In the Media

Denverite – A reader asks: Why do many Denver neighborhoods lack adequate sidewalk infrastructure? Come, walk with us.

November 14, 2018

No American city is really crushing the sidewalk game. Ithaca, New York, is doing a decent job, WalkDenver executive director Jill Locantore says. Residents and business owners there pay an annual fee based on the area’s foot traffic, and the city has special sidewalk districts, kind of like a business improvement district for walking. Kansas City recently passed a bond that transfers the burden to the city, not individual property owners. Then there’s Los Angeles, where the city is spending $1.3 billion to fix sidewalks — because it was sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Major cities in Asia, Europe and South America don’t really have this problem.

“I think in other countries they just build sidewalks like they do streets,” Locantore said. Not building them is a weird American thing.

Denverite – Denver City Council passes $2.4 billion budget with focus on housing and transportation

November 13, 2018

According to sustainable transportation advocates at the Denver Streets Partnership, the city should probably start looking locally for more funding sources — particularly since Proposition 110, a statewide transport funding measure, failed on Election Day.

“I think Denver is willing to be a player,” said Jill Locantore, executive director of WalkDenver and member of the Streets Partnership. “If state measures just continue to fail, Denver should take action at the city or metro-wide scale.”

Funding could come from fees, taxes or shuffling the budget, Locantore said.

Denverite – To give sidewalks the same love that roads get, Denver City Council will consider a tax or fee

October 22, 2018

“In the past two and a half years we have indeed made progress,” said WalkDenver Executive Director Jill Locantore. “We have also seen a growing consensus over the past two and a half years that the city should manage and fund sidewalks just like other transportation — like streets, like bike lanes. Imagine if 40 percent of our streets were unpaved roads.”

Streetsblog Denver – Eyes on the Street: Beach Balls and Paint Calm Car Speeds on 13th Avenue in Capitol Hill

October 1, 2018

People walking have the right of way to cross 13th Avenue in Capitol Hill, but few dare take it. Motorists, not the many people on foot who frequent the dense neighborhood, rule the commercial and residential strip.

That changed for one day, Saturday, when Capitol Hill United Neighbors and WalkDenver plopped some traffic cones, beach balls, and brightly painted car tires down where 13th meets both Marion and Lafayette streets. The materials temporarily extended the curbs, forcing drivers to watch their speed as they drove down a newly slimmed street or turned onto the side streets.

Streetsblog Denver – Mayor Hancock Walked Deadly Federal Blvd and Saw It’s Still Very Broken. Will He Fund a Fix?

September 25, 2018

“Out of Denver’s many streets, Federal Boulevard is probably the biggest affront to human life. Staggering traffic carnage statistics say as much, as do the people who traverse the corridor daily… WalkDenver wants Hancock’s budget to reflect the city’s stated goals of ending traffic deaths instead of piggybacking on long-planned projects and picking low-hanging fruit.”

Streetsblog Denver – Eyes on the Street: Temporary Traffic-Calming Pops Up on South Tejon in Athmar Park

September 11, 2018

“On Saturday, armed with traffic cones, old car tires, some paint, and some planters, reps from the Athmar Park Neighborhood Association and WalkDenver dressed South Tejon Street with three (temporary) safety interventions.”

Streetsblog Denver – Streets Partnership: Hancock’s Budget Needs $23M for Walking and Biking, and You Can Help Tuesday

August 15, 2018

“Just like every year we spend money on roads, every year we need to spend money on sidewalks and bike lanes,” said WalkDenver executive director and Partnership member Jill Locantore. “In fact, it’s even more important, because the streets already exists — the city is just trying to maintain them. While in the case of walking and biking, we’re trying to just finish building out the networks that are woefully incomplete at this point.”

Life On Capitol Hill – ‘Crazy wrecks’ prompt neighborhood traffic safety events near Cheesman Park

August 6, 2018

WalkDenver is a pedestrian advocacy group that works with communities and city officials to find ways to make areas more friendly to walkers. Jessica Vargas, a project coorinator with WalkDenver, said the organization is aiming to make Denver the most walkable city in the country.

“The more people you bring to the area, the more services you bring to the area you need to figure out ways to get people around,” Vargas said.

The organization helps local communities by navigating the permitting process with the city and providing its expertise on walking solutions. WalkDenver is also working on community projects on West Colfax Avenue and at the clover-leaf intersection at Federal Boulevard and Colfax Avenue.

