Denver7 Reports: A Car Guy Hates a Biking and Walking Project, Therefore It’s Bad

"Cars are jammed up," Greg Dare tells a Denver7 reporter as cars drive by unimpeded. Image: Denver7
"Cars are jammed up," Greg Dare tells a Denver7 reporter as cars drive by unimpeded. Image: Denver7

It’s Halloween and the local ABC affiliate Denver7 is up to some tricks.

In a segment that aired yesterday, reporter Jackie Crea interviewed a guy who doesn’t like changes meant to calm traffic speeds and improve conditions for walking and biking at the intersection of Morrison Road, Alameda Avenue, and Knox Court.

Crea spoke to a driver named Greg Dare and no one else — but Denver7 went with the headline, “Bike-Friendly Changes Unfriendly to Some” for its broadcast. The headline on the station’s website boldly proclaims, “Denver’s push to make city more bike-friendly may have hit a snag.”

Apologies to Mr. Dare, but he is a random man on the street, not a “snag” in the city’s multi-year initiative to make walking and biking safer. One driver with an uninformed opinion yelling on camera does not constitute an indictment of a project that uses engineering techniques proven to save lives and prevent serious injuries.

Crea didn’t bother to out them on camera, but a broad cross-section of neighborhood groups spoke to the city about what they wanted from this project before it was designed and built. LiveWell Westwood, Westwood Unidos, Westwood Registered Neighborhood Organization, Westwood LRC, BuCu West, and the City Council local district office all worked with Denver Public Works on it.

Instead Crea gives us noted urban infrastructure expert Greg Dare. “I see a waste of materials, and it’s Denver’s tax dollars,” he says, as if tax dollars can only be spent on car infrastructure. “And plus, uh, it’s dangerous.”

But it’s the previous design that was dangerous. Crea could have consulted the 2013 Knox Court Bike Boulevard Study, which made the case for these changes. Between 2009 and 2011, there were 44 crashes at this intersection and one person was killed. Drivers struck eight people walking and biking here between 2012 and 2015, according to the city’s Vision Zero dashboard.

The project is not even finished. It’s still waiting on new signs, pavement markings, and a bicycle signal. When complete, DPW will have retrofitted this intersection and a good portion of the South Knox Court corridor — which includes two schools — with the following:

  • a wide multi-use path (which Dare says is “twice what they need”) for people walking and biking in both directions on Knox
  • curb extensions to shorten crossings and force drivers to turn more carefully
  • stop signs
  • 20 mph speed limits (down from 25)
  • vehicle turn restrictions
  • a block of Nevada Place that’s one-way for cars and two-way for bikes

But as Crea reports, “Today it’s not working out so well for Greg.” Welp, Greg’s grumpy, better rethink this whole safety thing.

  • surly trucker

    Great rebuttal of a ridiculous ‘news’ piece, thanks Dave. The redesign at this intersection will make it safer for everyone (including mr. grumpy pants).

    • TakeFive

      Eh, no harm done and in fact I hope we never get to the point of censoring opinions. FWIW, during the segment time I saw neither a walker or a biker. Hopefully the rush will come after the project’s completion.

      Even more important than engineering theories is that this project is but one piece of a larger neighborhood and cultural vision. For quick reference for that Confluence Denver has capably covered the topic here: http://www.confluence-denver.com/features/mercado_lineal_morrison_road_011117.aspx
      and here: http://www.confluence-denver.com/features/westwood_070914.aspx

      • surly trucker

        Howdy! Definitely not calling for censorship of opinions, I just thought it was unfortunate that channel 7 chose to elevate one guy’s complaints without acknowledging the effort/input of community groups. 🙂 Also, thanks for the links!

      • MT

        I’d disagree that no harm was done.

        If this is what gets put out by our local news media, public opinion on these type of projects will be based on a severe lack of information.

        No need to censor his opinion, but place it in context with the background and purpose of the project, and all the opinions of all the people that worked on it.

        • TakeFive

          Eh, you flinch too easily.

          BTW, I’m one who believes that it’s better to shoot the message and ignore the messenger but it is the StreetsBlog way to find a Boogieman and shoot both. So Sachs does the obligatory but also credibly shoots the message by noting the various neighborhood organizations that are supportive.

          I included my links partly bcuz the average Joe and Juanita is more easily impressed by a vision than (just) dry talking points. Not objecting to good steak but it’s also important to sell the sizzle.

          • MT

            Good pieces you shared from Confluence.

            Nothing wrong with demanding better of journalists. One guy complaining about traffic is not newsworthy. Telling the whole story of what’s happening there and why, and how it fits into the neighborhood and the city’s goals to make streets safer is a worthy news story.

          • TakeFive

            tee vee does not do in-depth reporting, at least not in the same segment or newscast. Always been that way. But if you’d like I can ring you when they highlight the other side. 🙂

          • MT

            Yeah, they took the time to go interview one random guy, let me know if they bother talking to anyone who actually knows something about the project.
            Doesn’t seem like too much to ask. 🙂

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