Thursday, August 21, 2008

Denver: Ready for the Democrats

On a recent trip to Denver, all I can say is that I really blew it. I made my reservations without checking the calendar closely. I went to Denver the week before the Democratic Convention. I missed all of the action, the Democratic Party dignitaries, and Obama's great stadium speech! Oh, well. I did enjoy my trip to Denver and a visit with my four cousins who live in the area.

I had a wonderful hike in the red rocks area (above). I also enjoyed hiking around downtown Denver. On the Thursday before the convention started, the city was all dressed up for the big show. The gardens around the state capitol building were breathtaking (bottom). I enjoyed the public art-- especially the giant blue bear looking into the convention center window. I wonder what he thought of the speeches?

What really impressed me about downtown Denver was the transportation system. I was staying with my cousin who lives south of town in the suburbs. She suggested we talk the light rail train into downtown. We parked at a free lot not far from her house and took a 15-20 minute train trip into the heart of downtown. The ticket was $3.50 round trip, and the price included transfers to buses and other trains downtown. The park and ride lots in the suburbs were free, but the lots downtown were $8-10 per day. Great pricing structure to encourage ridership. The trains were clean and fast.

The light rail took us right past the convention center and dropped us off at the 16th Street Mall (below). When my cousin first talked about this, I thought it was just a mall, but no, it was a long strip of shops and businesses on an open air pedistrian mall. Only pedistrians, the light rail line, and bicycles are allowed on this strip. Very nice, well-planned, well-excuted. All I can say is: Tucson, what are we waiting for?

On the way back to the burbs at rush hour, it was standing room only. Denver has 6 or so lines now. A light rail line from Colorado Spring to Denver and a line to the new Denver airport are being planned. A line to the airport is a great idea since it is way the heck out of town. For more pictures of Colorado, check out my Flickr site.

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