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.  

2014-06-24_WalkDenver

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/

By | 2016-12-27T20:20:48+00:00 June 24, 2014|Categories: Advocacy, Pedestrians, Urbanism, Walkability|Tags: |5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Chris S June 25, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Although this is not an excuse for Denver not to better itself and improve its walkable status, I just want to mention that “Walkscore” although it’s a great idea, it has it’s weaknesses. If you look at it by Cities, it takes into account the boundary of the city or county itself, then from there you score the neighborhoods by the fact of if you can run errands by walking, then averages the score for the city, and that’s how you get the City score. If you have a large natural feature as part of the boundary, it hurts the score, and if like Denver where the airport is out and away, it also hurts the overall average score. I wish the could change the boundary to where people actually live. No one actually lives in the airport area or a natural preserve, and a natural preserve in my opinion has some benefits.

    I respect the Walk friendly communities point of view in this case. But walk score if definitely a good tool to find walkable communities.

  2. dave June 27, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Rather than pushing to develop a pedestrian plan which will compete with the bike plan which will compete with the transit plan (should we ever bother to conduct one), how about a comprehensive transportation plan which addresses all of these modes together to actually improve mobility in denver’s core? Something similar to the plan DC is developing- http://www.wemovedc.org/index.html

    I would love to see the next better denver bond put to such a project rather than 15 million dollar dog shelters.

  3. Jeffrey June 28, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Um, how about reducing sidewalk clutter, and putting the following off to the side a bit so that we can easily walk (and run if we are in a hurry): bike racks, fire hydrants, “parking meters” for homeless, 16th street junky stuff, etc. Some of these things are good, yes, but they can be more sensibly placed in our public spaces.

  4. jeff July 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    1. Two way streets everywhere downtown
    2. parallel parking on all streets (buffers peds, calms traffic)
    3. trees (buffers peds, calms traffic)
    4. put wide streets like 15th on a diet.

    These things do not cost much but make a world of difference.

    Read “Walkable City”

  5. Craig Ritzdorf July 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Hello,

    I’ve noticed recently that the timing of some pedestrian signals around Downtown has changed. The walk signal has been shortened leaving a significant period of time in the light cycle where parallel traffic still has a green but pedestrians have a don’t walk. I would like to know if this change was intentional and if so why was it made.

    I’ve observed this at the following intersections:

    E 18th Ave & Lincoln St: South side of 18th crossing Lincoln.
    15th St & Cleveland Pl: East side of Cleveland crossing 15th.

    At both the intersections above the period where pedestrians have a “don’t walk” and parallel traffic has a green is long enough that most pedestrians can cross before the parallel light turns yellow. Also, both intersections cross a one way street such that no traffic with a green light can legally cross the crosswalk.

    I have noticed this situation at at least one other intersection but I can’t remember it’s location.

    This change seems to exemplify a lack of consideration for pedestrians on Denver streets. I am hoping you can tell me why this change was made or at least point me in the direction of a better entity to ask.

    Thank you for your time

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