About WalkDenver

Founded in 2011, WalkDenver is a nonprofit organization committed to reclaiming Denver’s streets for people by making them safe and comfortable for people walking, biking, and taking transit. We transform public space through policy advocacy, tactical urbanism, and community partnerships to make Denver a place where our streets foster health, happiness, and opportunity for all.

Our Vision

Denver’s streets are designed for people and foster health, happiness, and opportunity for all.

Our Mission

To reclaim Denver’s streets for people.

Our Values

  1. Collaboration – We work with decision makers, partners, and community members to create shared goals and implement strategies that increase our collective impact.
  2. Courage – We are willing to create a bold vision, challenge the status quo, ask for what’s needed, and take risks.
  3. Creativity – We will think outside of the box and seek new ideas from others.
  4. Grassroots Engagement – We build relationships with, are responsive to, and work in direct and personal partnership with members of our community to understand the issues, explore what’s desired, develop plans, and implement actions.
  5. Health and Environment – We seek to improve personal, public, and environmental health through changes to the built environment and to raise awareness of these connections.
  6. Imagination – We look beyond what we see today, and envision what’s possible.
  7. Inclusiveness – We recognize the importance of all individuals and strive to lift up the voices of communities that are often overlooked.
  8. Systems Approach – We consider the larger context, underlying causes, and interlinking components that influence the outcomes we care about.

Our Commitment to Equity

WalkDenver believes that access to reliable, affordable, and safe transportation options is essential for addressing systemic disparities in health outcomes and access to housing, education, employment, criminal justice and recreation. Our commitment to equity informs our work in two primary ways:

  1. WalkDenver examines land use and transportation policies through multiple lenses, including race, economic status, family structure, age, ability, and relationship with law enforcement. Equitable implementation prioritizes communities and neighborhoods based on these factors.
  2. WalkDenver staff and board members reflect the makeup and concerns of the City. Board members represent a variety of neighborhoods, and WalkDenver actively cultivates partners with different lived experiences who can fill gaps in the board’s collective perspectives.

Our Goals for 2040

  • Zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries
  • The build-out and maintenance of a complete street network for people walking, riding transit, and biking or riding other “human-scaled” vehicles.*

We will work over the next five years to ensure a sustainable funding system, transportation policies, and street design standards needed to achieve our goals by 2040. These should cover:

  1. New walking, biking, and transit infrastructure and services that fill critical gaps.
  2. Prioritized improvements of existing infrastructure to bring it up to current standards, including universal design standards for accessibility;
  3. Amenities such as trees, greenery, pedestrian-scale lighting, seating, and art that make streets not only safe, but also inviting public places;
  4. Ongoing infrastructure maintenance, including cleaning, snow removal, and repairs;
  5. Ongoing evaluation of infrastructure performance and use, including pedestrian counts, bicycle counts, transit ridership, vehicular speeds, and crash patterns; and
  6. Engineering redesigns of Denver’s most dangerous streets to increase safety for all users

While WalkDenver’s primary focus is on citywide policies and practices, the Vision Zero High Injury Network serves a strategic geographic focus area for research, quick implementation of street design concepts, and community engagement.

Why People-Friendly Streets Are Important

The character of a community’s streets relates to quality of life in a myriad of different ways. A city with people-friendly streets that support walking, biking and transit is:

  • Interconnected, with regular interaction among neighbors, vibrant public spaces, convenient access to opportunity, and enhanced community character
  • Inclusive, with transportation options for people who can’t drive because of age, income, or disability
  • Healthy, where residents experience better health including lower stress, lowered levels of obesity, heart disease, respiratory illness, lower healthcare costs, and increased life expectancy
  • Prosperous, with a flourishing economic sector built on small businesses oriented to serve local, pedestrian-oriented markets
  • Environmentally sustainable, with improved air quality, less reliance on fossil fuels, and a low carbon footprint
  • Safe, where children can play outside and no one is injured or killed in traffic crashes

Despite all of the benefits of people-friendly streets, for many decades the funding, design, and management of Denver’s streets prioritized the movement of vehicles over people. As a result, infrastructure for people walking, biking, and taking transit is very inconsistent throughout Denver and often inadequate. The hostility of Denver’s streets to people not in cars is reflected by the fact that only 7% of Denver commuters walk or bike to work, yet 43% of all traffic fatalities are people walking or biking. In 2018, 21 people walking and 6 people biking were killed in traffic crashes on Denver’s streets. Pedestrian, bicycle, and transit infrastructure is particularly inadequate in low-income communities and communities of color where residents are most likely to rely on walking, biking, or transit to access jobs, education, and basic services. Not surprisingly, traffic fatality rates are also higher in these communities.

