by Jill Locantore, WalkDenver Policy Director
Sign up today to help us build the momentum of the Denver Deserves Sidewalks campaign.
Imagine if you were responsible for filling the potholes in the street in front of your house. Not only would this policy place a significant financial burden on your household, but your ability to drive around safely would depend on other homeowners filling the potholes in front of their houses too. As ridiculous as this policy sounds, it is Denver’s current approach to sidewalk construction and maintenance. As a result, many Denver neighborhoods have missing, substandard, or deteriorated sidewalks, which makes it very difficult to get around safely on foot!
WalkDenver’s Denver Deserves Sidewalks campaign calls upon the City and County of Denver to assume responsibility for building and repairing sidewalks, and to establish a dedicated funding source for this purpose. To date, more than 2,200 individuals have signed the petition (online and hard copy), and nearly 30 organizations have provided letters of support. City Council has responded by establishing a Sidewalk Working Group, chaired by Councilman Kashmann, which will meet for the first time on January 27, 2016.
Now we need YOUR help to keep the momentum of Denver Deserves Sidewalks going and clearly demonstrate to City Council that residents want the City to provide this most basic infrastructure. The Sidewalk Champion Toolkit outlines several different ways you can help us get the word out and gather more petition signatures and support letters.
Your actions will not only help your neighborhood and your city become a more beautiful, walkable, and equitable place, but will also earn you great WalkDenver rewards!
- Sign up to become a Champion and get a WalkDenver sticker!
- Take one action from the Toolkit and get a WalkDenver tote bag!
- Take three actions from the Toolkit and get a WalkDenver t-shirt!
Sign up today!
Wynkoop in LoDo and 21st Street in Arapahoe Square are very different urban streets. Wynkoop is resplendent with Victorian-era brick warehouses, strong urban form, an attractively streetscaped public realm, and civic icons like Denver Union Station. 21st Street? Surface parking lots and a largely incoherent urban form are the street’s defining characteristics. However, Wynkoop and 21st Street actually have an important attribute in common: neither are through-streets that provide vehicular connectivity beyond their extents, as both streets are capped at both ends by landmarks. Wynkoop terminates at Cherry Creek on one end and at Ballpark Plaza on the other. Similarly, 21st Street stops at Coors Field on one end and at Benedict Fountain Park at the other. This situation makes Wynkoop and 21st Street excellent candidates to be transformed into high quality bike/ped streets while still providing modest vehicular access.
Diagram courtesy City and County of Denver.
Last night I and about 100 others attended a public meeting held by Denver Community Planning and Development and their planning consultant AECOM to review preliminary plans for such a transformation. Some of the big ideas include a two-block park within the 21st Street right-of-way near Larimer, converting Wynkoop in front of Union Station into essentially an extension of Wynkoop Plaza, creating a signature bike trail along both streets that could form the start of a bigger downtown loop, and reconfiguring the Broadway/21st Street intersection to provide a major mid-block bike/ped crossing of Broadway.
For more information, check out the city’s webpage on the project, and definitely check out David’s excellent overview at Streetsblog Denver.
Today, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, along Downtown Denver Partnership CEO Tami Door, Councilman Albus Brooks, and dozens of bicycle riders and advocates, celebrated the official opening of the protected bike lanes along Arapahoe and Lawrence streets in Downtown Denver. These new bike lanes are a big deal for creating a more equitable share of the public right-of-way among transportation modes. Now, bicyclists have their own dedicated portion of the street for safer passage through Downtown Denver and connecting to the Auraria Campus and the Curtis Park neighborhood.
It was a short but fun celebration under a sunny Denver sky, complete with the ribbon-cutting ritual:
Thanks to DenverUrbanism reader Mike Huggins, here are a few nice shots of the Arapahoe bike lane from above—looking toward the Auraria Campus (left) and toward Arapahoe Square and Curtis Park (right):
Back at ground level, here’s the finished version of the floating bus stop at 16th and Lawrence that I covered when it was still under construction in October:
Up next for new protected bike lanes Downtown will be 14th Street, coming Summer 2016.
Starting back in April, the commuter trains along the ‘A-Line’, now known as the ‘University of Colorado A-Line‘, started to run unassisted from Denver Union Station to Denver International Airport. Now, the trains are full speed ahead with 79 mph testing underway.
DenverUrbanism got a sneak peek of the testing at Union Station. The new Silverliner V commuter trains are a lot different than the Siemens light-rail vehicles we are all used to seeing. The Silverliners go faster, have more storage, hold more passengers, and offer level boarding. The commuter lines also have less stops to their end destination, and go farther than current light-rail lines.
Why the sandbags? You can’t just test an empty train and hope for the best when its packed full of airport-goers and commuters. The sandbags are a good human weight analog for simulating a packed train. We also caught two commuter rail cars parked under the canopy. What a good day!
As of today, there are only 153 days left until the commuter line to the airport opens (Grand opening is April 22nd, 2016). We are incredibly excited!
Have you seen the new enhanced crosswalks recently installed at a couple of key intersections along Speer Boulevard near the Auraria campus? Here are some photos I took of the new crosswalks at Speer and Lawrence just after they were installed a couple of weeks ago:
Nice! As you can probably tell, those are not real inlaid bricks but rather it’s a thermoplastic material that’s been applied to the asphalt. These enhanced crosswalks are also a few feet wider than the standard variety and were installed in mid-October along Speer Boulevard at Lawrence, Larimer, and Wewatta streets. This is test project for Denver Public Works to see how well they improve pedestrian visibility and safety.
These enhanced crosswalks could be a possible short-term solution for improving pedestrian safety at 17th and Wynkoop, as discussed in our recent post and at Streetsblog Denver. To learn more about pedestrian safety around Denver Union Station, please attend the public meeting on November 4 at 5:30 PM at Wynkoop Brewing’s Mercantile Room at 18th and Wynkoop.