“There’s very simple, quick inexpensive fixes that could be done,” Vargas said. “This is a quick way to demonstrate what those changes would look like.”

Denver Post – Federal Boulevard project will bring headaches for Denver drivers, but promises more safety for pedestrians

July 23, 2018

But while pedestrian advocates praise many of the improvements, some lament that the project leaves out other elements that would boost safety for those on foot. A leader of WalkDenver also points to the project’s addition of a third northbound lane, which is intended to match the existing three travel lanes on the southbound side, as counterproductive to pedestrian safety because it will widen the street. That’s especially so, said executive director Jill Locantore, because the need for turn lanes will keep the new medians from extending all the way to intersections, denying people on foot a midpoint “refuge” while crossing.

Fox31 Denver – Major changes coming to parts of Federal Boulevard

July 19, 2018

“[Federal is] designed like a highway to move a lot of cars at a very high speed, but those cars are traveling through very dense neighborhoods, so there are a lot of people who use Federal Boulevard as their main street. They need to walk on it every day,” WalkDenver executive director Jill Locantore said.

The improvements are all part of a street improvement plan called Denver Vision Zero Action Plan. The goal is to reduce the number of deaths and accidents.

Denver Post – Bike and pedestrian advocates ramp up pressure for Denver to drastically increase spending on projects

July 11, 2018

Denver has set out ambitious plans to add bike lanes along streets and make the increasingly urban city more walkable, but a coalition of advocates called Tuesday for officials to commit far more money to the cause. How much? The Denver Streets Partnership says it would take $40 million a year over the next two decades to fix sidewalk gaps, create more safe street crossings and build out a robust bikeways network.

In an interview after a news conference, Jill Locantore, the executive director of WalkDenver, said about Hancock: “He’s stated these really bold goals. It’s just unclear how he plans to reach them.” The partnership includes WalkDenver, Bicycle Colorado, the American Heart Association, the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition and All In Denver among nine local groups on its steering committee. It’s echoing longstanding calls from some City Council members for a greater city commitment to support pedestrian safety and alternatives to driving.

Streetsblog Denver – If Hancock Wants Streets That Work for All, He Needs to Fund Them

July 11, 2018

Words don’t build infrastructure. Mayor Michael Hancock has said plenty of encouraging things about making walking and biking convenient and safe, but Denver has little to show for it. The city needs reliable investment in better streets, not pleasing sound bites.

That was the message from the Denver Streets Partnership yesterday. The coalition, which includes advocates for sustainable transportation, disabled residents, public health, and affordable housing, released a report calling for a $40 million annual investment in complete streets over the next 20 years.

That would be enough to supply every neighborhood with “a complete sidewalk network” and “bicycle lanes that are separated from vehicular traffic.”

Denver ABC7 – Report: Denver streets unfriendly to pedestrians, cyclists

July 10, 2018

The Denver Streets Partnership says Denver’s growing population and vehicle traffic are contributing to growing safety concerns for those who get around on foot or bicycle. The group released a report Tuesday calling for the city to dramatically increase spending on safety improvements.

“An average of about one person per week is dying in Denver just trying to get where they need to go,” says Jill Locatore, with WalkDenver and the Denver Streets Partnership.

Fox31 Denver – Heavy traffic can make streets unfriendly for cyclists

July 10, 2018

Colfax Avenue and Franklin Street. On any given day, a cornucopia of sights and sounds. Walkers, riders, joggers, scooters and cars. Lots of cars.

What possibly could go wrong? “This was one of the most dangerous intersections in the city of Denver. We have got streets coming in from five different directions,” said Jill Locantore, Walk Denver Executive Director.

This intersection, and many others in Denver, are square in the sights of the Denver Street partnership.

Streets designed for automobiles and not bikes and pedestrians, says the Denver Street partnership, are the main reasons Denver’s streets are unfriendly.

Denverite – Advocates say pedestrians and cyclists face a “public health crisis” in Denver, call for better infrastructure

July 10, 2018

Pedestrians and bicyclists in Denver are facing a “public health crisis,” according to the Denver Streets Partnership, a coalition of advocacy groups who are focusing on making Denver’s streets people-friendly.

“What’s lacking is a sense of urgency,” said Jill Locantore, executive director at WalkDenver. “Every week our city delays making investments in safety improvements to our streets, another life is lost. Since January of this year, 29 people have been killed just trying to get around our city. Sadly, the transportation options that are healthiest and most affordable are also the most deadly in Denver, thanks to poor street design.”