Vision Zero is an international movement that challenges the acceptance of traffic fatalities as an unavoidable aspect of modern life. Denver is among a growing number of cities that have committed to the Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries, and WalkDenver is a leader of the Vision Zero movement in our city.

Taking Action

WalkDenver will undertake the following activities aimed at supporting a robust public dialogue about how Denver funds transportation infrastructure and designs our streets to be safe and inviting for everyone, with the ultimate goal of developing new transportation funding mechanisms, policies, and street design standards that put people first.

  • Research and Analysis – Understanding the Problem and Potential Solutions. WalkDenver will stay abreast of the latest transportation industry research, and conduct original research as needed, to develop and maintain a clear understanding of the primary causes of traffic crashes in Denver; the barriers that prevent people from walking, biking, and taking transit; and effective strategies for designing people-friendly streets that support walking, biking, and transit use and prevent crashes from resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.
  • Coalition Building – We Are Greater than the Sum of our Parts. WalkDenver will collaborate with and increase the collective impact of allied organizations working on active transportation, traffic safety, and related issues. We will continue to lead and expand the Denver Streets Partnership (DSP) as a coalition of community-based organizations advocating for people-friendly streets. The DSP coordinates advocacy and community engagement efforts in four main areas: transportation funding, policy development, Vision Zero, and transformation of major corridors into complete streets.
  • Campaign Development – Pushing for Policy Change. WalkDenver will work with the DSP to lead campaigns for increased funding, updated street design standards, and other needed policy changes by collecting petition signatures and support letters, generating media attention, and engaging with public officials to encourage the swift enactment of forward-thinking policies and sustainable funding mechanisms.
  • Participation in City-Led Efforts – Providing a Voice for the People of Denver. WalkDenver will participate in stakeholder and advisory groups for City-led efforts focused on citywide policy development and implementation, such as the Vision Zero Technical Advisory Committee, as well as specific transportation projects, such as the Colfax BRT. In this capacity, WalkDenver will serve to represent the concerns and interests of Denver residents who want to be able to safely walk, bike, and take transit to daily destinations, and to ensure the larger community is aware of and able to provide meaningful input on these plans and projects.
  • Public Outreach and Engagement – Building a Movement. WalkDenver will work to raise awareness of and support for WalkDenver, our mission, and goals; to demonstrate the benefits of people-friendly streets; to understand and address community needs; and to encourage a cultural shift that embraces car-free and car-lite lifestyles. This activity encompasses WalkDenver’s support for the Denver Community Active Living Coalition (an initiative led by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment); neighborhood-based tactical urbanism, placemaking, and similar efforts; advocacy trainings; memorial events, art projects, and educational activities related to Vision Zero; and other high-profile events such as ciclovias.
  • Communications – Telling the Story. WalkDenver will communicate about our policy campaigns, research and analysis, and neighborhood-based projects in a compelling manner to Denver residents, businesses, and city leaders. Communications materials may include videos, infographics, fact sheets, position statements, reports, and blog posts.
  • Leadership Development – Inspiring Decision-Makers. WalkDenver will work to inspire visionary thinking and bold decision-making among policymakers, transportation professionals, senior staff from the City of Denver, and other community leaders. We will work with our partners to organize events such as the Denver Streets for People Summit focused on innovations in mobility and community design that support public health, economic prosperity, and self-sufficiency for all residents.

Click on the links below for more information:

*The terms “bicycles” and “biking” are used throughout this page, and are intended to include other “human-scale” vehicles such as electric scooters.