In RiNo, some owners hope for reopening of block closed to cars since pandemic

Martha Trillo signed a lease for her ice cream shop, Heaven Creamery, on the 2900 block of Larimer Street in Denver before the pandemic hit. The move was motivated by the anticipation of more foot traffic compared to her previous location. However, the pandemic led to the temporary closure of the street by the city, aimed at supporting restaurants and businesses dealing with social distancing measures.

Fast forward three years, and the street in front of Trillo’s shop is still closed, despite the city considering making the closure permanent. While some businesses, like The Block Distilling Co., have found the closure beneficial, others, like Rye Society and Erico Motorsports, feel that their foot traffic and exposure have been negatively impacted.

The RiNo Business Improvement District is leading the charge to make the closure permanent, with support from the RiNo Arts District. Proponents of the closure argue that it fosters a more walkable and bikeable city, and promotes collaborative efforts between small businesses, landowners, and the city. However, critics express concern that the closure primarily benefits a few businesses while creating traffic issues and hindering access for others in the neighborhood.

As the debate over the potential permanent closure continues, it remains to be seen how the block will impact the community and the diverse businesses along Larimer Street in RiNo. The historical significance of the debate lies in the ongoing tension between the desire for vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban spaces and the need for accessibility and exposure for a variety of businesses. Whether a compromise can be reached to address these competing interests remains to be seen.

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