Millennium Bridge Makeover

What’s going on at the Millennium Bridge? Here’s the scoop:

The Central Platte Valley Metropolitan District, the taxing authority that owns and maintains much of the public infrastructure between Wewatta Street and the Consolidated Mainline freight tracks, including the Millennium Bridge, is giving the bridge a $1 million remodel. The update to the bridge consists primarily of two parts: the replacement of the bridge’s lighting to LED lights, and the expansion and reorientation of the stairs on the LoDo side of the bridge.

The switch to LED lighting will save the district money and improve the energy efficiency of the bridge’s lights by 80%. It will also allow the bridge’s iconic spire to be illuminated in different colors other than white for holidays and special occasions.

The reconfiguration of the stairs will improve pedestrian flow between the bridge and the Union Station light rail platforms. Currently, pedestrians leaving the bridge have to do a bit of a fishhook to go around the side of the stairs to head towards the mall shuttle and light rail boarding areas. The new configuration will improve that pedestrian movement.

Here’s a diagram showing the new stairway configuration, thanks to the CPVMD:


The project will be finished by July 2014.

By | 2016-12-27T20:31:27+00:00 May 2, 2014|Categories: Infrastructure, Parks & Public Spaces, Pedestrians|Tags: |21 Comments


  1. Jeffrey Beall May 2, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Does the project include cleaning and eliminating the extremely strong and penetrating urine smell from the elevators on either side of the bridge? If not, I request that this work be included.

    • Tom C May 2, 2014 at 7:08 pm

      That is a problem you will have in any public space, and cleaning it would probably last no more than a day. Having glass walls increases safety/security somewhat, but I can’t imagine any reasonable solution (24 hr monitoring of every single enclosed public space?). How would you solve it Jeffrey?

    • TakeFive May 3, 2014 at 2:53 am

      As they say, learn something every day. They need a video that could “sense” for this and then flash a message saying: “Smile, you and your little thing have been recorded for posterity.”

  2. John May 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I was hoping for a bike ramp. Oh well.

    • Lance Newcomb May 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Isn’t that what the ramp on the side of the steps is for?

    • Tom C May 2, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      They already have have bike tracks next to the stairs. If you don’t want to dismount, you should take 15th Street. Besides, this spot is pedestrian oriented, and bikes and pedestrians don’t mix well. Bikes aren’t even allowed on the 16th Street Mall.

      • Lance Newcomb May 3, 2014 at 4:49 am

        *Except on Sundays.

  3. Jim Nash May 2, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    This remodel still doesn’t deal with the reality that for several months every year there will be ice and snow on the bridge and the steps. Pedestrian friendly? Don’t think so. Why won’t the bridge and stairs at least be weather-covered? And why are escalators not being included, to raise the walker’s experience to the same level as DIA?

    And maybe more important, how are the people at the Central Platte Valley Metropolitan District able to plan, and decide to spend a million dollars of public money with so little public oversight? It’s great that you’re announcing this remodeling, but why doesn’t this blog report on the decision-making process BEFORE the decisions are made?

    Basically, is this website here to just promote projects — or probe into how they get planned and permitted? Reporters covering every other aspect of government are expected to dig into how the peoples’ money gets spent, from beginning to end. Is that what’s happening here?

    • Ken Schroeppel May 3, 2014 at 8:08 am

      Jim, DenverInfill/DenverUrbanism is a volunteer operation and every post has been produced by someone during their spare time. None of us are reporters. We all have day jobs and lots of other things we’re involved with. I don’t have the time to produce in-depth articles on the planning and development process, nor am I aware of (despite my good connections) everything that’s going on before they are announced publicly. Sorry. Also, a clarification: DenverInfill/DenverUrbanism isn’t here to promote these projects per se. We are here to promote infill and urbanism developments as a means of city-building, repairing our city’s tattered urban fabric, increasing the urban character of central Denver, and promoting urbanism and Denver in general. These individual projects are not the ends themselves, but the means to an end.

