Survey: Denverites Are Fed Up With Traffic and Want Better Transit

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Image: City and County of Denver

The top long-term priorities for Denver residents are reducing traffic congestion, creating more affordable housing, and improving transit options, according to a survey conducted for the Denveright planning initiative.

The city shared the survey results so far (you can still take it) last night at the first meeting of the “Community Think Tank,” a group of residents who will “provide input on key items” in the Denveright plan.

“When we begin to think about changes that we’d like to see occurring, we see the decrease in traffic, the increase in transit — the yin and the yang working together,” said Andy Mountain of GBSM, the firm that’s facilitating the public process.

Between July and mid-September, about 1,800 people filled out the survey — either online or in person at Denveright events. The 65 members of the Think Tank, whom the city selected after an application process, took the survey separately. While the survey was not conducted as a scientific random sample, it can illustrate how the priorities of the public at large compare to the Think Tank. City planners wanted the Think Tank to see both the disparities and the common themes that emerged.

Here are the results from two other questions:

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Image: City and County of Denver

As Denver grows, everyone is concerned about the effect on the cost of living and the transportation system. The general public is much more worried about safety and “too many people” living in Denver (as if limiting that number would be in anyone’s interest) than the Think Tank members. Meanwhile, Think Tank members are much more concerned with the quality of architecture and the city’s water supply than the general public.

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Image: City and County of Denver

What do people like most about Denver? Not a whole lot of disagreement here: walkable neighborhoods and parks are the city’s strong suit. The opportunity for a healthy lifestyle saw a lot of overlap as well. Note that accessibility for cars, bike-share, and car-share aren’t major factors in Denver’s likeability.

The major themes are clear — people are fed up with congestion and want a walkable, affordable city with effective transit. Planning for streets and development where transit comes first and the car is no longer king can deliver the qualities that Denverites want in their city. Planning for single-occupancy motor vehicles cannot.

So what will planners do with this information? It’s a baseline for the Denveright process, a reference point that should inform specific projects and policies that city planners are tasked with creating. Let’s hope they listen.

  • Ryan Keeney

    If “Neighborhood Main Streets” refers to places like S. Pearl St. then that is also very telling regarding preferences for walkable commercial development. The term isn’t defined in the survey however.

    • TakeFive

      Interesting, as my first instinct went to arterial roads. I suspect the survey’s intent was what you indicated. How people responded I wouldn’t know.

  • TakeFive

    Since the survey results were unsurprising and so rather uninspiring I wondered what I could find to create a little excitement? Ah hah, I got it; The elites versus the commoners.

    Public Group v Think Tank Group
    First survey question:
    1) Yuuge disparity on “reducing traffic congestion.”
    2) Big gap on “more shade trees”
    Second survey question:
    1) Super huge difference over “safety.”
    2) Ditto for “access to open space.”
    I picked out those items where the Public Group were much more concerned than the Think Tank which had better things to do apparently. You could do the same exercise by flipping the script but who cares what the elites want, right?

  • Chris

    How makes up the Think Tank members? What are their backgrounds?

  • yaakovwatkins

    Survey is biased and does not provide for input unless the input is one of the approved ones. For instance, we all know that buses and bicycles destroy the orderly flow of traffic. But there is no way to say that on the survey.

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