Showing — Not Just Talking About — the Dangers of Walking in Denver

Quebec

Jonathon Stalls, founder of Walk2Connect, a “worker-owned walking cooperative,” wants those in power and the general public to understand the danger and indignity that walkers suffer just trying to get around the city.

Anyone who depends on walking to get around north Denver grapples every day with a hellish carscape along Quebec Street, which is not a street so much as a highway that connects Stapleton and Northfield — but only if you’re in a car. Getting from one neighborhood to the other means crossing I-70, which is impossible to do safely and directly on foot.

Stalls documented the terrifying trek on Quebec Street, across I-70, so elected officials, Denver Public Works and Colorado DOT officials, and everyday residents could see just how dangerous it is — to get a taste of what Stalls calls “body knowledge.”

“We have people who go into spaces talking about policies, and we need that,” Stalls told Streetsblog. “We absolutely need focused intellect in how we move policy. It’s just so clear, especially at a place like Quebec, that decision makers aren’t experiencing what it’s actually like.”

If the powers that be truly understood, they’d empathize with a mother in a stroller, forced to choose between traversing speeding traffic or muddy slopes underneath Quebec, Stalls said, or the wheelchair user forced to use a winding, wayward recreational path to cross I-70 and a set of train tracks.

“Goat paths” or “desire trails” in the video prove that people want and need to walk around the area to reach practical destinations like the Central Park RTD station and grocery stores. But there’s no infrastructure for them to do it safely and with dignity. In addition to walking on car-heavy roads or impromptu dirt paths, Stalls and Jeanette Fedele, a Walk2connect walking movement leader, take a terrifying stroll down the infamous Quebec Street slant.

“There’s no paint, signage, something that says, ‘We recognize you’re here, and that you’re trying to get across — that we at least see you,'” Stalls said. “We want to give people body knowledge to at least be a little closer to what vulnerable populations face, and the the message, that we as a public, communicate to vulnerable populations — that you’re not welcome here. Period.”

Walk2Connect, along with WalkDenver, will lead group walks aimed at showing decision makers — not explaining to them — what walking Denver can be like. It’s called the iWalkDenver walking series and it’s free to sign up. Stalls and company will tackle Alameda Avenue next, followed by Federal Boulevard, Colorado Boulevard, and Brighton Boulevard — all during rush hour.

“Working?” the website states. “Consider it professional development.”

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Monday’s Headlines 7/26/21: How can RTD lure riders back?

|
Denver, RTD, and the Metro Area Cheap or free fares? RTD should take “urgent” action to lure riders back, report says. (The Denver Post) Two years after tragic death, still no changes to bike lanes on S. Marion Pkwy. (The Denver Channel) Denver offers grants for groups, businesses in priority neighborhoods (The Denver Gazette) Denver7 […]

Friday’s Headlines 7/23/21: Bike-in to a movie tonight!

|
Denver, RTD, and the Metro Area Forget the drive-in — this Denver movie night is a bike-in (The Know) Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp dies after bicycle crash the former Broncos QB coach was hit by a driver on Saturday (NBC News) Sloan’s Lake temporarily closed after toxic algae bloom build-up (The Denver Gazette) Denver Air Quality […]

Thursday’s Headlines 7/22/21: Air quality worsens, Colorado won’t try to curb commuters after all

|
Denver, RTD, and the Metro Area Denver Air Quality Continues To Worsen – Here’s How To Protect Yourself (303 Magazine) Denver Police Department investigates driver/bicyclist crash with serious injuries (Denver Police Department Twitter) Next stop for Denver’s public transit: recovery (University of Denver Magazine) Backyard gardeners and bike couriers team up to help feed the […]