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Denver can certainly lay claim to some unique and yes, sometimes, wacky transportation features. I’ll share some of them in this categorized article. You should know that most of these will be in current or future Wacky Denver listings.
Many folks may not know that Henry Barnes started some traffic innovations right here in Denver. The first is known as the “Barnes Dance”. It’s when at an intersection all traffic lights turn red and pedestrians are given the opportunity to cross at any angle, or even do a little dance if they like.
Barnes also synchronized traffic lights so that if you’re driving at an optimal speed, and traffic allows, you can go through a long string of green signals. If traffic conditions are right, you can still experience this on Speer Boulevard, Broadway, and some other numbered streets downtown.
A less welcome traffic-stopping device was born here in Denver…
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In the shadow of the Wells Fargo building (one of Denver's tallest) is a small park serving as an urban oasis. The Adirondack chairs come with footstools for serious relaxing. One of the things that makes this park unique is that due to the proximity to the skyscraper, it is always shady during the heat of a summer afternoon. To top it all off, there is usually a food truck parked on the street.
I love the varied sounds of a city. These wacky samples are from RTD buses. The first two are announcements from onboard. The automated announcer turns Wynkoop street into a hiccup and Stout sounds like a question being asked with a slight inflection.
Not to be outdone, you can now hear a science-fictiony sound loop emanating from the front of the electric buses on the 16th Street mall. Here's what it sounds like:
The Equitable building in downtown Denver has a beautiful lobby and it's a great example of Renaissance architecture. That alone warrants a visit. But if you look up, way up, to the top of the building you'll see what looks like vomiting (or spitting?) lions. So, look up Denver, you never know what you'll see up there in the sky or on a building.
The Dairy Block was once home to the historic Windsor Dairy. Now it's become a micro-district for food, hotels and shopping. One of the most unique parts of the redevelopment is the alley centered between 18th and 19th and Wazee and Blake. In the alley you'll find cool art installations. Don't miss interacting with Nikki Pike's bronze cast butter churns. When you turn them they come alive with lights and curated music selections(I withheld sharing video/audio here so you can have a fresh experience). If you enjoy a drink with your art, then this alley also is the only place in Denver where you can carry your adult drink between establishments. So...I'll see you cool cats in the alley!
This Winchell's location on Colfax would be just another little retail outlet on a dreary stretch of road expect for the mural: Nothing to see here but a guy with a donut head hanging out by a phone next to a donut shop.
Don't miss this photo op if you happen to be heading down West Colfax. And why might you be doing that? Across the street you'll find World Famous Casa Bonita!
It sounds like the perfect alibi: "That couldn't have been me, I was at Grandma's house" or "You know nothing bad ever happens at Grandma's house". Besides indulging in alibis and irony you can drink beer, play games and join with others in activities such as foul-mouthed cross stitching on Sundays all while surrounded by all the decorations you would find at your grandmothers.
Head down to South Broadway to check out this "totally awesome" shop that is packed with clothes, toys, and fun items from the 1980s. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars figurines, Care Bears - you name it, they've got it!
In what hopefully be an ongoing festival/project, kids from the Five Points area of Denver have recorded poems and stories. When you walk by a tree with a kite and streamers in it a motion activated recording is played. Walk along the east side of 2600 Champa street to hear their authentic, imaginative work.
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!