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Old 11-10-07, 11:30 AM   #1
Miles2go
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Living and biking in Denver...where to be?

We're thinking of picking up a condo in Denver.

To be specific: We'll be dropping 200K or less on a place and would like light rail service nearby. I've been cruising realtordom dot blah blah and see interesting looking stuff coming up regularly in a number of places like, South Aurora, Littleton, Thorton, Northglenn, Lakewood and so on. For recreational riders and avid bike commuters, what areas should we consider most and why?

Thanks and we look forward to riding with you!
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Old 11-10-07, 01:14 PM   #2
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Denver has 650 miles of bike trails so most areas are reasonable access to commuter routes
over 25,000 people participate in bike to work day
here is a online map
http://www.denvergov.org/Portals/482...keMapPage1.pdf

When I moved to Denver 3 yrs ago
one of the first things I did on my house hunting was stop at REI (or bicycle village or any other bike shop
you can find) and for about $5 pick up hard copy Denver Biking map put out by the Denver bike touring club
www.dbtc.org

Every night after house hunting we'd look up locations of houses we liked on the bike route map.
To me the online map was too cumberson for that task.
(We ended up 1 mile from Bear Creek Trail)

As you go West you'll be getting closer to foothills and front range as you go East you'll
be getting closer to the plains. That said most of the major "River" or "Creek" trails ie: Platte, Bear Creek, Clear Creek, Cherry Creek and Highland Canal are fairly flat. C470 Trail has some hills.

Best of luck you may find like I did the only mistake I made was not moving to greater denver sooner
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Old 11-10-07, 04:20 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tips C D! I happen to have a 2004 edition of that very map that I bought in Morrison. Nancy and I toured from Utah to Denver back then, coming into town on the Bear Creek Trail, over to Cherry Creek and up. It looks like there are nice older homes in the area of TLHU. Too bad we're set on a condo. They're just easier to leave for long periods of time.

It will be around 7 months before we're coming out there. Anyone have an idea what the housing trend is in Denver? Dropping values, holding or on the way up?

Anyone else care to share your thoughts on location?
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Old 11-10-07, 05:23 PM   #4
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Depending on where you have to commute to, have you checked out Golden? Really nice riding around there.
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Old 11-10-07, 07:00 PM   #5
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Depending on where you have to commute to, have you checked out Golden? Really nice riding around there.
I'd actually suggest some place within the City and County before looking at the burbs. There are some advantages. First, Denver secured sources of water 150 years ago and our water rates are low compared to those in the outlying areas. Second, Denver provides sewer and trash service as part of the water bill. We pay around $20 per month for water, sewer and trash. My brother, who lives in the Golden area, pays $60 per month for water and another $30 for trash and another fee (don't know what right now) for sewer. It adds up.

Then there's the amenities. The outlying areas are typical of what you'll find anywhere in the US...lots of corporate food, corporate shopping and, while more bicycle friendly then most places, lots of car attitude. Within the Denver City limits, you'll find more bicycling facilities with easier access, more local small restaurants and better access to transit...whether bus or train.

Downtown Denver isn't like other inner cities I've been to. It's very vibrant. I live only about 3 miles out of Downtown so it's easy to get down there and enjoy everything. And, within my local neighborhood, we have several areas that are growing in popularity with little enclaves of art and shops that just bubble with activity. Housing prices in my neighborhood are getting higher because of this but we are still cheaper than Wash Park or the Cherry Creek area. There are bargains to still be had in this area and there is new building going on in some undeveloped areas around here.

Worth a look.
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Old 11-10-07, 07:35 PM   #6
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Thanks valygrl. I've seen some options within our target range in Golden come and go. This is going to be a scaled back semi-retirement move. In the end we'll probably go where we can get a little more (home wise) for the money.

