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With just a few weeks to go before Denver unveils its draft budget for next year, the Denver Streets Partnership wrapped the front of the Denver City and County building with a 400-foot long ribbon strung with over 600 petitions calling for an increased investment of at least $22 million in sidewalks, bikeways, and safety improvements throughout the city. At the event, dozens of Denver residents spoke about why Denver needs to focus more dollars on creating people-friendly streets, and then delivered the petitions to the Mayor’s office and Denver City Council.
“People-friendly streets are safe and comfortable for everyone, whether you walk, roll, bike, ride transit, or drive,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG Director. “Unfortunately, at the rate Denver is building out our missing sidewalk network and adding bike lanes, it’s going to be 100 years before all our streets are truly people-friendly. That’s why we’re calling on Mayor Hancock and the City to increase spending to $22 million next year.”
More funding is urgently needed because Denver's streets are not safe. On average, one person dies in a traffic crash every week, just trying to get around Denver. Fifteen of the people who have died were walking or biking. Since January of this year, 37 people have been killed on Denver's streets.
Kyrstin Trustman, a West Denver area resident, expressed concern that she “lives on Federal Blvd., one of the most dangerous, least people friendly streets in Denver. It has a high speed limit, a large amount of traffic and a lack of adequate sidewalks. I have nearly been hit multiple times while crossing Federal.”
Unfortunately, at the current rate of spending--$5 million per year--it would take Denver more than 100 years to complete the 240 miles of missing bike lanes and 2,000 miles of missing and substandard sidewalks. The Denver Streets Partnership groups declared that this is not acceptable.
To put Denver on a safer track, the coalition of community groups gathered 600 petitions calling for the 2019 City budget to include:
- At least $6 million for new bike lanes to connect neighborhoods in the city;
- At least $10 million for new sidewalks where they are missing on the city's high injury network;
- At least $5 million for safety improvements on Federal Boulevard;
- At least $1 million for quick, low-cost improvements that can enhance safety immediately while the city finds additional funding for longer-term improvements;
- Funding to update Denver's street design standards.
“Funding for sidewalks is important to the Montbello community,” said Pam Jiner, a Montbello resident, “because sidewalks are our invitation to walk and have access to the city that we love.”
Piep van Heuven of Bicycle Colorado, a Partnership member, said: “We are calling on Mayor Hancock to prioritize budget funding for sidewalks, bike lanes and safe access to transit to meet the city goal of reducing SOV travel from 73% to 50% by 2030. Our active transportation network funding should be on par with other major urban areas with thriving and safe active transportation networks, and should demonstrate a serious commitment to create a walkable bikeable Denver."
The Denver Streets Partnership (DSP) is a coalition of community organizations advocating for people-friendly streets in Denver. The DSP mission is to improve active transportation and transit infrastructure, accessibility and use to support healthy, inclusive, connected, and sustainable communities. The DSP coordinates advocacy and community engagement focused on transportation funding and policy; Vision Zero; and complete streets.
The Steering Committee is comprised of eight non-profit policy advocacy organizations including All-In-Denver, American Heart Association, Bicycle Colorado, BikeDenver, CoPIRG, Colorado Cross Disability Coalition, Groundwork Denver, and WalkDenver.
The draft City of Denver budget is expected to be released in Mid-September and will be finalized in November.
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