Thursday, March 24, 2011

TWIA: This Week in Auroraghetto (and East Denver)

Last night, 5 people were shot in a dispute in an apartment complex just down the road in East Denver -- as in, like a mile to the west, next to the cemetery my wife and I run past, right next to the HCT.

Rationally, I largely agree with this statement by a resident:
He said the neighborhood is usually pretty quiet.

"You have your neighborhood disputes and everything, but other than that, no cops,"

Kind of an isolated incident, right?

Except for the fact that on Sunday, 3 car thieves and police had a shootout in Aurora, leading to an injury and a death. This is just off of the HCT in Aurora, where my wife and I rode bikes earlier that day.

But at least those guys were caught and it was a targeted situation, right?

Last week Thursday, after fleeing police, a man broke into an apartment and cowardly held a family of four (including mom and 2 kids) hostage. Fortunately, they escaped injury. He was killed by police, and a cop was wounded. This is on one of my routes to school.

Well, that's what happens when you live in the city. You can always live in the 'gentrified' suburbs, and pass through safely in your car...right?

Last week Monday, in Aurora (again on one of my routes to school) another coward fleeing police took 2 people hostage (including a woman) in their car. Again, fortunately, they escaped unscathed, but two officers were shot before this guy was shot and killed by police.


I forced myself into these stories a bit to tie it loosely to running, but I've passed by all of these places dozens of times on foot or bike. I have some thoughts which I need to organize on some ideas and policy shortcomings, but also (as many have predicted) how it's going to be a hell of a summer.


  1. Mike - Yegads. I hope you will move anyway. Fewer hours near violence still means less of a chance.

    In Buffalo I lived in a usually quiet neighborhood with great neighbors, all blue-collar. But streets got worse as you went south, and gangs were starting to come around. One day the teenage (16?) gang-banger boyfriend of the young (probably underage) girl upstairs blew the side door of the house off, I'm assuming because things went south. I left that month. I didn't go to school there, but it actually was a student neighborhood near the UB south campus.

    Regarding policy, my take is that governments of the world need to stop re-living the history of Prohibition. Now, while we still have countries and cities left.

  2. Hey Mike. I'm gonna be at a conference down there in the city next week and was hoping for some early morning runs along the HCT. It will be dark when I start since conference starts at 8 each day. My closest access will be Expo Park in Aurora (about 6 miles from my hotel). Am I crazy?

  3. Thanks guys, we're definitely moving when our lease is up! It's still not horrible, what I've been thinking about is how 'safe' places with infrastructure can inspire an active lifestyle and alternative transportation, and you might keep it with you when you move or travel...but if you *only* ever had access to so-so infrastructure, you're not going to develop those habits. Also, it makes me wonder about whether better infrastructure improves an impoverished area, or vice-versa: which direction to tackle the problems? It is clear and obvious how some areas are better than others...and how much it has to do with money.

    Rob, sorry to hear that =), where are you staying? I've run anywhere btwn 5a and midnight on HCT and never had any real problems, I should make that clear: these issues are right off the trail. It's just unfortunate that the concept of a 'long run' is vastly different in a city where people avoid specific blocks.

    But I live about a mile west of Expo park, that's definitely on my route -- happy to meet up and/or share suggestions!

  4. Yikes! Good that you are moving though. Are you still thinking of moving closer to the Boulder area?

  5. I'll be at the Denver Rennaisance hotel Tuesday afternoon until Thursday. It's on Quebec just south of I-70. I saw that the HCT was not too far from there, but might be easiest to drive over to Expo Park and go from there. If you're up for it, Expo Park at 5am Wed and/or Thurs? Or maybe you have better suggestions. I would need to get back to the hotel by 7:30.

  6. "We're definitely moving when our lease is up!" Ugh, I don't like how I wrote that initially, because it's easy to just pick and and move like we planned, but that's not really a solution. It's sad because there are pockets of community and great little ethnic areas, punished by some massive problems by a few people. I waiver on wanting to help figure out solutions, and just giving up. And I'm mostly distraught at the continued collective shrug at this violence and inability to do anything -- recent reactions in Boulder, for example, are much stronger for a very unfortunate but isolated incident. Here, it's kind of 'accepted' that these things happen.

    mtnrunner2: "Governments of the world need to stop re-living the history of Prohibition" -- agreed, though my opinion has gotten more pessimistic. I no longer truly believe these are acts of desparation, which would be arguably rational (if someone were hungry, needing basics, or had a drug dependency): there's a strong and sad perpetual culture of violence that's more complicated than I initially thought.

  7. Nick: Looking to move to Longmont/Broomfield/Lafayette area, or west denver foothills, or possibly FtC depending on real estate situations. Kind of a lot of options, but generally "West" while being able to access CU Boulder and possibly Denver via RTD.

  8. Rob: I'd be able to meet you Thurs AM if you're up for it. Expo park is a good option close to my house, as are trails near your hotel (as it's somewhat close to school).

    My best general suggestions are actually very close to your hotel: Sand Creek trail. It's unheralded and I need to bring a camera someday, but there is actual singletrack(!) near the Bluff Lake area. That is, if you head North and catch the trail, then head east, it's some of the best stuff up to Star K Ranch. You have either singletrack/horse trails, or gravel. That's where I run at lunch breaks at school, practicing minimal technical running on discarded concrete and rebar that line the creekside!

    If you head further East, then you can hit the HCT, and it's decent out there, some minor singletrack near Delaney Farm...then it's best to stay south on Toll Creek to Horseshoe and Olympic Parks.

    Otherwise, or in addition, starting from Expo (or south), big loop runs (exactly 20 miles) go South and make a loop on some good dirt at Cherry Creek SP:
    Of course, this can be shortened/altered, the unfortunate point is that it's a lot of work to get to the best ~50 minutes or so of running in the park.

  9. Yeah, plenty of options on where to live. I know a number of folks who live in Louisville/Superior and like it. Seems like it is mostly a tradeoff of price vs. convenience (work & play).

    Not sure how frequently you are in Boulder but if you ever want to get out for a run when you are here let me know.

  10. Mike, thanks for the tips. It turns out that I will be driving down from the Fort each day so gonna have to pass on my Auroraghetto trail run. Hopefully hit some "real" trails with you soon.

  11. Thanks Nick, I'll let you know when the semester is done in May and we move closer -- definitely looking to get out on those trails more in the summer! Hope school's going well for you!

    Rob, too bad, but I still recommend if you get a lunch break if nothing else to check out any of the trails if you're in the area.

  12. Funny you should mention it...I'm defending on Thursday ;) I have a two year postdoc fellowship at NCAR so will still be in the area