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It’s a huge weekend for US transit openings

Mid summer is prime time for big transit openings, and this weekend is a doozy. Three big projects around the US are opening today or tomorrow.

  
Left: Denver Union Station photo by Ryan Dravitz. Center: DC Silver Line photo by Fairfax County. Right: Tucson streetcar photo by Bill Morrow.

By now, probably everyone who reads DenverUrbanism knows the interior of Denver Union Station officially opens tomorrow.

Out east, that same day, Washington, DC’s new Metrorail Silver Line opens. The Silver Line expands America’s second busiest subway network by about 10%, although the new portions are above ground.

But Tucson beats both Denver and DC by one day. Their Sun Link streetcar opens today, at 9:00 am Mountain Time. It’s the first modern rail line in Tucson.

All these projects have been a long, difficult road. It’s great to see them starting to pay off.


Denver Urbanists Unite! MeetUp #7 Coming July 30, 2014

Hey! Do you love cities and consider yourself an urbanist?

Please join us for Denver Urbanists MeetUp #7 on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 starting at 5:30 PM at Wynkoop Brewing Company at 18th & Wynkoop, 2nd floor. There is no program or anything official, just a bunch of friendly people getting together informally to chat about city-building topics and to promote a positive urban agenda for Denver. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and build relationships.

For MeetUp #7, let’s talk Union Station! MeetUp #7 will take place just four days after the big Denver Union Station grand opening celebration on July 26. Come and share your impressions of our new/old transportation hub and exchange your ideas about Denver’s transit future with fellow urbanists. And, if you haven’t been to Union Station yet since it opened and you don’t think you’re going to make it to the July 26 celebration, then this is what you should do: Stop by Union Station first and check it out, then walk across the street to Wynkoop’s and join us for the MeetUp! That’s easy.

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 ticket with you, and if you don’t register, that’s OK too. Stop by anyway!

Denver Urbanists MeetUp #7 Eventbrite RSVP

We hope to see you at Denver Urbanists MeetUp #7 on July 30!


Photographic proof bikes and streetcars work together

Despite the fact that streetcar tracks can be hazards to cyclists, bikes and streetcars are great allies.

They both help produce more livable, walkable, less car-dependent streets. It’s no coincidence that the same cities are often leaders in both categories. In the US, Portland has both the highest bike mode share and the largest modern streetcar network. In Europe, Amsterdam is even more impressive as both a streetcar city and a bike city.

With that in mind, here’s a collection of photos from Amsterdam showing bikes and streetcars living together.

  
  
All photos from BeyondDC.com

Of course, it doesn’t just happen. It’s easy for bikes and streetcars in Amsterdam to avoid one another, and to interact safely, because each one has clearly delineated, high-quality infrastructure.

Chalk that up as one more reason to build both good bike lanes and great transit.


FasTracks Progress: Union Station

As I was out and about with my camera taking infill project photos for DenverInfill, I noticed something different about the north end of the commuter rail station at Union Station!

Recently, workers have been putting up the poles for the catenary wire system that will be used for the EMU trains. Electric (EMU) trains, with the overhead wire system, will be used for the Northwest, North Metro, Gold and East Line. Here are some photos!

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It’s very exciting to see all of the pieces start to come together!


A Call to Action: Pedestrian Advocacy on the Move

By Jill Locantore, WalkDenver Policy and Program Director

WalkDenver is working to make Denver the most walkable city in the nation, and recently launched a petition calling on our City officials to take two actions:

Form a Pedestrian Advisory Committee whose role will be to advise city officials, city agencies, and the office of the Mayor on policies, procedures, and infrastructure improvements needed to make Denver a great city for walking.

Establish Denver Moves Pedestrians, a parallel implementation plan to the bicycle-focused Denver Moves plan, so that the City has a clear path forward for improving the pedestrian environment in Denver.

These actions will build on the momentum created by two important milestones in Denver’s pedestrian advocacy movement: In April, Denver was nationally recognized with a “Gold” Walk Friendly Community designation, and in May, Kaiser Permanente awarded WalkDenver a substantial grant to support the organization’s grassroots advocacy work.

Walk Friendly Communities is a national program that recognizes communities working to improve walkability and pedestrian safety. WalkDenver’s dedicated volunteers collaborated with City’s agencies to prepare an extensive application focused on assessing Denver’s current transportation and land use policies.  This effort paid off when Denver received the Gold designation, one of just 13 cities that has achieved this status.  

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Pedestrians at Better Block Jefferson Park
(photo courtesy WalkDenver)

While the Gold designation signals that Denver is on the right track, the City still has work to do. The website WalkScore.com ranks Denver as the 17th most walkable large city in the U.S., behind other western cities such as  Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco. The Alliance for Biking & Walking 2014 Benchmarking report ranks Denver 36th out of 52 large metro areas on per capita spending on pedestrian and bicycle projects. Similarly, a recent report on walkable urbanism from LOCUS ranked Denver 14th out of 30 metropolitan areas.

Now with a major grant from Kaiser Permanente, WalkDenver has grown from a primarily volunteer-based organization to a professionally-staffed advocacy group, and is poised to make significant progress toward improving the pedestrian environment in Denver. In addition to collecting petition signatures, WalkDenver is also gathering letters of support from partner organizations, as well as seeking individual and corporate sponsors for both its advocacy work and additional Better Block events.  

Join the effort by signing WalkDenver’s petition today!  For more information, visit the WalkDenver website, or contact WalkDenver Executive Director Gosia Kung at gosia.kung@walkdenver.org.

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A version of this post also appeared on WalkDenver’s blog at http://www.walkdenver.org/a-call-to-action-pedestrian-advocacy-on-the-move/