Thanks cyccommute. Being close to downtown is something we'd like to look into as an option. We've considered it in some other places and this fits into the whole "scaling back" model. Can you post a few zips for the areas you have in mind? It will help optimize the signal to noise ratio in my searches. Thanks for your insight regarding the utilities comparison.

Cheers,
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Old 11-10-07, 07:56 PM   #7
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I'm actually getting ready to move, myself. For carfree and commute options the areas I'm looking at are: Washington Park, Cheeseman Park, and the Baker neighborhood.

All of them are in Denver, in an area with grid streets, and near pretty much everything you could want.

The first two aren't really near the light rail, but they're within a few miles of downtown and the lightrail there (Easily bikeable) (Well... part of the Washington Park area is pretty close to the light rail)

Baker is very walkable/bikeable... stores, restaurants, small theatres are all nearby, and the Alameda light rail station is right there. Very popular area... I'm finding that empty places for rent are few and far between, and the rent is kind of high.

All three neighborhoods are also fairly flat... nothing like being bone tired after a long day at work and having to climb 900 feet from downtown to where I live near Golden. My wife hates riding up the hill after a long bike ride... and I hate having to pay $3 to take the bus 1/4 mile.

The other thing with Golden is that there aren't really any GOOD routes to take to downtown on a daily basis... recreational, sure... but the best routes from Denver-Golden seem to be fairly heavily trafficked during commute times.

On a positive note... the light rail should be out this way in a few years, so if you're looking long term there will be that. (I think it's still 8-10 years out)

Hrmm... you said you're looking for a condo? Not sure if there are many condos in those areas. Lots of condos out here where I'm at, though... I'm on the edge between Lakewood and Golden, off of 6th Avenue and Union Blvd.

I've lived out here for over a year with no car... my biggest complaint is that there aren't any convenience stores really close... It sucks to want a soda in the middle of the night and the nearest place is a mile or so away. (And of course, there's the hills... 378 feet of climbing going to the nearest grocery store and back... about 2.5 miles) And of course the light rail is about a 35-45 minute bike ride away, for now... (Should be about 5 minutes or less when they finally bring it out here)
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Old 11-10-07, 08:49 PM   #8
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Central Denver is really the only place to live, isn't it? ;-)
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Old 11-10-07, 10:03 PM   #9
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Central Denver is really the only place to live, isn't it? ;-)
Washington Park area...awesome!
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Old 11-11-07, 01:21 AM   #10
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I live in the Northern suburbs. The OP mentioned Thornton and Northglen in the original post.
I would steer clear of this area or rank it very low. It is not friendly to cyclists, far from downtown, fairly far away from decent cycling routes, mostly devoid of cyclists (things are much easier where we cluster together ), the light rail won't be here until 2015, mass transit is not very effective here, and a few other complaints.
It is very difficult to go car free in my burbs. It is doable but difficult and I recently gave up on being car lite.
Eventually I plan on moving into one of the areas the other posters have already mentioned.

Now that being said, if you like the standard suburbian lifestyle (1.3 cars to a person, long commutes, more spread out cities, etc) it is a decent place to live. It is fairly easy to escape the city and you can encounter farms and ranches with livestock. Plus, there are decent cycling routes but elsewhere in the city has such a higher number of said routes.

There is my 2 cents.
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Old 11-11-07, 03:48 AM   #11
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Central Denver is really the only place to live, isn't it? ;-)
Hell yes. I live in Capitol Hill (80203) and love it. There are four grocery stores (two Safeways and two King Soopers) within about a mile of my apartment, not to mention anything else I need. As long as you're south of 13th Ave, it's actually pretty quiet and, despite what many people seem to think, it's also quite safe. You'll probably have trouble finding a decent condo for less than $200k, though. Also, Cheesman Park, to the east, and Uptown, to the north, are both nice.
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Old 11-11-07, 07:52 AM   #12
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Other areas to look at would be Erie, Louisville, or Lafayette. Some nice small town amenities and close to lots of good riding. I'd suggest Boulder as my first choice but I'd guess you can't find a $200k condo there anymore...or at least not one that some college kid has trashed and that smells like the devil's grass!
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Old 11-11-07, 08:47 AM   #13
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Other areas to look at would be Erie, Louisville, or Lafayette. Some nice small town amenities and close to lots of good riding. I'd suggest Boulder as my first choice but I'd guess you can't find a $200k condo there anymore...or at least not one that some college kid has trashed and that smells like the devil's grass!
I thought you would be totally right about this, but checked out Realtor.com... there are some condos in boulder in the 200K range. Try not to get in a bidding war with me. ;>
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Old 11-11-07, 11:26 AM   #14
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Thanks for all the info so far and thanks for the zip code IA. I'll have to find a zip code list for the Denver area.

