RiNo’s car-free outdoor dining area on the 2700 block of Larimer Street has reopened to traffic

If you liked it, don’t blame the city!

Kyle Harris/Denverite

Earlier in the pandemic, sections of Larimer Street were closed to traffic to create space for eating, drinking, listening to music and more.

Gwen Campbell, co-owner of Larimer Lounge, said the outdoor space in the 2700 block of Larimer, between 27th and 28th streets, was one of the reasons her club remained open through the city and town shutdowns. the COVID-19 state that banned people from going indoors to concerts and bars.

“The patios were a lifeline for us to survive the pandemic,” she said.

But now the outdoor dining area has been dismantled and the road has been returned to drivers.

This surprised some Denver residents who had enjoyed drinking in the middle of the road or riding bikes, scooters and walks through Larimer without dodging vehicles.

Denverite Alex Nelson contacted the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to ask “Why did this go?” »

Turns out, reopening Larimer Street to cars wasn’t a city decision.

“RINO’s complete closure of this stretch of Larimer is still permitted as part of the temporary outdoor dining program put in place during the pandemic,” DOTI spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn said.

This means that if the River North Business Improvement District wants to renew its temporary permit to take over the street, which expires on October 31, it can.

Why temporary?

Denver is currently developing an Outdoor Places program that would allow outdoor dining spaces to be permanent.

The neighborhood food and beverage companies were the ones that wanted the cars back on Larimer Street.

“We felt it was time to reopen the street,” Campbell said. “There are a few new businesses on the block that didn’t have patios, and a few businesses needed better access for their customers, like Redeemer Pizza and Rocketspace.”

In recent weeks Campbell has been busy selling some of the Larimer Lounge picnic tables as they are no longer needed at the club.

For Denverians looking for a place to hang out in the middle of the street in the neighborhood, they’ll need to head to the 29th block of Larimer, where the road is still closed.

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