5280 – Even Denver’s Bicycle Cops Don’t Want to Ride on the Streets

June 26, 2018

Jill Locantore, Executive Director of the nonprofit advocacy group WalkDenver, says Tony’s perception of the problem is spot-on. While she acknowledges that bicyclists riding on sidewalks is “definitely something pedestrians are experiencing and frustrated with,” she cautions against making the situation a bikes-versus-pedestrians issue. The real issue? “So much of our public rights of way are dedicated to cars that everybody else is pushed to the fringes and we’re fighting for scraps at the edge of the roadway,” Locantore says.”

Next City – Pop-Up Block Party Closes Part of Major Denver Interchange to Imagine Safer, More Connected City

June 4, 2018

Led by a local business improvement district, the intiative known as Over the Colfax Clover is aiming to redevelop the cloverleaf interchange at West Colfax Avenue and Federal Boulevard, which the community says is unsafe for pedestrians and bikers and doesn’t get enough car traffic to justify its existence, the Denver Post reports.

An estimated 25 people walking and biking were injured by drivers around the interchange from 2012 to 2017, according to the Over the Colfax team, which includes the West Colfax Business Improvement District, WalkDenver and planning firms Michael Baker International and Critter Thompson Consulting, Streetsblog Denver said.

Denver Post – Group takes over Colfax and Federal interchange with mini-festival to show what could be there instead

June 3, 2018

There are two main issues with the interchange, said Anne Kuechenmeister, a consultant with Michael Baker International whose part of the initiative: Safety and connectivity.

Federal Boulevard is the most dangerous road for pedestrians in the state, according to Walk Denver. Twenty-one people have been killed while walking on Federal Boulevard since 2012, seven of them in 2017. The area near the Colfax Avenue intersection has seen the most pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities when compared to other stretches of the road, according to the group.

Streetsblog Denver – Sunday: Reimagine the Colfax-Federal Cloverleaf Interchange as a Place for People, Not Cars

May 31, 2018

The gargantuan highway interchange is a threat to life and limb for people on foot, and west siders are over it. Hence the name of the event: Over the Colfax Clover Design Demonstration.

“It’s not safe,” said Lisa Saenz, vice president of the Sun Valley Community Coalition. She’s been working with other neighborhood advocates for more than a year to redesign the interchange as an at-grade, human-scale intersection — and to get the transformation funded. “You gotta run for your life to cross the street. It’s just sitting there. It’s like a scar. There’s so much needed to be done with it, so why not ask the community about it?”

Drivers injured 25 people walking and biking around the cloverleaf between 2012 and 2017, according to the project team, which includes the West Colfax Business Improvement District, WalkDenver, and planning firms Michael Baker International and Critter Thompson Consulting.

Denverite – You asked: What can Denver do to become more walkable?

May 31, 2018

Narrow and missing sidewalks have long been an issue in Denver. There’s Elyria-Swansea, whose community advocacy around an extreme lack of infrastructure earned them a special earmark of an $18 million sidewalk fund. Councilwoman Kendra Black’s push to improve her south Denver district inevitably broached walkability as it relates to attracting new residents. And last year, a study concluded obese children are more likely to live in areas with substandard sidewalks.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the last years,” said Jill Locantore, who recently took over as executive director of WalkDenver. But, she said, “We still have a long way to go.”

Fox31 Denver – Capitol Hill residents petition city for safety improvements along 13th Avenue

May 30, 2018

In many ways, East 13th Avenue is not unlike other city streets, but pedestrians say there are some serious safety issues.

“Getting out on 13th is always a challenge,” a pedestrian said.

The complaints center on the avenue’s current design. Much like Colfax — with narrow sidewalks — 13th was designed with drivers in mind.

“The planners were thinking about how do we get people in and out of the city, but they weren’t thinking about the role 13th plays for the surrounding neighborhood,” said Jill Locantore with WalkDenver.

Streetsblog Denver – The Longer Mayor Hancock Puts Off Safety Fixes for Federal Blvd, the More Lives Will Be Lost

May 17, 2018

“Each traffic fatality is a human life that was cut short,” said WalkDenver Executive Director Jill Locantore, who leads the coalition. “Each person who died had family members and friends who mourn that loss. The best way that we can honor the lives that have been lost is by dedicating our hearts and dedicating our minds to making streets and communities more safe.”

