Denver Is Getting a Stand-Alone Department of Transportation and Mobility

Photo: David Sachs
Photo: David Sachs

Right now the same agency that treats solid waste decides how the city’s streets are organized for walking, biking, transit, and driving. But not for long. Soon Denver will join the ranks of other major American cities by creating a stand-alone Department of Transportation and Mobility, according to an announcement posted to the City and County of Denver’s website today.

The change won’t happen immediately. First comes the creation of a “mobility division” within Denver Public Works (this already exists, to an extent, but unofficially). Then whoever takes the reins from outgoing DPW Executive Director Jose Cornejo will be responsible for spinning off transportation from the rest of the department.

“We all know the challenges we face — worsening congestion and safety and limited mobility options,” Mayor Michael Hancock says in the announcement. “Those challenges impact our economy, environment, health and overall quality of life. Restructuring Denver Public Works to elevate transportation and mobility — now one of the highest priorities for the people of Denver — and then creating a new Department of Transportation and Mobility will advance our ability to move more people, more efficiently and more safely.”

The new department will house planning, parking, right of way enforcement, and traffic engineering — operations and maintenance — under one roof.

As Streetsblog has reported, Denver needs a stand-alone department of transportation to both better manage the streets on a day-to-day basis and make more rapid progress on improving transit, biking, and walking. Hancock made the decision after seeing an analysis by Sam Schwartz City Strategies, a consultant, of how to manage Denver’s transportation system as the population grows.

The new department will be run by a cabinet-level position. That requires an amendment to the Denver city charter, which will need approval from the City Council and Denver voters.

Streetsblog will have more details in the coming days and weeks.