Hot SheetTransportation

Denver needs to spend more for bike, pedestrian projects, group says

Author: Adam McCoy - July 12, 2018 - Updated: July 12, 2018

Cyclists ride past Coors Field in Denver. (iStock/Getty Images)

Denver’s efforts to maintain walkable and bikeable streets are “woefully unfunded,” and its poor street design is a public health crisis, a mobility advocacy group says.

The Denver Streets Partnership released a report Tuesday calling for the city to dedicate $40 million a year over the next 20 years to build out Denver bike, pedestrian and transit networks.

“As our city population continues to boom, we have limited space for cars and therefore must make walking, biking and transit more safe and convenient for everyone,” the report says.

In the report, the group pointed to data showing Denver lagging behind peer cities in funding toward bicycle-and pedestrian-friendly streets and the high rate of traffic fatalities when compared with peer cities like Seattle.

“At current funding levels, about $5 million per year, it would take hundreds of years to build safe sidewalks and bike lanes in every neighborhood,” the group says in the report.

In fact, the group’s report puts Denver well behind cities like Seattle, which has dedicated $30 million in spending for pedestrian and bicycle efforts; Oklahoma City, at $25 million; and Cleveland, at $19 million.

Additionally, just 36 percent of Denverites have access to “frequent, all-day transit service,” 40 percent of Denver streets are missing or have substandard sidewalks and less than one-third of planned bicycle lanes have been built, the report says.

The group outlined a solution:

  • Allocate at least $10 million to build missing sidewalks in parts of the city where 50 percent of the city’s traffic fatalities occur
  • Dedicate $6 million to new bicycle lanes to connect neighborhoods
  • Commit $5 million in spending on safety improvements on Federal Blvd, which has a traffic fatality rate 20 times the average for urban streets in Colorado
  • Devote $ 1 million in funding to low-cost improvements that the group says would enhance street safety immediately.

In a statement, the city told KMGH-Denver7 it has made a slew of improvements to improve the safety of its streets including spending “$15.5M towards investments in bike, pedestrian, transit and Vision Zero Safety improvements since the launch of the plan last year.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s mobility plan sets ambitious goals of reducing the percent of people who drive alone to work from 73 to 50 percent and reducing traffic fatalities from more than 50 per year to zero by 2030.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.