Let's change this up just a bit and let me ask another question that may help me a little.... Here it is:

If you were going to have a 5-10 mile bike commute within greater Denver, where would you most enjoy it? If you have more than one route you really like, please give a little info on all of them. This might be a nice way for me to find out where not to ride, if nothing else.

For a long shot, are any of you in a teaching career (k-12)?

cyccommute, could you give me a zip for where you are talking about? 3 miles outside of downtown covers a lot of area and I don't want to be looking in the "wrong" places; "other side of the tracks" and so on.
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Old 11-11-07, 12:51 PM   #15
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My answer is the southern to central part of my commute.

Downtown to DTC is decent. Especially, the part around Washington Park.
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Old 11-11-07, 07:08 PM   #16
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Thanks valygrl. I've seen some options within our target range in Golden come and go. This is going to be a scaled back semi-retirement move. In the end we'll probably go where we can get a little more (home wise) for the money.

Thanks cyccommute. Being close to downtown is something we'd like to look into as an option. We've considered it in some other places and this fits into the whole "scaling back" model. Can you post a few zips for the areas you have in mind? It will help optimize the signal to noise ratio in my searches. Thanks for your insight regarding the utilities comparison.

Cheers,
My area is 80212. Just to the south is 80211. Both would be good places to start. The Golden light rail line is going to run through the 80216 area. This is a bit rougher area then to the north but not too bad. City Park/Park Hill are becoming very nice areas and the property values are still low.
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Old 11-11-07, 07:10 PM   #17
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cyccommute, could you give me a zip for where you are talking about? 3 miles outside of downtown covers a lot of area and I don't want to be looking in the "wrong" places; "other side of the tracks" and so on.
Sorry. I've been making drawers all weekend. Look at my other post.
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Old 11-11-07, 08:49 PM   #18
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My sister and bro-in-law run a home and Condo building Company near Boulder. It is outside your range but you could at least call the McStain Corp., ask for Carol Hoyt, say I sent you, and ask for her professional advice. yes, my forum name is my real name.
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Old 11-12-07, 01:46 AM   #19
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These are the areas I'm looking at...

Circled areas are:

Blue: Cheeseman Park and neighboring areas (The area west of Cheesman park seems a little nicer... and further from Colfax is better)
Red: Baker Neighborhood
Purple: Washington Park

I know that there are condos for sale in the Cheeseman Park area for < $200,000 no idea what they're like, though.

Not sure about any of the other areas. All seem to be great places to be either car-free or car-light. Lots of stuff to do, nearby stores, etc.

Cherry Creek Bike Path runs along Cherry Creek... parallel to Speer Blvd for the most part... makes for very easy bike access to downtown.

One of the light rail lines runs down I-25 (Well... two, actually... they split up just south of the Broadway station at I-25 and Broadway)
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Old 11-12-07, 05:22 AM   #20
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Neato. Any of those areas would be near my commute. We would need to meet up someday after work.
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Old 11-12-07, 12:07 PM   #21
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These are the areas I'm looking at...

Circled areas are:

Blue: Cheeseman Park and neighboring areas (The area west of Cheesman park seems a little nicer... and further from Colfax is better)
Red: Baker Neighborhood
Purple: Washington Park

I know that there are condos for sale in the Cheeseman Park area for < $200,000 no idea what they're like, though.

