Sign WalkDenver’s Petition to Give Denver Sidewalks Citywide

As Denver spends millions to widen streets and highways for multi-ton vehicles, many people are still deprived of sidewalks in their neighborhood. That’s because walking is considered an “alternative” way to get around in Denver. It’s an absurd (if common) way to frame the original, most basic form of transportation.

This peculiar mentality is also the reason Denver has no funding stream for sidewalks — the reason they suddenly end in Globeville, or never even begin in Sunnyside.

WalkDenver has been pushing hard for city agencies to change that. Last week the advocacy group released the above video as part of their campaign for a bona fide funding plan. In it, Sunnyside residents are dismayed that their City Council member’s “hands were tied” when they asked for basic pedestrian infrastructure to keep them and their families safe.

WalkDenver created this online petition (sign it!) to show Denver’s elected officials that property owners support a monthly fee of $5 to $10 to provide sidewalks for the entire city. The petition is part of a campaign that also includes a sidewalk mapping effort, and an in-depth report with recommendations for the city government, RTD, Colorado DOT, and the Denver Regional Council of Governments, to work toward establishing a fee program to fund sidewalks.

Denver’s spotty sidewalk network isn’t just shabby, but unfair, too. Because fixing and building sidewalks currently falls on individual property owners, lower income neighborhoods tend to have worse places for walking — even though residents depend on safe ways to get to and from transit stops.

Sidewalks have been an afterthought in Denver for, well, pretty much forever. And city leaders know it. From the 2004 Pedestrian Master Plan:

Over the last 125 years, the sidewalk system has been built and paid for by individual property owners, one project at a time. It is estimated to be a $500 million dollar transportation asset which, thus far, the City has not played a direct role in building or maintaining.

It’s past time that changed.