July 12, 2023

5280 Rolling Rendezvous Recap

If you were in the Golden Triangle neighborhood on Bike to Work Day on June 28th, you might have heard music floating over the treetops or witnessed a colorful trail painted on Acoma Street filled with bikers and families enjoying the summer evening.

This was the 5280 Rolling Rendezvous, an event organized by the Downtown Denver Partnership and a group of passionate community members in celebration of the future footprint of the 5280 Trail. The celebration came at a significant moment for the 5280 Trail project, which has seen growing momentum and community support over the last few years, and received funding through the 2021 RISE General Obligation Bond to begin development on Acoma Street.

If you’re not familiar with the project, the 5280 Trail is envisioned as a transformative urban trail and linear park that would connect people and link the vibrant and diverse neighborhoods of downtown Denver. Decades of community input and planning have created the vision for this (roughly) 5.280 mile continuous pedestrian and cycling connection through our center city, which would repurpose underutilized city streets into a space for active transportation, recreation, green space, and community gatherings. The 5280 Trail seeks to connect Downtown’s unique and diverse amenities, while creating a powerful sense of place within vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods in the center city. It is envisioned as a place to connect with your neighbors and the outdoors, and explore downtown’s most historic and unique communities.

The first section of the trail to receive funding is the two blocks of Acoma Street between 10th and 12th Ave where the 5280 Rolling Rendezvous celebration took place. It is here that we can begin to see the 5280 Trail come to life with art, activity, and fun:

  • Street closures and block parties like the 5280 Rolling Rendezvous are common on these two blocks.
  • Local business owners and residents in the neighborhood have shown support for the Trail and participated in community visioning sessions organized by the City and Golden Triangle 5280 Trailblazers group, a collection of local bike advocates, residents, business owners, and supporters of the 5280 Trail.
  • The historic Evans School Building is in the process of being redeveloped, with the 5280 Trail on Acoma Street featuring heavily in their plans to activate the groundfloor and podium in front of the building with an open-air wine garden and other activations.
  • The Golden Triangle Neighborhood Plan by the City and County of Denver envisions this stretch of Acoma as a Neighborhood Greenway and “slow street” that prioritizes active transportation and has space for programmed activities like art festivals and farmers markets.

To continue building momentum for the 5280 Trail, the Downtown Denver Partnership recently took a group of nearly 50 community members to Indianapolis to experience the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a world-class example of an urban linear park which has served as inspiration for the 5280 Trail. The trip was part of DDP’s inaugural City Scout Program, and participants represented a cross section of public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders. All were there for the same reason: to be inspired through firsthand experience of an urban trail and linear park, and to bring concrete takeaways back to Denver to inform planning processes surrounding the 5280 Trail.

As a natural follow-up to their trip to Indianapolis, participants of the City Scout program called for more gatherings in Denver to continue their education and momentum-building around the Trail. The Downtown Denver Partnership organized a group bike ride of the 5280 Trail and formed a task force that included dedicated City Scout participants to plan an event on Acoma Street to celebrate the future home of the 5280 Trail. Thus, the 5280 Rolling Rendezvous on Bike to Work Day was born.

After five weeks of planning and community collaboration, what transpired at the 5280 Rolling Rendezvous was nothing short of magical. Over 600 people came out to enjoy the summer evening under the shade of the urban canopy on Acoma Street. The crowd was a mix of Bike to Work Day participants, neighborhood residents, local businesses, City Scout participants, Downtown Denver Partnership members, and others who were curious about the street closure and wanted to join the party. Many supporters of the 5280 Trail showed up to celebrate, including Denver City Councilman Chris Hinds, Wynkoop Brewing Company, the Curious Theatre Company, Denver Streets Partnership, Lyft, and a long list of companies and individuals who have been involved with 5280 Trail vision plans for many years. And the Evans School was even able to test their wine garden concept. Based on survey results collected during the event, 84% of attendees traveled to the event via bike, foot, or wheelchair. Two-thirds of attendees had heard of the 5280 Trail prior to the event, and one-third of attendees learned about it for the first time during the event. All came away with smiling faces and an interest in making the vision for the 5280 Trail and Acoma Street Improvement Project a reality.

If you are also interested in getting involved, please visit the 5280 Trail website and follow along on the city project page as the City and County of Denver implements the RISE Denver GO Bond package which allocates $7 million in funding for development of the 5280 Trail on Acoma Street.