Not sure about any of the other areas. All seem to be great places to be either car-free or car-light. Lots of stuff to do, nearby stores, etc.

Cherry Creek Bike Path runs along Cherry Creek... parallel to Speer Blvd for the most part... makes for very easy bike access to downtown.

One of the light rail lines runs down I-25 (Well... two, actually... they split up just south of the Broadway station at I-25 and Broadway)
Your killing me Bri,

When I first moved to Denver I lived across the street from the Gov at 8th and Penn (W. Cheeseman/Gov's), shopping at the Queen Supers, Benny's for breakfast burritos, getting ignored and insulted at Turin Bikes, those were the days.

Then moved to a house on 4th and Pearl (W. Wash Park).

Ahh, youth, wasted on the young.

I guess I missed it, but weren't you moving to the NW?


Oh, and to the OP, while were are 15 years away, our plan is to retire and get a condo on the cherry creek path more SE near Evans and Monaco.

Denver is a great place to live, unless you have school age chidren, then its the suburbs.

But we will be back, someday.
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Old 11-12-07, 01:52 PM   #22
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Denver is a great place to live, unless you have school age chidren, then its the suburbs.

But we will be back, someday.
I'd strongly disagree with this. I love that my child's DPS classroom is a true representation of the world we live in rather than the homogeneous atmosphere at most of my suburban friend's schools. Diversity and an "excellent" rating from the Dept of Edu. makes it a great place for us. That said, every district has issues of one kind or another and ultimately every family makes the choice that works best for their own personal situation.

But this is about living and biking...not schools. The suburbs scare me...can't help it
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Old 11-12-07, 02:03 PM   #23
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I live in Parker. 80134

http://www.parkeronline.org

An example of some of our activites and local culture:

Town of Parker News
Join us for the Parker Christmas Carriage Parade on Dec. 8!
The Town of Parker and the Colorado Driving Society will kick off the holidays in Parker with the long-awaited Christmas Carriage Parade on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. The Christmas Carriage Parade is a Parker tradition that has evolved into a Town staple.

Join the Town for the Mayor’s Annual Tree Lighting on Nov. 23
Join the Town and kick off the holiday season at the Mayor’s Annual Tree Lighting Event on Nov. 23 at 5 p.m. in O’Brien Park. Girl Scout Troop 848 will serve festive treats including Sinton’s Dairy Eggnog, hot chocolate and cookies from Parker’s own Posh Pastries. Event-goers may also enjoy the Lion’s Club’s Walking Chili as they await the spectacular lighting of the holiday display in O’Brien Park.

Kidz Kulture! Presents Native American Flute Nov. 17
Kids and parents, plan to join the Parker Cultural Commission, Parker Library and the Parker Artist’s Guild on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. when Kidz Kulture! presents Native American Flute. Kidz Kulture! is held at the Parker Mainstreet Center, 19650 E. Mainstreet.

Skate Park community involvement process continues Nov. 15
A follow up meeting to solicit community feedback on Parker’s proposed skate park is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Parker Fieldhouse. Over 80 young people attended the meeting on the subject on Oct. 30. The Town is confident that the participants’ energy and vision will be evident as the design of Parker’s newest park evolves.



I am right on the Cherry Creek South MUP, and ride it daily.

I walk (or bike) to the store, restaurants, etc., etc. Or, I can bike to just about anyplace in the metro area.

We have a nice "Community Feeling" with Sunday activities in our local park, and an annual bike race, etc., etc.

There are some nice condos just north of where I live starting at $140,000, and they actually front the bike path.

Don't disregard the "burbs." Especially Parker.

