5280 Trail on 21st Street Design

Public Space, Public Life: 21st Street TODAY

  • 40% of people choose scooters, bikes, and other forms of micro-mobility to move on 21st Street.
  • Many community organizations on 21st Street provide their services outdoors. This is a programming opportunity for the new design.
  • 21st Street could draw energy from the lively food and retail corridor along Larimer St.
  • The Benedict Fountain Park is a strong engine for public life and provides a diverse set of activities for kids and adults alike. 21st Street should include invitations for these users.

Scooters moving along 21st Street

40% of people choose scooters, bikes, and other forms of micro-mobility to move on 21st Street

40% of people choose micromobility to move on 21st

40% of people choose scooters, bikes, and other forms of micro-mobility to move on 21st Street

Community organizations provide services outdoors

Many community organizations on 21st Street provide their services outdoors. This is a programming opportunity for the new design.

21st could draw from lively corridor along Larimer

21st Street could draw energy from the lively food and retail corridor along Larimer St.

Benedict Fountain Park hosts activities for kids

The Benedict Fountain Park is a strong engine for public life and provides a diverse set of activities for kids and adults alike. 21st Street should include invitations for these users.

21st St. should include invitations for park users

The Benedict Fountain Park is a strong engine for public life and provides a diverse set of activities for kids and adults alike. 21st Street should include invitations for these users.


Public Space, Public Life: Survey Results

Public Space, Public Life survey was conducted in April 2021 to understand how people are using 21st Street today, how they arrive and are welcomed to the corridor as well as how people are invited to say and/or move through 21st Street.

Survey Results:

  • 21st Street is most often used to get to other destinations.
  • More than half of the people observed were either sitting on the ground or standing with few benches or places to sit.
  • There are few comfortable invitations to stay and spend time.
  • More males than females use this corridor for bicycling, which could indicate that women feel less safe on this corridor.
  • The street accommodates shared scooters and bikes, but disorganized parking on the sidewalks disrupts the walking experience.
  • Many community organizations on 21st Street provide their services outdoors. This is a programming opportunity for the new design.
  • Coors Field and Benedict Fountain Park create the two endpoints for the corridor. Both provide strong engines for public life and the most diverse list of possible activities for 21st Street.

5280 Trail Explained

Denver’s Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI) is partnering with the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) to bring Colorado’s outdoor culture downtown! DOTI and DDP are in the design stages of the 5280 Trail - a five-mile park and urban trail that will circle around Downtown Denver.

This urban trail project aims to prioritize people, promote healthy lifestyles, and create an outdoor culture with tree-lined places for people of all ages and abilities to walk, roll or bike. It will create a place where a parent can teach their child how to ride a bike or take a stroll with their toddler. A place people can go for a leisurely walk with friends or to unwind on a lunch break.

In 2017, DOTI began analyzing existing conditions and gathering community feedback to identify key locations in downtown for green space, community gardens, public art, and important views. The trail will incorporate the community’s feedback as well as neighborhood and city plans to connect vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. Beginning in spring 2021, DOTI will re-engage with the community to create conceptual designs, starting with a 12-block segment of 21st Street. The project will then move into final design. Funding for construction is still being identified.


Get To Know The 5280 Trail on 21st Street

The Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure’s (DOTI) 5280 Trail on 21st Street project team has completed its first community survey of the year and incorporated community feedback into initial concept designs for the 5280 Trail on 21st Street.  Final designs and construction for this project is still being determined.

Here is what an urban trail for people of all ages and abilities to walk, roll, or bike could look like on 21st Street. These changes would be permanent features to begin the first leg of the 5280 Trail on 21st Street.  Please email 21stStreet@denvergov.org to receive project updates.

Alternative 1: Trail

5280 Trail on 21st Street Design - rendering of festival landing Alternative 1: Trail

Alternative 2: Shared Street

Shared Street Alternative - Full Size(JPG, 151KB)


Project Map

5280 Trail 21st Street Project Map Highlight

Where Will The Trail Go?

This urban trail will circle downtown with direct links to the Auraria Campus, La Alma/Lincoln Park, Golden Triangle, Capitol Hill, Uptown, Arapahoe Square, Five Points, BallPark and LoDo.

21st Street will be the first segment of the trail that will move into design and encompasses 12-blocks starting from Wazee and 20th Streets then connecting to 21st Street at Coors Field and ending at Benedict Fountain Park. This area has long been identified by the city as a priority green space corridor for pedestrians and bicyclists.


Why is the 5280 Trail Important for the Downtown Denver Community?

The 5280 Trail is an opportunity to realize ideas and principles born out of individual neighborhood plans and more encompassing citywide plans. The trail builds on these long-held ideas to transition underutilized streets into lively corridors with traffic calming elements that enhance and strengthen neighborhoods by showcasing their local culture, iconic features, architecture, and history. Additionally, the city’s intense urban heat island effect can be addressed through planning and design elements, which also supports Denver’s sustainability goals to improve air quality and mitigate urban environmental issues.


How Can I Stay Engaged?