Mourners wrote postcards to Hancock in support of the funding, which the coalition will hand-deliver to the mayor’s office.

“It’s a commemorating night to remember the lives that have been lost over the last year and a half,” said Kristin Smith, a board member with WalkDenver. “It’s also a night to celebrate the fact that we’re all here together, choosing to connect, choosing to be here, choosing to not give up.”

Denverite – Federal Boulevard’s set for pedestrian fixes, but “hundreds of millions” needed for neighborhoods’ vision

May 10, 2018

The city of Denver is almost ready to spend $2.9 million to make Federal Boulevard safer for pedestrians, possibly as soon as next year.

But business and safety advocates want it to happen faster, and they want to see a much bigger commitment to improvements on the notoriously dangerous road.

“It’s going to take hundreds of millions of dollars to build out that complete vision,” said Jill Locantore, executive director of Walk Denver. “And we need to start now.”

Denver ABC7 – Neon painted utility boxes along East Colfax shed light on Denver’s traffic violence

April 24, 2018

“Human life and well-being should be the most important consideration when we’re making decisions about how to design our streets and our communities,” Jill Locantore said.

She is the executive director of WalkDenver.

It was her team, a group of East High School Students, artists and others who transformed 14 utility boxes along East Colfax.

Passersby said the boxes served as beacons of brightness along the active avenue.

Streetsblog Denver – Changing How Denver Views Traffic Violence Through Art

April 20, 2018

Motorists speeding down East Colfax Avenue will catch a glimpse of neon zeros popping off of once drab utility boxes and get curious about what they mean. People walking will get drawn in by the funky, electric paint job on the other side and read snippets about Denverites whose lives were cut short by preventable incidents of traffic violence.

These are the hopes of WalkDenver Executive Director Jill Locantore and the team of high school students, artists, city workers, and businesses who helped create Denver’s first public art project dedicated to spotlighting traffic deaths.

Streetsblog Denver – Denver’s Failing to Alert the Public About Traffic Fatalities

April 3, 2018

“There is no mechanism by which we receive notifications of traffic fatalities or serious injuries,” said WalkDenver Executive Director Jill Locantore, who leads the coalition. “We’re at the mercy of the police department just like everyone else if they happen to tweet something out.”

Denver could use a timely, accurate accounting of serious traffic crashes, instead of the haphazard system we have now. Without up-to-date information, it’s harder for reporters and the public to track progress and hold officials accountable.

Locantore would like to see a sort of online police scanner that pushes news of traffic deaths and serious injuries to anyone who signs up. She pointed to San Diego, which employs a messaging service called Nixle to text and email updates.

Confluence Denver – Denver trails behind in the race for people-powered transportation

March 14, 2018

Roughly 40 percent of Denver’s city streets have no sidewalk or poorly maintained sidewalks, according to the 2017 “Denver Moves Pedestrians & Trails” draft plan, a study initiated by Mayor Michael Hancock’s Denveright planning initiative, but which faces massive funding hurdles in order to meet the city’s active transportation needs.

Walk Denver Executive Director Jill Locantore breaks down the numbers even further. “Ten percent of the streets don’t have sidewalks at all, and an additional 30 percent of our streets have substandard sidewalks, meaning they’re too narrow for a person in a wheelchair or a parent in a stroller or even for two people to walk side-by-side,” she says. “That forces people to walk in the street with the cars, and oftentimes the design of the street encourages cars to go very fast.”

Streetsblog Denver – Walk on Federal Boulevard? Share Your Story to Pressure CDOT, Hancock’s DPW for Safety Fixes

March 2, 2018

While conditions on Federal have gotten attention from the Colorado Department of Transportation and Denver Public Works, WalkDenver wants to ramp up pressure by helping people who have to navigate the street tell their stories.

It’s called the Vision Zero Photovoice Project. The pedestrian advocacy group is teaming up with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, the University of Denver, and PCs for People to share the human effects of a shoddy Federal Boulevard. Anyone who lives, works, or spends a significant amount of time around Federal can apply to tell their stories.

