Shape the Future of Denver’s Streets By Joining the “Community Think Tank”

Think of all the possibilities to reenvision Denver motorways like 17th Street, which was designed to move cars for two hours out of the day. The other 22 hours, it tends to look like this photo, taken on a Wednesday at noon. Photo: David Sachs

Will Denver’s growth lead to streets and neighborhoods that are walkable, bikeable, and transit-rich — or suffocated with cars? You can weigh in .

City Hall is currently pursuing four major plans under the “Denveright” umbrella. These include a strategy to improve transit service inside Denver proper, a blueprint for a seamless pedestrian network, and a land use plan to integrate development with transit. (The fourth plan deals with city parks and recreation.)

Hancock has said that Denveright will be shaped largely by residents, so the future of Denver’s streets and neighborhoods may depend, in no small part, on who shows up to public meetings. And it looks like some of the most important opportunities to get good ideas into the mix will be the meetings of the “community think tank.”

The think tank is a group of residents who will “provide input on key items that cut across all four plans,” according to the Denveright website. Applications to join the think tank are open now.

Not everyone thinks Denver should plan for a less car-dependent future. City planners and engineers need to hear from residents who know the importance of effective transit and safe walking and biking — residents who don’t always use a car to get around.

Your voice could mean the difference between a bold project, like physically separated bus lanes on East Colfax, or a timid one, like the “BRT Lite” being planned there right now. If you’re interested in joining, apply by June 24. Here’s the commitment the city asks for:

  • Attendance at 4-5 meetings, likely 2 hours in length, over an 18-month period, likely beginning in mid to late summer 2016
  • In between meetings, reviewing draft materials and obtaining input from your organization/community on those materials
  • Bringing input from your organization/community to share at Community Think Tank meetings

Need some inspiration? Here’s a reminder of what the city hears when supporters of multi-modal streets stay on the sidelines, courtesy of Denveright’s interactive map that lets residents tell city planners where to improve city streets:

Fix city streets. No one has stopped driving and the traffic is worse than ever. Takes me twice as long to get to work as it did in the late 90’s. Not everyone rides bikes, as your surveys show. Stop the madness.

The comment was plotted at 17th Street downtown, a wide crevasse of a street that has no bicycle infrastructure whatsoever and sits nearly empty for all but a few hours out of the day.