, just south of I-70. That connection is potentially a multimodal bridge with car, bike, and pedestrian options, or bike/car only. On the west side, that bridge would connect around 47th and Jason, just north of the Mile High Comics warehouse. On the east side, it would connect near the old Denver Post facility, which is anticipated to be a large new development project called Fox Park (We’ll have more information on Fox Park in the December edition of The G.E.S. Gazette). A potential benefit of this option is increased connection between Sunnyside and Globeville and more access to I-70 from the south, though the study notes that some residents are concerned about increased traffic on neighborhood streets if the bridge allows car travel.

Alternatively, the city could create a tunnel under I-70 from the same 47th and Fox area in Globeville that would instead connect north to 48th Ave, which connects Globeville to the Chaffee Park neighborhood. The tunnel could also be fully multimodal with car, bike, and pedestrian options. This option allows increased access to I-25 as well as I-70, but links to existing east-west connectivity at 48th Ave instead of creating an additional east-west option.

The study notes that both ideas will require extensive interaction between city, state, and national governments given the combination of roads and rail in the area. Both would also require more land acquisition.

Separately, the study also offers a potential tunnel under I-25 at the south end of the area, just west of Park Ave. Also, potentially a car/bike/walking tunnel, the study says, could help alleviate traffic congestion around the 38th Ave/I-25/Park Ave area and add increased connectivity through the RiNo district and into the 5 Points neighborhood.

The study also includes multiple ideas within Fox Island and the greater Globeville community. Ultimately, city agencies will be making determinations on the importance of car vs alternative transit options, whether more north-south or east-west connections should take priority, and a number of other factors. Community members wanting to give input can reach DOTI staff via the city’s website. Search “41st and Fox Next Steps Study” at devergov.org or look for a link in the online version of this story to see the full 59 page study and additional information.

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