How will Denver manage its growth while remaining affordable and without getting overrun by traffic?
The people charged with revamping Blueprint Denver, the city’s transportation and land use plan, began to answer that question Thursday. It was the first meeting of the 33-member task force, which is comprised of residents with expertise in transportation, development, business, and neighborhood organizing.
A few challenges are clearly at the top of the task force’s list. Denver is too dependent on cars, and it needs to address its affordable housing shortage.
“We are the ‘it’ place right now,” said Community Planning and Development Director Brad Buchanan. “And that means that in 20 years, I don’t know what it’s gonna be like, but there’s gonna be a whole lot more of us here. We have mobility challenges, affordable housing challenges… we have all those things to think about.”
When the task force was asked what challenges the city faces, car dependence and its negative effect on neighborhoods rose to the top. Concerns ranged from the barren sea of parking lots making Arapahoe Square unwalkable to the lack of basic infrastructure like good sidewalks in Westwood.
“Despite the progress we’ve made, we still haven’t quite got that hierarchy of pedestrians, bikes, and transit at the top of the list in this auto-driven city,” said Tim Baldwin of local firm Rocky Mountain West Transit and Urban Planning.