Denver Metro Media – WalkDenver to install artwork along Colfax

March 1, 2018

The Vision Zero Community Art Project, led by the Denver Vision Zero Coalition—a group of organizations like WalkDenver who support Mayor Hancock’s adopted Vision Zero program to decrease traffic-related deaths and injuries—have been working on an art installation for the Colfax corridor. Denver muralist Pat Milbery and East High School art students are designing a mural to raise awareness about traffic safety. Milbery and the students will welcome input from the community to help settle on a design. The Vision Zero Community Art Project aims to address issues of traffic safety along Denver’s Colfax corridor by installing these murals in areas of high pedestrian and vehicle interactions.

Streetsblog Denver – WalkDenver Names Jill Locantore Executive Director

February 7, 2018

WalkDenver, Denver’s biggest pedestrian advocacy organization, has named Jill Locantore executive director.

With four years of experience at WalkDenver under her belt, Locantore replaces founder Gosia Kung, who stepped down at the end of last year.

I sat down with Locantore last week to talk about her strategy for WalkDenver and what it will be advocating for.

Denverite – West Colfax neighbors envision major changes to Federal Boulevard interchange

February 6, 2018

Walk Denver recently counted that more than 200 people per day walk across Federal Boulevard and West Colfax Avenue. The mobility-minded organization found that the number goes up during events and games at the nearby Mile High Stadium. Some of those pedestrians might be accessing the Decatur-Federal transit station to the south.

“If you look at it you’re like, ‘This is so hostile to pedestrians. Why would anybody actually walk here?’” said Jill Locantore, newly named executive director of Walk Denver.

“The Colfax-Federal cloverleaf is just a perfect example of a street that is just incredibly dangerous for people who are walking, biking or trying to access transit,” Locantore said.

Streetsblog Denver – Why Federal Boulevard Is Denver’s Deadliest Street — And How to Fix It

January 4, 2018

WalkDenver has been pushing the Colorado Department of Transportation and Denver Public Works to fix Federal now, not later. After another year with an obscene death toll, the organization is putting out a call to action.

“With a traffic fatality rate 20 times the average for urban streets in Colorado, Federal Boulevard presents a serious public health problem,” said WalkDenver Associate Director Jill Locantore. “We know how to make Federal safer for everyone, and there’s no excuse for failing to act quickly. People’s lives are at stake.”

9News Denver – Should Denver consider changing responsibility for sidewalks?

December 20, 2017

A recent survey showed 40 percent of the city’s sidewalks were either in disrepair, not up to code or completely missing.

“The fact that a huge proportion of our city sidewalks are in bad condition tells us that the current system doesn’t work very well,” Jill Locantore with Walk Denver told Next.

Locantore suggested the city look at other models of caring for sidewalks.

Streetsblog Denver – Draft Pedestrian Plan Diagnoses Denver’s Walkability Problem But Falls Short on Solutions

November 30, 2017

“We think the document does an excellent job of positioning the city to be more proactive about building out the sidewalk network and creating safe pedestrian crossings,” said WalkDenver Associate Director Jill Locantore. “I mean, that’s a huge step forward for the city of Denver. It does fall short in setting out a target time frame by which it will actually build out the network.”

Locantore said the document is also “incomplete” because it fails to address the need to reduce speeding and calm car traffic. A continuous sidewalk network is just the starting point for a walkable city — people also need to feel safe and comfortable while they’re walking around. If you’ve got sidewalks but people still have to cross wide, high-speed streets where drivers whip around corners, you don’t have a pedestrian friendly city.

CBS4 Denver – Federal Boulevard Changes Include Focus On Pedestrian Safety

September 25, 2017

A man crossing Federal Boulevard in June nearly was struck by one car and then the next day was hit by a different car while he tried to cross that same street. His death is one of several the non-profit Walk Denver has counted so far this year.

“This really is an urgent public health issue,” said Jill Locantore with the group. “People are literally dying just trying to get around on Federal.”

Vision Zero hopes to address spots along Federal Boulevard that are not safe for people trying to walk along the street or cross at intersections. The goal of the initiative launched by the City is to have zero traffic deaths by 2030.

Walk Denver advocates for aggressive plans like Vision Zero and wants to make Denver the most walkable city in the country.

Streetsblog Denver – Speak Up for a Walkable, Transit-Friendly Quebec Street

September 22, 2017

Pedestrian advocates WalkDenver stopped short of calling for an end to the widening, but are calling for any new lanes to prioritize buses, not cars.

