The City of Denver is expanding the areas where pedal cabs can legally operate — just in time for the first pre-season Broncos home game against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, August 13.
The expansion will double the area where pedal cabs are allowed to operate, with an emphasis on Empower Field at Mile High. Pedal cabs will now also be able to operate in the RiNo Art District, Auraria (excluding Auraria Parkway), in the Golden Triangle and through a larger area of Capitol Hill.
According to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, the city decided to expand the areas where pedal cabs can operate because they are small businesses that could use the support, especially as more people return downtown for work and others come to the area for entertainment.
As of February 2019, there were about 350 licensed pedal drivers in Denver doing well in the designated area, according to Eric Escudero, communications manager for the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, but due to the pandemic and 16th Street Mall construction, the number of drivers is dropped to just 63.
The redevelopment of the 16th Street Mall has removed a major corridor where the pedal cabs used to operate. “We’ve been working with them a lot and it was clear they wanted to expand into other areas of the city,” says Vanessa Lacayo, marketing and communications specialist for DOTI. “While we have redevelopment going on along the 16th Street Mall, it made sense to try to help them.”
Denver is seeing more and more visitors, with overnight guests spending more than $1.8 billion on transportation alone in 2021, according to Visit Denver. DOTI wants people to start using pedal cabs, not only to support the people who operate them, but also to reduce car traffic in Denver.
“From a city’s perspective, we’re always looking at different ways to move people in and around the city that don’t involve vehicles,” Lacayo says.
The upcoming Broncos game will be a test run to see how well the pedal cabs perform. With the expansion to Auraria, fans will have the option to park at places like the Ball Arena and take a pedal cab to Empower Field instead of paying for parking at the stadium or taking the light rail farther away.
Pedal cabs are currently banned from the 16th Street Mall at all times, as well as Denver’s Central Business District from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM on weekdays; they are also prohibited on Speer Boulevard, Auraria Parkway, Colfax Avenue, Broadway and Brighton Boulevard.