      Regarding the bridge… that’s just not Denver’s style to cover stuff up. I walk across the bridge almost daily, and even during the winter, it is rarely a problem with snow and ice. The bridge is maintained by the Downtown BID (purple shirt people) who are always out there on a continuous basis with shovels and de-icing salt, etc. when we do get some snow. I’ve never had a problem dealing with the weather on the bridge. The remaining 96% of the year when there is no snow on the ground, there’s no need to cover the bridge, in my opinion.

      The CPV Metro District was created to fund infrastructure in the valley via additional property tax mils on the land in the valley. The District had some extra money left over as the reconstruction of Chestnut, 18th, 19th, etc., apparently came in under budget, so they used the money to upgrade the bridge. All District-funded infrastructure is coordinated with the city.

      • Jim Nash May 3, 2014 at 10:52 am

        Thank you, Ken, for all you and your volunteers do for this wonderful website. You may not be reporters by profession, but as excellent writers and photographers, you are reporters, in fact. And the added value of your reports is that you folks are the “experts” that professional reporters seek out, to get the real story.

        Whether these websites should be more critical of development projects will probably keep popping up, in the blog commentaries. By being the “bridge” between all the players in urban development, you’ll always be under scrutiny from different interests. Again, thank you for all your hard work, making us smarter about our city.

    • Brent May 3, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Posting for public meetings of metropolitan districts is done in accordance with state law, and I have no doubt this was discussed at a meeting that was open to the public. If you want to know, attend.

  4. Manta May 3, 2014 at 12:18 am

    I navigate this ‘fish hook’ every day to catch the mall ride so I was excited to see that they are going to turn the corner with the steps. Wish they had started the turn much higher up than just the last few steps though. Better yet, let the mall ride stop at the bridge so there’s no backtracking at all. Being petty I’m sure, no doubt its a great pedestrian commute.

    • Ken Schroeppel May 3, 2014 at 8:16 am

      I agree. I think they could have started the curved steps one level higher. I’m sure it’s all a matter of cost.

  5. Rob May 3, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Bikes are allowed on the roads and paths that terminate at the bridge so it makes sense toinclude a bike ramp that allows through travel on the bike route, without dismounting. Loaded bikes,or bikes with kids or trailers are hard to push up the ramp and don’t fit in elevators. 15th is a bad option because of the fact that riding on the sidewalk is the safer option. But then you must mix with peds. And a smentioned above, that’s not a good thing.
    Sixteenth st has bike lanes on that stretch.

    • Mike May 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      I would disagree with the notion that the sidewalk along 15th St is the safer option. While that is one of the few sidewalks in which you are legally allowed to ride, I’d still ride in the street.

      15th St is not a dangerous choice and allows you to ride without having to navigate hordes of pedestrians.

      • mckillio May 5, 2014 at 6:40 am

        I too ride on 15th but to say it isn’t a dangerous choice is false, it is a very high speed street due to its lack of any thing to slow traffic down, parallel parking, trees etc.

  6. Mark B May 3, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I wonder if it might just make sense to relocate the handrail on this side of the bridge. If you’re climbing up, the right side of the bridge is only one person wide after you get to the midway point, thanks to this odd placement. As much as I like this bridge, that has always struck me as an easily remedied design flaw.

  7. Ron D May 5, 2014 at 10:00 am

    How is accessibility accomplished to/from the bridge for the wheelchair bound citizenry ?

    • mckillio May 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm


      • Nathanael May 5, 2014 at 11:14 pm

        And does the elevator route still require the “fishhook”? Looks like it. *Sigh*

  8. jeff May 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Love the improvements.

    On a related note, we need to calm 15th/29th down substantially. People drive fast because they can. That’s the way the road is set up. Let’s change that. If you want to get into Highland faster, take Speer.

Comments are closed.