“Simply widening Quebec would just create more traffic, encourage speeding, and make the street less safe for everyone,” said WalkDenver Policy Director Jill Locantore. “With new sidewalks and dedicated transit lanes on Quebec, more people could travel more safely along the corridor, without relying on their personal vehicles to get where they need to go.”

North Denver Tribune – On the street where you live: sidewalks?

September 13, 2017

How to pay for needed improvements? WalkDenver’s goal is to have the city treat sidewalks like other infrastructure, said Jill Locantore, WalkDenver’s policy and program director. “The bottom line is we would like the city to proactively address the need to build, upgrade, and repair sidewalks in a comprehensive manner, so that every Denver neighborhood has the basic infrastructure that people need to safely get around on foot,” Locantore said.

Streetsblog Denver – WalkDenver to Mayor Hancock: Make Federal Blvd a Safe Place to Travel Now, Not Later

September 8, 2017

Following the deaths of Raymond Sanchez and Tina Padilla in a three-day span late last month, WalkDenver is demanding that the Hancock administration make physical fixes to the street and enact policy changes to make Federal a safe place for everyone, rather than a speedway where people cross at the risk of death.

In a letter to its members, the group called on Hancock’s streets department to slow down drivers and prioritize people walking with simple engineering fixes, and to dedicate space for buses that would eliminate conflict between vehicles and people boarding and disembarking. WalkDenver also wants state legislators to broaden permitted use of electronic speed enforcement.

Confluence Denver – The 5280 Loop: Linking Neighborhoods, Rethinking the Way People Get Around Denver

August 9, 2017

The concept has the support of local pedestrian and bike advocates. “We see the downtown loop as a great pilot program that can inform policies that would allow improvements to be made throughout the city,” says Jill Locantore, associate director of the group WalkDenver. “We’re kind of the cheerleaders of the project. Our main focus is on city-wide policies and practices.”

“Even though downtown Denver is probably the most walkable and bikeable part of the city, there are key pinch points where it’s difficult to get from one side of the street to the other,” said Locantore. “The 5280 Loop, we hope, will address some of those key barriers that make it difficult to get, not only around downtown, but into and out of downtown.”

Denverite – Grading Denver’s Vision Zero draft action plan to make walking and biking safer

August 7, 2017

Denver’s Vision Zero Coalition, a group that includes Walk Denver and other nongovernmental players, was a part of the TAC as well. The coalition also successfully advocated for slower speeds to be a part of Denver’s Vision Zero plan.

Confluence Denver – What If All of Denver Bikers and Walkers Banded Together? They Have, and They Want Safer Streets

June 14, 2017

If the [Denver Streets Partnership] succeeds, the lion’s share of the increased funding will go to more and better sidewalks. “It really is a citywide problem,” says Jill Locantore, associate director of WalkDenver. “It’s remarkable how widespread it is. They have to function as a network. If there’s a sidewalk on half of a block and not the other half of a block, it doesn’t function as a sidewalk.”

She points to Globeville and Elyria-Swansea in northeast Denver as neighborhoods where the pedestrian infrastructure is particularly lacking.

One problem is that the property owners are responsible to build and maintain adjacent sidewalks by a city ordinance that’s rarely enforced. “People are shocked when they find out the city doesn’t pay for this critical piece of infrastructure,” says Locantore.

About a quarter of the city’s streets have no sidewalks at all, and 40 percent of the existing sidewalks are not accessible to those with disabilities. It’s estimated that about $600 million is needed to build out Denver’s sidewalks, ongoing maintenance not included.

At the current rates of municipal spending, says Locantore, “It would take hundreds of years to build out a sidewalk network.”

Streetsblog Denver – Here’s a Logic-Ridden Presentation on the Urgent Need to Make Denver People-Friendly

May 19, 2017

Denver’s growth spurt has forced us to a fork in the road: Continue to shape the city around cars and the hostile streets they engender, or begin to undo the mistakes of last century by prioritizing people. That’s what Blueprint Denver, the city’s forthcoming land use and transportation plan, should remedy. Blueprint is part of the Hancock administration’s Denveright planning overhaul.

The people behind the plan come from all walks of the city, and one of them is Jill Locantore, associate director of WalkDenver. She gave a presentation last month at a Blueprint Denver task force meeting that deserves more eyes and ears than were present that day. (Trust me, I go to a lot of these meetings, and they’re rarely this juicy.)

