Sunday, July 18, 2010

Denver Street Opened

First there was Seoul Street, then Tokyo Street, now Ulaanbaatar has Denver Street. That’s right, another Sister City has renamed a street in Ulaanbaatar given it a makeover. This time the city of Denver, USA has gotten into the act.

Unlike Seoul Street and Tokyo Street, which existed before but were spruced up and renamed, Denver Street was created from scratch. A brand spankin’ new stretch of asphalt - a rare but appreciated phenomenon in Ulaanbaatar.

The street occupies the west bank of the Selbe River between Big Ring Road and Zaluuchuudin Ave. In other words, it runs from the US embassy south to the next to the next cross street. It does not continue down the Selbe River to link up with Peace Avenue, which would have been helpful from a traffic point of view, but instead veers onto Zaluuchuudin Street near the Orchlon School.

Formerly a patch of waste ground its now a two-way street with sidewalks, streetlights and benches. But it does not look finished. The street has no trees, no playgrounds, no parks. Not even a sign announcing ‘Welcome to Denver Street’ or some such. It’s pretty much just a street like any other street in UB. Although in fairness the city of Denver tells me (by email) that more improvements are planned for the area. It’s still a work in progress. We’ll just have to wait and see what they do.

The street does have the potential for improvement but there is just one problem – the location. Pedestrians are a rare sight here. Some motor traffic uses it but probably the biggest beneficiaries are people going to and from work at the US embassy (and Lao embassy next door). If the street is meant to improve the urban experience for ordinary citizens of UB, some more work is needed.

Hopefully in the future the road will be extended south to link up with Peace Ave and then continue south to meet the recently built road the runs down to Narny Zam. If done right, it could be a nice area for walkers, joggers and bikers. A bit more green space would attract picnickers and park-goers. This street is worth watching and in time, with some more effort, might just become a new UB landmark.

What would you like to see added to Denver Street? Please add your comments below and they will passed along to the powers that be in Denver. 

Here are some pix of the new street...

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