Where the Cherry Creek Trail Heads – And Why – 9News.com KUSA | Gmx Pharm

Part of the trail deviates from the scenic route, and Coloradans have a country club to thank.

DENVER — Cyclists and pedestrians navigating Denver’s Cherry Creek Trail are faced with a strange permanent detour near the Denver Country Club.

While the bike path runs all the way up Cherry Creek from the confluence of the Platte River near downtown, the path branches off from the creek near Downing Street.

This sends riders and joggers onto a smaller sidewalk that runs along 1st Avenue next to the Denver Country Club. The trail later rejoins the creek after clearing the Denver Country Club lot behind University Boulevard.

“This is something I’ve noticed for years and it bothers me,” said Denver Post columnist Megan Schrader.

She tweeted a suggestion last month that the city of Denver should consider completing the trail along the creek, at least in part, through the Denver Country Club.

“In all the planning documents of the city [The Cherry Creek Trail is] described as an emerald gem stretching from the city to Franktown,” Schrader said. “It should be on the city’s long-term prognosis to use this advantage wisely.”

The Denver Country Club was founded in 1922, according to the Denver Public Library’s Western History Collection. The Cherry Creek Trail was designed in the 1970’s and built years later.

Fred Wolfe drew plans for the trail as part of Denver’s 1972 bike lane plan, which included what is now the Cherry Creek Trail through the city. He said going through the country club wasn’t really an option.

“We looked at what our options were,” said Wolfe, who is now retired. “We would have to cut the fence, which would have been a safety issue for the Denver Country Club, and they certainly wouldn’t approve of that.”

The man who designed Denver’s “Bike Superhighway.”

Wolfe was hired by the city in 1971 as part of a team of planners working specifically to prepare Denver to host the 1976 Olympics. But after a campaign to keep the games out of Colorado, which Wolfe admits he voted for, he was asked to create a cycling plan for the city.

“The mayor was under pressure [William] McNichols then,” he said. “There were a lot of people who showed up at his office in the morning and said, ‘Wait a minute. We ride bikes, we don’t pollute anything. We don’t take up much space. Why don’t you provide us with facilities?’”

Wolfe said he was the only person in the office who commuted to the office by bike every day. His boss asked him to work on a project to draw up a cycling plan for the city, something most major cities didn’t have at the time. He says after he drafted the plan, other cities tried to copy Denver’s blueprint for building bicycle infrastructure.

Part of this plan was to build a wide bike path along Cherry Creek, which was then overgrown with weeds. He recalls taking a Denver Post columnist on a hike from the area near REI to Downing to show her what he thinks might be the trail. She wrote about his vision, which later became a reality.

According to Wolfe, the original plans estimated the trail would cost about $750,000 per mile to build, an estimate Wolfe says the mayor rejected at the time. Years later, the trail was built and cost nearly $1 million a mile, he said.

Could Denver build the path through the Denver Country Club?

Wolfe said the trail’s current configuration, which avoids the Denver Country Club, is the best trail.

“They would have to put up a fence on both sides of the creek from Downing to 1st Avenue,” he said. “Which would really not look good at all on this golf course from an aesthetic point of view.”

Schrader said the city should consider a better option for commuters over the next 10 years.

“I don’t want to be unreasonable,” she said. “The Denver County Club for those who are members of this private organization is probably very, very nice. But certainly we can find a compromise that is better than what we currently have.”

The Denver Country Club did not respond to a request for comment about this story.

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