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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyJanuary 26, 20182min815

To address aging infrastructure and enhance safety, Denver and Regional Transportation District officials say they want to redesign the 16th Street Mall.

The largest change under the new design recommendations would be the shifting of transit lanes to the center of the mall, expanding sidewalks and outdoor café seating. Officials say the recommendations are a tweak on plans released last October. If approved, phased construction would begin in 2019 or early 2020 and finish in 2022.

The city said the new design will enhance mobility for the Free MallRide buses, which offer free transit through the outdoor mall and currently serve 40,000 riders daily. Ridership is expected to swell to more than 70,000 per day by 2035.

“As pedestrian traffic and ridership grow in this crucial corridor in the years ahead, our agency is pleased to be working thoughtfully with our partners in determining the best path forward,” RTD CEO and General Manager Dave Genova said in a statement. “We believe the public will appreciate the changes that have been proposed.”

The re-design will honor the mall’s unique look including the patterned carpet design the city says evokes “a Navajo blanket and the floor of the Pantheon” and will make way for more trees.

“We’re keeping the best parts of the Mall, while revitalizing an amazing public space and public amenity,” said Brad Buchanan, executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development.

The project will be funded through a mix of general obligation bond funds, tax increment financing and Federal Transit Administration grants.

For those interested in more details, RTD will host a public meeting on March 8 to field comments and answer questions about the proposed project.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyJanuary 19, 20183min574

Government proceedings can typically be filed away in the mundane or tedious category, that is unless you’re attending a Denver City Council budget planning retreat.

Denverite’s Andrew Kenney detailed the “exciting” proceedings earlier this week — which he said included free coffee and at least one handstand — as the council hashed out its budgetary wish list for 2019.

Topping the list, was housing, development and transportation improvements, but council members are also interested in bolstering the city’s recycling program and rebuilding the Denver Police Department training academy.

In 2019, officials say they want to ask more of the Regional Transportation District. As Kenny notes:

“We are the largest city in the district … but we are not taking positions,” said Councilwoman At large Robin Kniech. “It’s good to be respectful … I would like us to be more assertive.”

Others agreed. “They just elected new leadership of their board, and some of them are people who don’t even advocate for transit, for mobility. They’re more ‘anti’ people than they are ‘pro,’” said Councilwoman At-large Debbie Ortega. “We need to gather and be really vocal and obnoxious.”

And on housing, the council members wants to explore more funding for affordable housing.

The advocacy group All In Denver wants the city to issue new debt — and potentially raise taxes — in order to raise tens or hundreds of millions more dollars to pay for affordable housing, potentially doubling the city’s current affordable housing plan.

(Council President Albus) Brooks said that he wanted to figure out some potential “internal” funding sources for housing, but he acknowledged that the city “may have to go out and ask the voters for something,” such as new bonds.

(Councilmember Paul) Kashmann said the city has “to be more aggressive in providing permanent supportive housing for our community,” adding that the council “is missing an opportunity and a responsibility.”

Read Kenney’s full report here.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningSeptember 29, 20178min1231

Gov. John Hickenlooper and Democratic lawmakers say it’s a simple fix, but Republicans say it’s anything but. As next week’s special legislative session approaches — it’s set to convene Monday — Republican leaders in the Capitol and outside pressure groups are ramping up their opposition and predict the endeavor will be an expensive waste of time. It isn’t the reaction Hickenlooper expected when he issued a formal call for the session earlier in September so lawmakers could correct a drafting error in a tax bill that’s costing some special districts hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.