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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/


Colorado National Bank Hotel Conversion Final Update: Part 2

In Part 1 of our coverage, Ryan gave us a comprehensive overview of the grand opening of the new Marriott Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel that has been carefully crafted out of the historic Colorado National Bank building at 17th and Champa in Downtown Denver. In this post, we’ll add a few more photos of the project and some additional observations.

This project is a HUGE win for Downtown Denver. Take a classically historic building and transform it into a new hotel, with the modifications approved by the Denver Landmark Commission:

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This building was vacant for about a decade. Thanks to Stonebridge Companies and the Denver Urban Renewal Authority, this historic building was transformed into the beautiful building it is today. Here’s a photo of Councilman Brooks and others from the development team cutting the ceremonial ribbon on June 5, 2014:

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A few more images of the building at grand opening:

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If you haven’t yet checked out the inside of this awesome historic structure, featuring a stunning three-story atrium of white marble colonnades and a series of historic murals by Colorado artist Allen Tupper True, I highly recommend you do. The lobby bar and the hotel’s restaurant, Range, are fantastic.

While infill development is a big part of Denver’s growth as a city, adaptive reuse projects like the Marriott Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center hotel are equally important to Denver’s urban evolution and preserving its heritage as a major city.


Colorado Leads the Nation in Embracing, Regulating Ride-sharing Services

The controversy over ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft is well known, with national sites like CityLab reporting that states and cities both nationally and internationally are discouraging or even banning these companies from providing ride-sharing services as a viable transportation alternative in urban areas. 

Meanwhile, Colorado has taken a different approach. Recognizing that ride-sharing can be a smart and sustainable transportation option if properly regulated, Colorado has become the first in the nation to pass a comprehensive set of ride-sharing regulations that allow Uber, Lyft, and similar companies to succeed while providing reasonable safeguards for ride-sharing customers. The legislation, which passed with bipartisan support in the Colorado legislature, was signed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on June 5, 2014.

The difference in attitude on this topic between Colorado and other states is stark, as is evidenced by Governor Hickenlooper’s signing statement on the new legislation: “Today, as we sign into law Colorado’s Transportation Network Company Act, we celebrate and affirm that Colorado is open for business as a place where entrepreneurs and tech-savvy innovators can thrive. We welcome UberX and Lyft and other ride-share companies that will provide Coloradans with an affordable and convenient new transportation option. Colorado once again is in the vanguard in promoting innovation and competition while protecting consumers and public safety.”

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(image source: http://blog.uber.com/regsdoneright)

Uber and Lyft echoed Governor Hickenlooper’s views on Colorado’s leadership in providing transportation options for its citizens. Lyft spokesperson Chelsea Wilson said: “By creating a common-sense regulatory framework for ridesharing that prioritizes public safety and consumer choice, Colorado has stepped up as a leader in welcoming innovative, community-powered transportation options and forging a path for other jurisdictions to follow.” Uber’s Eva Behrend added: “Colorado is on the cutting-edge of innovation and technology. Their leaders understand that laws should not stand in the way of consumer choice, innovation and the natural evolution of the way people travel; instead, they have proactively adopted commonsense rules to allow for technology to create safe, convenient and seamless new transportation options.”

Way to go, Colorado!