Streets Partnership: Hancock’s Budget Needs $22M for Walking and Biking, and You Can Help Tuesday

Photo: David Sachs
Photo: David Sachs

Budget season is a crucial time of year for anyone hoping to see Denver build out its walking and biking network this century. That’s not an exaggeration. At its current pace, the city won’t close the book on 240 miles of missing bike lanes and 2,000 miles of planned sidewalks for more than 100 years, according to the Denver Streets Partnership.

A big reason for that snail’s pace? Meager annual funding. So the Partnership is asking Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver City Council members to back up their talk of safe streets with more funding in the 2019 budget — and its asking you to raise your voices in support at an event in front of the City and County Building on Tuesday. It’s from noon to 1 p.m.

“Just like every year we spend money on roads, every year we need to spend money on sidewalks and bike lanes,” said WalkDenver executive director and Partnership member Jill Locantore. “In fact, it’s even more important, because the streets already exists — the city is just trying to maintain them. While in the case of walking and biking, we’re trying to just finish building out the networks that are woefully incomplete at this point.”

The Partnership says Hancock’s budget should put $22 million toward bike lanes and sidewalks in order to set Denver on the right path, and that the City Council should approve it. The group will deliver a petition to officials saying as much on Tuesday.

Here’s the breakdown of what they’re hoping for:

  • $6 million or bike lanes
  • $10 million for sidewalks
  • $5 million for better crosswalks on Federal Boulevard
  • $1 million for rapid safety fixes like the one at Colfax, Franklin, and Park

Advocates also want to see more money for transit — which is expected, given the city’s new transit plan — but aren’t advocating for a specific figure because the plan doesn’t drill down into costs.

“This is one of the most important decisions that the city makes every year — what to include in the annual budget for walking and biking,” Locantore said. “The sad thing is that we have to ask every year. It’s just a given every year that the city is gonna spend money on paving the roads and filling potholes, but it’s not a given that they’ll spend money on walking and biking, let alone continue to increase it.”