While Denverites Speak Out Against I-70 Widening, Hickenlooper Stays Silent

With the groundswell of opposition to Colorado DOT’s plan to gouge a super-wide highway trench across north Denver, Governor John Hickenlooper has to know that city residents are angry about the prospect of more traffic ripping through their neighborhoods on a supersized I-70.

Hickenlooper
Why so quiet?

Hickenlooper is the only person who can tell CDOT to stop the project, so Streetsblog reached out to his press secretary four times to get a comment from the governor about where he stands.

No response.

So Denverites won’t be hearing from Hickenlooper about CDOT’s bogus traffic projections. Hickenlooper’s constituents won’t know what the governor thinks of the fact that neighborhood residents and environmental advocates are so concerned about the impact on air quality that they filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the project. They’ll have to assume the governor is okay with a project planning process that was basically an ultimatum to north Denver — accept this highway boondoggle in your neighborhood, or forget about necessities like flood control.

Here’s what we do know: Hickenlooper controls Colorado DOT, and Colorado DOT wouldn’t build the project without his blessing. But so far, even though the governor is well aware that more highway lanes will lead to a more traffic-choked future for Denver, he hasn’t made a move to change course.

Nothing is stopping Hickenlooper from ditching this 1950s-style road project and embracing a smarter, forward-thinking approach to the future of the city. If he stays silent, this highway scar cutting across the city will be his mistake.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

A parking lot across the street from Union Station, Denver's transit hub. Photo: David Sachs

Opinion: Denver Paved Over Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot

|
As the population grows, “nearly half the land in Denver’s city limits is now paved or built over,” shrinking the city's green space, according to a recent series in Denver Post. But there’s something important missing in their account. The city’s pavement problem isn’t because of a growing population of people. It’s because of a growing population of cars. It’s the roads, driveways and – perhaps most egregiously – the parking lots we’ve built to accommodate more cars.