New barrier along Cherry Creek bike path creating concerns for homeless

DENVER -- Flashing construction lights and a concrete mixer aren't exactly the sights cyclists expect to see while riding along the Cherry Creek bike path.

Several of Denver's homeless residents were even less excited to see them.

"It's frustrating. I'm kind of upset about it," said a woman named Susan.

The unusual sights were part of a construction project. On Monday, the city built a barrier off Sixth Avenue and Speer Boulevard running to Cherry Creek.

The city said the barrier is an effort to protect trees and the natural landscape from degradation, as well as vandalism to the irrigation.

But advocates for the homeless say it's also forcing them to look for a new place to store their belongings.

"There's a big storage issue. That's an issue for a lot of people who are homeless," said Nathan Woodliff-Stanley with the ACLU of Colorado. "It seems pretty clear it's a place where people who are homeless have been storing possessions and they want to move that out."

The city said the area has seen a rise in vandalism, broken sprinklers and trash accumulation, also pointing out similar barriers have been established elsewhere along the trail.

"That's one of the problems with a move-along strategy. If you move people from one place they're going to move some place else," Woodliff-Stanley said.