Many Denver residents (and even Vita agents) come to the city from DC, New York and other urban centers where driving isn’t a requirement. In fact, some of our clients don’t even know how to drive. Others may just want to avoid the traffic and high cost or hassle of parking in the city.
Taking into account that less than 10 percent of households are car-free, it’s not surprising that the prospect could cause some anxiety.
But getting around Denver without a car is actually easier than most people think. Here’s how.
Guide to car-free living
Option 1: Use public transit
Sometimes overlooked but very much present is the RTD (regional transit system). With buses and light rail lines sprawling all around the metro area, including a direct line to the airport from our home, it is a powerful, eco-friendly way to get around. Smaller networks such as the free Mall Ride are another great option for getting around. If used effectively, RTD can easily get you from Point A to Point B. However, do plan a little if you’re going to be using public transit.
- Download RTD’s transit app.
- Learn your route and alternative routes.
- Buy a pass (daily or monthly).
- Allow extra time for your trips and transfers.
Option 2: Embrace walking
The key to getting around the Mile High City without a car is to create a life where you don’t need one. If living downtown, you can easily walk to Whole Foods, a CVS, and plenty of restaurants.
For shorter trips (under two miles) sometimes it’s just faster to walk than take public transit or battle rush hour.
If you plan on living further out there are many areas right outside of downtown Denver such as Sloan’s Lake, Arvada, Belmar, Cherry Creek and the Highlands which are embracing walkable concepts. They are also close to transit options.
Not sure what neighborhood is best for you? Contact us.
Option 3: Use Lyft or Uber
For those times when a short trip requires a vehicle, there’s always Uber or Lyft. Depending on the distance for where you need to go it may even be cheaper than the gas/parking you would typically need.
Option 5: Utilize car sharing or car rentals
Sharing a car among members of a group, also known as car sharing, has grown in popularity in the last few years in Denver and around the country.
In general, members of car share programs rent a shared vehicle, typically located via an app, for a short term — by the minute or by the hour — and can return the vehicle to a dedicated parking spot, or in some cases park the vehicle at any open, legal parking spot on a public street.
In Denver, there are six primary companies: Car2Go, Zipcar, Enterprise Car Share, Maven and eGo Car Share, that collectively put more than 550 shared vehicles on the city’s streets.
That isn’t even taking into account the Hertz, Avis, Enterprise and other car rental agencies available at the airport and throughout the metro. Turo, an AirBnB-like app for car rentals, is also available.
Option 6: Carpool
If you have to be at an office and can’t get there on public transit, see if you can take turns carpooling with coworkers who live nearby. The same thing applies for going out with your friends.
Option 7: Bike
Hundreds of miles of dedicated bike paths weave throughout Denver (so it’s no surprise that the city is one of the country’s fittest).
Don’t have a car? No problem. There are several bike-sharing programs – the most prominent being Denver B-Cycle, a non-profit sponsored by the city. Each of the sturdy, three-speed, bright red Trek bikes comes with a wire basket, built-in light, and lock. Passes can be purchased at any B-cycle station. For further details, call 720-865-BIKE.
Dock-free rentals are also popping up throughout the city, with LimeBike being the largest currently.
Option 8: PEDI-CABS
PEDI-cabs, sometimes called rickshaws, pedal-cabs, or bike-taxis, are mountain-bike-style tricycles with passenger bucket seats. They are the abundant around downtown and LoDo, especially on any football or baseball game days. Mile High Pedicabs is the oldest fleet with prices averaging $2 per city block.
Ultimately choosing how you get where you need to go completely up to you. But by embracing all options its possible you might appreciate and explore the city in a new way.