Walking along Larimer Street in Downtown Denver offers many glimpses into Denver’s history, its patterns of urban life throughout that history, and aspirations for the future. At some points, it’s just a busy Downtown street, flanked by skyscrapers, offices, restaurants and clubs, no different from other streets in LoDo. You pass by pedestrians, cyclists, buses, and private vehicles either parked or driving. At other points, as anyone who brings friends and family Downtown know, you get a jewel like Larimer Square. The recently pedestrianized Larimer Square is one of those exemplary places whose character, charm, and variety of attractions make the case for Downtown without need for words. Yet, only a couple years ago, the 1400 block of Larimer Street was not a gathering place, but a three-lane road for private vehicles exiting Downtown.

Residents, employees, and visitors to Downtown, much as they enjoy the recent changes to Larimer, are witness to a time where this storied Street is essentially functioning in an unplanned way, and cities hate having no plan. Thus, residents and Downtown visitors have the opportunity to re-imagine what they want to see from a street that will no longer function as a transit-way (as it was planned) nor function as a high-speed, one-way arterial out of downtown (as it was prior). As we discuss in the episode, this is the right time to propose a newly livable Larimer Street that centers pedestrians and public space.

Justin Bai is a PhD candidate in Linguistics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As a Downtown resident, Justin spends a lot of time walking, cycling, and taking the bus on Denver streets. As an urbanist, Justin is leading a campaign to transform Larimer Street and develop more pedestrian space downtown. Check out Justin and his classmates’ story map here. You can find the campaign he discusses in the episode, @LivableLarimer, on X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram. Join in!

Remember, the Mayor recently announced a plan to make Downtown Denver the most vibrant downtown in America. They’ll be spending a lot of public money to do so, much of it related to the public right-of-way in Downtown! As we mentioned in our last post, the city is looking for your input in how they should go about revitalizing our Downtown. Let the city know how you think they should invest $500 million, and if Larimer Street’s continued transformation should receive some of that money.