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FasTracks Progress: Commuter Rail Trains Arrive!

At the beginning of the month, RTD announced they were going to have a commuter rail train on display at Denver Union Station. I missed the window to tour the inside of the train however, it is still parked at the station.

The pictures are pretty self explanatory so without further ado, here is RTD and Denver’s new Silverliner V parked at Denver Union Station!

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Looking a little bit north, the catenary overhead wire system is starting to take shape. Because of the heavier gauge trains, the overhead wire system also substantially larger than what we are used to seeing on the lightrail system. Personally, I have a thing for overhead wires and find this to be an amazing sight.

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As a bonus, the Amtrak was pulling in just as I was getting ready to move on.

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Because the commuter rail lines are still under construction, it’s a rare sight to see two trains parked under the canopy. What a treat!

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Before you know it, 2016 will be here and Denver Union Station will be busy with commuters and visitors!


Please Contribute to Scholarship Fund for CU Denver Planning Students

In honor of Giving Tuesday, please take this opportunity to support the Adrienne Balsover Sustainability Scholarship Fund to establish an endowed scholarship program for incoming graduate students studying sustainable planning in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program in the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver. The fund will be used to recruit the best and brightest students of diverse backgrounds to the planning profession to study sustainable planning at CU Denver. As many of you know, I teach full-time in the MURP program and your contribution to this scholarship fund will help us continue to bring top-notch students to Denver to study urban planning and to improve the Denver region through their passion and enthusiasm for building strong sustainable communities.

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Last year, a $10,000 gift from the Golden Rule Foundation established the fund, and through the end of 2014 the Foundation has offered to match gifts for the scholarship to help meet a goal of $25,000 to endow the scholarship so that it can benefit MURP students in perpetuity. With the fund balance now around $15,000, we need to raise only $5,000 between now and December 31 to meet this goal!

Click the link below to make an important contribution to the future of Colorado’s only graduate planning program!

http://www.cufund.org/giving-opportunities/fund-description/?id=16142


Denver Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee Seeking Applicants

By Jill Locantore, WalkDenver Policy and Program Director

Would you like to help guide the development of the Denver Moves Pedestrian Plan?

2015 will be an important year for walkability in Denver. In addition to making major investments in multimodal infrastructure along key corridors such as Brighton Boulevard, the City will be developing a new Denver Moves Pedestrians Plan that will establish walkability goals and set implementation priorities for years to come. You have the opportunity to participate in these activities by applying to become a member of the new Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

If you’d like to become a member of the Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee and help make Denver more walkable, complete this application and return it to Anthony Aragon at anthony.aragon@denvergov.org by close of business, Friday, December 19, 2014.

Below is more information from the City and County of Denver about the opportunity. We hope you will apply!

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Purpose: The Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee (MPAC) advises the Mayor on all matters regarding the pedestrian experience as it relates to transportation and recreation.

Following are the critical issues the committee will be advising and helping to inform the Mayor over the next two years:

  • Review of the existing 2004 Pedestrian Master Plan
  • Denver Moves Pedestrian Plan
  • Prioritization of identified pedestrian projects
  • Development of street guidelines

The Pedestrian Advisory Committee is specifically looking for individuals with the following backgrounds and experience:

  • Geographic Representation – a citizen from each Council District
  • Older Adult Representation
  • Person with Disabilities Representation
  • Youth Representation – Grade 9 through 12
  • Transit Organization
  • Business Community
  • Healthy Lifestyle – Wellness & Prevention
  • Pedestrian Interest Group(s)
  • Parents/Teachers Association
  • Higher Education Institution

Length of term:  Two-year terms which may be renewed up to a maximum of three times pending reappointment by the Mayor.

Meetings and time commitment:  Expect four to five hours per month.

  • MPAC meets monthly for approximately 90 minutes
  • MPAC sub-committees meet approximately 10 times per year for approximately 90 minutes
  • MPAC members may be asked to attend other community meetings, site visits and related meetings

How to apply:  Interested applicants should complete this application and return to Anthony Aragon at anthony.aragon@denvergov.org by close of business, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014.  


Crowdfunding a New Protected Bike Lane on Arapahoe Street

By Peter Bird

At the Downtown Denver Partnership’s October Member Forum, the DDP announced an exciting new project on Arapahoe Street. Following a few temporary projects on that street—and supporting the larger Denver Moves Plan—they will be implementing a permanent protected bike lane.

Here is an image of the prospective bike lane provided by Alta Planning + Design:

Proposed protected bike lane on Arapahoe Street

The lane will extend along Arapahoe from Broadway to Speer, and will serve as a vital bicycle avenue through downtown—and through a thriving business district. However, the most novel aspect of this project is not necessarily its design or planning, but its funding structure. The DDP already secured $85,000 from the Gates Family Foundation as well as $35,000 from the business community, but they have also initiated a crowdfunding campaign to cover the remaining $35,000 needed for the lane’s construction.

This crowdfunding structure for a large-scale public infrastructure project is the first of its kind here in Denver. It was originally inspired by a similar project in Memphis, TN that was very successful. Aside from the structure’s usefulness as an alternative revenue stream, its grassroots nature allows for a level of public involvement and ownership not typically available.

Many downtown businesses have already expressed strong interest in the proposed bike lane—evidenced by the initial $35,000 raised by the greater business community. The crowdfunding campaign is available here and will be open to contributions until December 12.

Aylene McCallum, Senior Manager of Transportation & Research at the Downtown Denver Partnership, commented that this structure will allow business owners as well as individuals to show the city that they want these resources. Planners often tout the phrase, “if we build it, they will come,” referring to such infrastructure projects. But this project’s crowdfunding structure turns that idea on its head. It puts the power into the hands of individuals and businesses, and says, “if we come together, they will build it.”

More and more, we’re experiencing the positive effects of protected bike lanes on cities and neighborhoods. They encourage healthy behaviors, mitigate pollution and congestion, and promote vibrant business communities, among other things. And this crowdfunding structure, if successful, will send a clear message to key decision makers: We want more urban bike infrastructure!

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Peter Bird grew up around the country and, after completing his Bachelor’s degree in linguistics, moved abroad, living in Hungary and Estonia. It was there that he first developed a love for cities and the transportation patterns within them. He currently works for BikeDenver and is also pursuing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Colorado Denver with a special interest in bicycle/pedestrian transportation planning.


Denver Urbanists Unite! MeetUp #9 Coming November 19, 2014

Mark your calendars! It’s time for another Denver Urbanists MeetUp!

Please join us for Denver Urbanists MeetUp #9 on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 starting at 5:30 PM at McLoughlins Restaurant and Bar, 2100 16th Street. McLoughlins is a great neighborhood pub right next to the Highland side of the Millennium Bridge.

Never been to one of our MeetUps before? Stop by! There is no program or anything formal, just a bunch of friendly people getting together to chat about Denver’s growth and development and to promote a positive urban agenda for Denver. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and build relationships.

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Click on the link below to see additional details. It’s free! Registration just helps give us an idea of how many people to expect. You don’t need to bring the RSVP ticket with you, and if you don’t register, that’s OK too. Stop by anyway!

Denver Urbanists MeetUp #9 Eventbrite RSVP

We hope to see you at Denver Urbanists MeetUp #9 on Wednesday, November 19 at 5:30 PM at McLoughlins. This is the last MeetUp for 2014 so see you there!