Within just a few miles we have:

Just 18 rideable miles down the Cherry Creek Trail - Castlewood Canyon State Park -- Steep canyons, a meandering stream, a waterfall, lush vegetation, and considerable wildlife distinguish this 2,000-acre park. You can see the remains of Castlewood Canyon Dam, which was built for irrigation in 1890; it collapsed in 1933, killing two people and flooding the streets of Denver. The park, 30 miles south of Denver on Colo. 83, east of Castle Rock in Franktown, provides picnic facilities and hiking trails. The entrance is at 2989 S. State Hwy. 83; admission is $5 per vehicle. Call tel. 303/688-5242 for more information.

Chatfield State Park Rideable from out my back door - -- Sixteen miles south of downtown Denver on U.S. 85 in Littleton, this park occupies 5,600 acres of prairie against a backdrop of the steeply rising Rocky Mountains. Chatfield Reservoir, with a 26-mile shoreline, invites swimming, boating, fishing, and other watersports. The area also has 18 miles of paved bicycle trails, plus hiking and horseback-riding paths. In winter, there's ice fishing and cross-country skiing. The park also has a hot-air-balloon launch pad, a radio-controlled model aircraft field, and a 21-acre man-made wetlands area.

Cherry Creek State Park --Six rideable miles up the road. The 880-acre Cherry Creek Reservoir, created for flood control by the construction of a dam in 1950, is the central attraction of this popular park, which draws 1.5 million visitors each year. Located at the southeast Denver city limits (off Parker Rd. and I-225) about 12 miles from downtown, the park encompasses 4,200 acres in all.

Watersports include swimming, water-skiing, boating, and fishing. There's a nature trail, dog-training area, model-airplane field with paved runways, jet-ski rental facility, rifle range, pistol range, and trap-shooting area. Twelve miles of paved bicycle paths and 12 miles of bridle trails circle the reservoir (horse rentals are available). Rangers offer guided walks by appointment, as well as evening campfire programs in an amphitheater. In winter, there's skating, ice fishing, and ice boating.

The Cherry Creek Trail - bordered by open space on both sides, now goes 20 miles south to Castlewood Canyon State Park, along with feeder trails, etc.

A new area under construction, the Reuter-Hess dam and recreation area, abour 5,000 acres with trails around it - there will be a trail, now under construction, from my back yard to this area.

Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield.

Waterton Canyon - a beautiful canyon through which the Platte River flows.

Access to the 66 mile long HIghline Canal from the Cherry Creek Trail through Cherry Creek State Park.

The Willow Creek Trail, which also joins the Highline Canal Trail through the Little Dry Creek Trail.

Soon there will be a cross county trail from I-25 through Parker.

Oodles of Open Space provided by Douglas County, including the new Hidden Mesa Open Space - 1,500 acres just down the trail about 10 miles from my house, with a technical mtn bike trail..

Here is a map. My house is marked.


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Old 11-12-07, 02:41 PM   #24
celticfrost
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Downtown: I live here (when not on the road for work) and love it: close to anything and everything that Denver offers as a city as well as a few blocks from REI and where the Cherry Creek & Platte River trails converge. Zip code = 80202, tons of condos.
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Old 11-12-07, 04:09 PM   #25
Miles2go
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Thanks for the visual bmclaughlin807. (Why didn't I think of that?)
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I've seen mention of "Evans and Monaco" a few times in my research thus far. Does this area have a noteworthy attribute, be it social or cycling related?
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Quite the sell on Parker (neon lights and all) but we'll likely pass, though time will tell. Our current plan is, if not living in the city itself, to be no more than 10ish miles out, along a nice bike route (MUP or otherwise) that leads into town.
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celticfrost - 80202 looks like a cool place to be but I'm not finding anything on realtor dot com for less than about 400K (dropping the first couple of below average listings). For us to spend that, it wouldn't be much of a retirement. Meaning I'd probably need to get a real paying job.
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ummbnb - My wife happens to be an elementary school teacher and part of this adventure will be her quest to find a teaching position that she enjoys as much as the one she has here.
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