Urban Isolation: Look at All the Land Denver Dedicates to Cars

Video: How much real estate is given to the automobile? Go for a walk with Jonathon Stalls.

The intersection at East 35th Ave. and Quebec St. Image: Google Maps
The intersection at East 35th Ave. and Quebec St. Image: Google Maps

This short video, filmed at at 35th & Quebec, invites you into just how much real estate Denver gives to the automobile. And how people-thriving places and spaces live at the bottom of the list.

I also point out how walkability is so much deeper than just sidewalks.

The challenge with only focusing on sidewalks (although still very important) is that we maintain a culture of crowning the automobile king. It becomes tireless work to make it easier for people to navigate around vehicles. We desperately need more innovation, risk, courage, and thoughtful shutting down and re-routing car-culture rather than always scrambling and fixating on the crumbs around it.

Design for us.
Build for us.
Budget for us.
Prioritize us.
Plan for us.
Honor us.

Stalls walked across the United States in 2010, founded Walk2Connect in 2012 and now runs the Pedestrian Dignity project at Intrinsic Paths, which is centered on walking culture and engaged contemplation. 

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  • TakeFive

    Quebec Street (not avenue) especially north of MLK Bvd is not only a major arterial road but a largely commercial area and an interchange with I-70.

    Interestingly, you can take Quebec St all the way into the DTC (via So Tamarac Dr). The density picks up dramatically south of Parker Rd/Leetsdale and with both the High Line Canal Trail and the Cherry Creek Trail it’s a much nicer pedestrian and bike-friendly area.

  • I appreciate the effort, but this guy seems a bit out of touch with history. The decisions about this intersection and area were made over 60 years ago, when the goal was to rapidly get large numbers of cars in and out of Stapleton International Airport. This was never a neighborhood. The sidewalk he’s walking on was airport property since before the houses on the west side of Quebec were built. So yeah, we could go in and rip up this whole area, build houses on the east side of Quebec, and create a weird mutant neighborhood out of it – new houses on one side, 70 year old houses on the other. But that would be hugely expensive, and the people who live there don’t want that.

    • PDiddy

      It’s even more expensive to maintain a 10 lane stroad which sunders value. There’s not much value being extracted from the area either. Most likely any business that will build adjacent to such a road are industrial warehouses that pay pennies on the dollar in property tax and business income tax.

      • TakeFive

        Those hotels on the west side of Quebec were (obviously) built to accommodate the airport. They also did a good convention-conference business back then. They still do a good business including local conferences.

        There’s nothing worth worrying about north of 35th ave as it becomes a major interchange for I-70. Stapleton admittedly used a more dated formula for their commercial-retail areas but given that Quebec is a major arterial road it hardly matters and it’s not a battle worth picking.


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