Is there Rhyme, perhaps even Reason?

Downtown Denver

Downtown Denver

I’ve been here less than a week, and the toughest thing (besides finding gainful employment) has been learning to navigate the city.

I’ve spent the last several months scouring Google Maps, trying to figure out where I was, where Public Transportation is, etc., but of course it’s easier to figure out when you’re actually there. Now, I’m the kind of person who likes rhyme and reason- I love finding patterns to things.

So I was thrilled to find that N-S streets go in alphabetical order. Not so helpful since it repeats, but it’s still a nice little hint to have picked up.

Two questions remain unanswered, however:

  1. What is the order of the state street names?
  2. What is going on with LoDo? Why is it on an angle?

Are there any other sweet patterns that will help getting around this city?

5 Comments so far

  1. gabethexton on August 21st, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

    Not sure of the order of the state street names, but…

    LoDo is where Denver first was, and the streets lined up with the South Platte River, the rest of the city is N/S/E/W like normal.

    Alameda, though not actually centerline (by a block or two), is easy to find and can be used as one. North of it, E-W streets are generally numbered, and South of it the E-W streets are named.

    And my personal tip? Speer and Colfax are your friends, as they are easy to find downtown and get you to 25 fast and easy, I like to think of them as general exit routes.

  2. jbreazeale on August 21st, 2008 @ 8:30 pm

    North/South (from west to east):

    (There are good N/S streets west of these, but this is about as far west as I go.)

    Sheridan or Federal – both good N/S routes. Federal is a much straighter route and a snow route, so usually the traffic is heavy, but flows. Federal can easily take you from 120th Ave. all the way down to Littleton(-ish). Sheridan is a little curvier, but still a good route.

    FYI, Broadway is the center road going N/S. It’s 2 ways through most of town, but coming out of downtown headed south, it’s one way (Lincoln is one block east and handles the north-bound traffic. If you’re coming from the south side of town (Tech Center area), get off I-25 at Lincoln. (No, I don’t know of any rhyme or reason to the order of the president streets, but they’re all pretty close to the downtown core.)

    Colorado Blvd is another important way to go N/S through most of town (from I-70 to I-25 at least, once you get south of I-25 you are getting closer to the Bermuda Triangle known as the Denver Tech Center.) Also, Colorado is a snow route and main bus route, so while traffic may be heavy, it typically moves and the road gets plowed regularly.

    Farther to the east, Havana is another good N/S route. From I-25, Hampden going east makes a turn and becomes Havana which is a pretty major road until you get to Colfax, it skinnies out after that, but will get you all the way up to I-70.

    East/West (starting from the north):
    120th Ave and 104th Ave will take you all the way across town – at least from Westminster/Broomfield (I-36) to Aurora (104th ends at E-470).

    I-70 is a pain, but still the fastest way to get across town (at least if you’re going against traffic.)

    Colfax Ave (15th) is the longest street in America (or something like that.) An entertaining drive, to say the least, and it will take you all the way across town (and then some!) FYI, 14th avenue runs one-way going east and 13th ave runs one way going west – good alternatives if you’re near the city core.

    6th Avenue will take you from Golden to Aurora and the traffic will definitely demonstrate that. It’s a highway from I-25 going west, it’s an "Avenue" going east (so not quite so fast)

    Alameda is (kinda) the center road going E/W (i.e. the first E/W street north of Alameda is 1st, then 2nd…)

    Hampden is another good route (at least going west); again it sees a lot of traffic, but once you get past Colorado it really starts to open up and act more like the highway it is (285).

    (and then you get to the Tech Center, which would be worthy of a post in its own right.)

    Other Streets:
    Finally, don’t forget Speer Avenue when coming or going from downtown to Cherry Creek (it’s a nice quick diagonal). With a couple of wiggles past Cherry Creek, you can get onto Leetsdale, which becomes Parker Road, and head all the way down to Parker. Not super fast, but pretty direct.

    Well, that should be enough for you to chew on for awhile! :)

    Welcome to Denver!

  3. Murphy (murphyla) on August 22nd, 2008 @ 8:31 am

    Here is a simple piece of advice – Get to know the one way streets. A lot of people find them annoying, but I have found that if you know them really well, they can be your best friend when getting around the urban areas of the city.

    One other small note – when you are downtown, the numbered streets are just that 16th Street, 17th street, 18th Street, and so on. But when you are driving down 17th street and heading out of downtown and into uptown, once the you veer back into going straight east (and no longer on the angled downtown streets), the numbered streets turn into avenues – 16th Avenue, 17th Avenue, and 18th Avenue.

  4. James N. Weber (jamesnw) on August 22nd, 2008 @ 12:42 pm

    Wow! Thanks… this is helpful. I’m excited to learn my way around, and you’ve given me a cheat sheet!

  5. John Wilker (den_johnw) on August 22nd, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

    I really hate that with all the words in our language, we (denver/CO) reuse street names so much. 17th ave, st, ln, whatever. Why not just have one 17th? one of my major pet peeves with down town living.

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