Mayor Unveils 20-Year Vision for Denver’s Future

More dedicated bus lanes are called for in Denver's new plans for the next 20 years. This  Streetsblog rendering envisions how 18th and 19th streets could look. Illustration: David Sachs with Streetmix
More dedicated bus lanes are called for in Denver's new plans for the next 20 years. This Streetsblog rendering envisions how 18th and 19th streets could look. Illustration: David Sachs with Streetmix

Today Mayor Michael Hancock gathered with community members at City Hall to share a set of plans that will guide how Denver will change to keep its people housed, healthy and safely getting to the places they need to go over the next 20 years.

During the multi-year process of crafting five separate plans, Streetsblog has covered the those related to transportation extensively, including Denveright, Blueprint DenverDenver Moves: Transit, and Denver Moves Pedestrians and Trails.

The plans will update the city’s street-design standards to enhance safety, expand green space and create more livable streets. They also call for a high-frequency public transportation network, including transit-only lanes on some corridors.

Mayor Hancock spoke to the process of collaboration behind the plans.

“A document of this importance, of this magnitude, is not created in a matter of days or even weeks in a corner of our planning department,” he said in a press release. “It’s the result of years of work and thousands of people getting involved to shape and create a more inclusive, connected and healthy city.”

The five citywide plans include:

  • Comprehensive Plan 2040
  • Blueprint Denver
  • Game Plan for a Healthy City
  • Denver Moves: Transit
  • Denver Moves: Pedestrians and Trails

Aside from transportation, they will address:

  • Affordable housing
  • Where housing and commercial growth should be located
  • How to prevent displacement from gentrification
  • Expanding and maintaining the city’s parks

The city’s multi-year planning process considered more than 25,000 comments from residents and neighborhood groups. A last round of public comments will be accepted until the plans go before the Planning Board and City Council next month for final approval.  Two plans, Denver Moves: Transit, and Denver Moves Pedestrians and Trails, do not need Council approval.

  • iBikeCommute

    Denver is great at developing plans. Funding them and acting on them not so much.

  • LazyReader

    Affordable housing in places they wanna purposely gentrify, Good luck. Dictating where housing and commercial growth should be located……..Yeah, that’s where the government buys your property for public use or raises property taxes to the point you leave, but really they’re doing it for kickbacks from companies who sign lucrative development contracts so you can have more expensive condos in what used to be mixed use nieghborhoods to begin with.

    Devoting most of the city’s transportation funds to forms of transportation that are either insignificant or obsolete. Like it or not, 86 percent of Denver workers drive to work, and Denver residents use cars and trucks for an even higher percentage of other travel.
    City planners can’t wave a wand and suddenly double transit ridership and/or walking and cycling. So the city should plan for what people will do, not for what planners wish they would do.

    • iBikeCommute

      “City planners can’t wave a wand and suddenly double transit ridership
      and/or walking and cycling.”
      Actually they can. Make RTD fares free instead of billions of dollars for highway widening. Transit ridership would double pretty quickly.

      • LazyReader

        No it wouldn’t. Denver’s transit ridership is declining even as the city proposes to spend even more on transit infrastructure. Ridership in the first six months of 2017 was 7.7% lower than the same period in 2016. RTD currently has about $3.5 billion of debt on its books. In addition, Denver Transit Partners – the company that built RTD’s commuter-rail lines – has its own debt of around $400 million that RTD is contractually obligated to pay even if it isn’t on the books. When RTD planned its rail system, it assumed sales tax revenues would increase every year without fail. When a recession causes sales taxes to decline, or even to increase more slowly than assumed, it has to dip into other funds to meet its debt obligations, and that means cutting service even more. Even Streetsblog admitted RTD ridership is in decline. All in all, RTD is fighting a battle against an opponent it cannot win….irrelevancy.

        A 2017 report from the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation
        Studies finds that the average Denver-area resident can reach almost
        twice as many jobs in a 20-minute auto drive as in a 60-minute transit
        ride. As a result, low-income workers (who predominantly used cheap buses) are abandoning transit. Spending more money on expensive, maintenance prone, low capacity rail systems

        • TakeFive

          I’m impressed; you’re the 1st person I’ve come across that is aware of DTP’s equity contribution which they secured by borrowing ~$450 million from Lloyd’s Bank of London. IIRC, this was later replaced by BAB’s. The benefit of this financial structure was it helped RTD build within its TABOR limits.

          Are you aware that Seattle is in process of spending $25 billion on less miles as FasTracks? RTD spent ~$6.7 billion or $70 million per mile roughly 1/5 of what Seattle is spending.

          Are you aware of the multi-billion $ Denver Union Station neighborhood development. That would not have happened without FasTracks. Instead of the below grade bus concourse there would have been an above ground bus station and some nearby low-rise development.

          FasTracks was a Godsend my friend and just like Denver International Airport it will be considered a stroke of genius 25 years from now just as DIA is today.

          • Devin Quince

            For those who get it versus those of us who keep getting taxed for nothing, but empty promises and lies.

          • TakeFive

            I understand the frustration; it is also fair to say that the Flatiron Flyer has been a huge success. In addition…

            http://www.rtd-denver.com/hwy119.shtml

            RTD’s next priority is to address the transportation needs and ease congestion in the northern communities with bus rapid transit along State Highway 119. RTD in collaboration with northwest area elected officials, business leaders, and public agencies have initiated a comprehensive study to evaluate the viability of bus rapid transit along highway 119 between Boulder and Longmont.

            http://www.rtd-denver.com/img/projects/hwy119-map.jpg

          • Devin Quince

            None of which is funded and not what we continue to pay for, so the statement still stands.

          • TakeFive

            Fair enough.

    • TakeFive

      Let’s focus on downtown since the number of employees is substantially growing. 2018 data hasn’t yet been released but in 2017 39% of downtown employees used transit and 39% were SOV ‘s while nearly 14% either biked or walked. https://denver.streetsblog.org/2018/09/28/its-time-to-take-the-downtown-denver-commuter-survey-again-if-you-work-there/

      Light and commuter rail ridership is now just over half the ridership for 142 bus routes.

    • mckillio

      “So the city should plan for what people will do, not for what planners wish they would do.”

      No they shouldn’t, they should do what’s best for the city and trying to reduce a non-sustainable mode of transportation is what’s best.

  • fpfrainaguirre

    Dedicated lanes for public transit on “some” streets? Which streets and how many in total? How much is allocated and has the funding to do this? How soon will this be done? Yes, it is easy to make plans that never get funded and implemented!

  • fpfrainaguirre

    Sorry folks, if we believe in climate change, we MUST change our ways of driving and eating and entertainment! Entertainment venues need to give public transit passes with the tickets they sell. In turn these venues could be given a special rate for all those who use them! All businesses downtown could do the same! Businesses need to be given incentives to do so!

  • The plan is : ‘keep growing as fast as you can, no matter the consequences

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