Beginning in spring 2021, DOTI will kick-off a new series of stakeholder meetings to build on previous community feedback. The public will also be invited to complete concept design surveys and attend community meetings to share their input about the 5280 Trail. More information about upcoming community meetings will be provided, here, on the project’s website and sent to community partners and residents. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, most community meetings will be held virtually until further notice.


Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs from Public Meeting on April 19, 2021

On August 19, 2021, a public meeting was held to update community members on the progress of the 5280 Trail on 21st Street. The project team welcomed questions during the meeting, which are captured below. 

  1. Question: How will the 5280 Trail on 21st Street incorporate the use of alleys?

    Answer: The design team assumes straight through alley access will be provided. Turning movements for large vehicles will be considered, if appropriate. 

  2. Question: How was the Public Space Public Life survey conducted?

    Answer: The Public Space, Public Life survey was conducted in April 2021 to understand how people are using 21st Street today, how they arrive and are welcomed to the corridor as well as how people are invited to stay and/or move through 21st Street. The project team and other volunteers spent two (2) days on 21st Street from 8 am to 8 pm to observe how people were using the space from Coors Field to Benedict Fountain Park. 

  3. Question: Will the shared street option include one-way traffic for cars and provide separation for bicyclists?

    Answer: The shared street option does not restrict traffic flow to one-way and it would not delineate between bikes and cars except for intersections. A similar example of this design can be found on 39th Avenue between Franklin and Williams Street in RiNo. 

  4. Question: How have past pop-up events informed designs for the 5280 Trail on 21st Street?
    Answer: Previous pop-up events demonstrated how these types of events can transform a space like 21st Street into a community asset that everyone enjoys. There have been a lot of lessons learned about how to access event space and provide activities for public enjoyment that are being pulled forward into our current designs. The pop-up park is more like our community park section, which in the trail option, looks to close off traffic. This section would provide more permanent features for events throughout the year with concrete, trees, places for outdoor activities and green infrastructure.

What is the 5280 Trail?

The 5280 Trail will be a five-mile park and urban trail that will circle around Downtown Denver. It will transform underutilized streets into tree-lined places for people of all ages and abilities to walk, roll or bike. The trail will weave through multiple downtown neighborhoods so users can experience a diverse mix of local culture, iconic features, architecture, and history. These connections will create the infrastructure for a healthier and more resilient city.

Who came up with the idea for the 5280 Trail and why?

Initiated by the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP), the 5280 Trail grew out of many years of planning and community outreach efforts by the City and County of Denver and the DDP to build a better, more connected city. The trail will incorporate previous individual neighborhood and citywide plans dating back to 2007 to create a five-mile urban trail around Downtown Denver. The intent of the trail is to connect vibrant and diverse neighborhoods where people can enjoy the city, the outdoors, and one another- together.

More information on the 5280 Trail and its planning history can also be found on the Downtown Denver Partnership’s website.

Why is the trail on 21st Street being designed first?

21st Street has long been identified by the city as a priority green space corridor for people on foot and on bikes. Currently, a majority of 21st Street is utilized for surface parking with about 65% of the street frontage unbuilt. This is an opportunity for Denver and the DDP to reimagine an underutilized shared public space and revitalize the neighborhoods around it.  

The current phase of the project will produce detailed 30% designs based on previous community outreach efforts and a new series of stakeholder meetings that will begin in spring 2021 to help guide implementation.

What neighborhoods are included in the 21st Street Design?

21st Street is a confluence of neighborhood entities including Arapahoe Square, the Ballpark, Five Points, Old San Rafael, Enterprise Hill, Uptown, Welton Corridor, Curtis Park, Capitol Hill, and River North. The corridor extends from the Ballpark to Benedict Fountain Park.

When is construction expected to begin on the 21st Street Trail?

Funding for the next phase of construction is still being identified.

How is this project being funded?

Grants have provided a majority of the funding for the project to date.

What are the health and safety benefits of this project?

Childhood obesity, asthma, and poor mental health rates have remained high over time in Denver, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The 5280 Trail will help alleviate these health risks by providing residents with spaces to engage in physical activity and connect with community members. Furthermore, the design of the 5280 Trial will support Denver’s sustainability goals to improve air quality and mitigate urban environmental issues, by prioritizing tree canopy improvements which will help mitigate the urban heat island effect. In addition, there will also be traffic calming elements incorporated into the trail design to create a safe place for people on foot and bikes to get to where they need to go in this part of town.

How are you gathering community feedback?

A stakeholder advisory committee has been created to support the evolution of the project, which will be made up of residents, business and community leaders, property owners, developers, and advocacy groups to ensure the project is inclusive and equitable. The city is also hosting a listening tour to advance previous conversations with community members and to agree on concept designs for 21st Street.

Additionally, the public will be invited to complete concept design surveys and attend community meetings to share their input about the trail. More information about upcoming community meetings will be shared with community partners and residents as well as uploaded to the project’s website at bit.ly/Reimagine21st. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, community meetings will be held virtually until further notice.

How can I stay engaged and receive project updates?

Updates will be posted on the project’s website at bit.ly/Reimagine21st. You can also find more information on the website about how to participate in upcoming virtual community meetings and find links to concept design surveys once they are posted.