Enjoy: Jill Locantore Drops Mic at Blueprint Denver Meeting

Streetsblog Denver – Walk and Ride of Silence Memorializes the People Who’ve Died in Denver Traffic

May 18, 2017

The Denver Vision Zero Coalition and people who’ve lost loved ones on the city’s poorly designed streets gathered yesterday to remember the victims, in the hope that future tragedies will be prevented.

About 70 people met at the intersection of Colfax and Park on an overcast Wednesday evening, carrying roses and wearing flowers around their necks. From there, they walked and biked to Cheesman Park, escorted by police officers and wrapped in silence, in remembrance of the people killed in traffic on Denver streets.

Denverite – Watch Sunnyside paint a new street mural to improve walkability

May 16, 2017

The likeness of the Trevista school’s mascot, Frankie the Falcon, now adorns the street in front of the school. His radiating blue feathers are a beacon to slow drivers down. His presence is also a reward for neighbors’ hard work in charting the neighborhood’s walkability.

Last year, Walk Denver, the city’s advocates for pedestrians, challenged neighborhoods to collect data on sidewalks and intersections for WalkScope, an interactive guide to each of Denver’s blocks. Sunnyside, Barnum and Valverde came out as the winners.

9News Denver – New street mural in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood to promote active living

May 13, 2017

The mural is part of citywide project stemming from a three-year grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The grant money comes from taxes on tobacco which is used for Healthy Eating and Active Living programs, or H.E.A.L. “With the grant, we are collecting a lot of data about actual walking and biking conditions,” Kayla Gilbert, the city’s Active Living coordinator, said. “This information is information we’ve never had before at the city level so we’re really using it to prioritize on a wider scale where to put improvements for walking and biking.”

To help with the city’s efforts, a competition between neighborhoods was created. Last May, the city held a data collection challenge and asked teams to compete to collect the most data about sidewalks and intersections n their neighborhoods for two weeks. The Sunnyside neighborhood was among the three teams that won the challenge. “They won funds to create their own neighborhood design walkability project,” Gilbert said. Sunnyside chose the mural which volunteers painted Saturday morning.

Denver ABC7 – Newly-formed coalition calls for $40 million a year for bike, pedestrian projects

April 12, 2017

The Denver Streets Partnership, which is made up of Bicycle Colorado, BikeDenver, Denver B-cycle, Denver Cruiser Ride, WalkDenver and the Denver Vision Zero Coalition, is asking city leaders to dedicate $40 million a year to improving sidewalks, bike facilities and access to transit.

The group presented a letter to Mayor Michael Hancock and members of the Denver City Council on Tuesday introducing itself and its goals. Jill Locantore, Associate Director of WalkDenver, said the various organizations in the group realized it was important to combine their efforts toward a common goal.

“We all individually had been advocating for increased funding in different areas,” Locantore said. “We thought there’d be real value in all of us coming together to speak with a unified voice.”

Streetsblog Denver – Denver Public Works Now Convenes “Rapid Response Teams” After Fatal Crashes

March 30, 2017

Locantore says it’s been helpful to work closely with the police officers who respond to traffic crashes day in and day out. They understand enforcement, but they’re not trained as engineers or city planners, which is where DPW and advocates come in.

“That’s not a fun part of their job, and they want us to collectively as a city to do whatever we can to address traffic fatalities,” Locantore says. “But because they don’t understand street design, they often have a little bit of a fatalistic attitude, that there’s only so much we can do.

“To me, the value is relationship building. To know each other as human beings is incredibly important to be able to work together on these issues going forward.”

Confluence Denver – Getting Over the Cloverleaf: Federal and Colfax Interchange a Barrier for West Side

March 22, 2017

Most agree the cloverleaf is a barrier out of the 1950s. What’s been lacking is money and will. “I think it’s intimidating,” says Gosia Kung, founder and executive director of WalkDenver. “It’s been talked about for a long time but here’s never been enough political will to move it forward.”

No one really knows just how much it would cost to say, make the interchange an at-grade intersection and restore the original street grid. The West Colfax Business Improvement District and WalkDenver are trying to come up with that figure, but first they need a concept. The organizations are heading a planning and design process called Over the Colfax Clover. The goal? Collaborate with community members and key partners like CDOT, RTD and Denver Public Works to come up with a design and identify “creative funding solutions.” The group will even host an event in one of the clover leaves this summer to show its potential.

Denver ABC7 – What’s the deal with Denver’s crumbling (and nonexistent) sidewalks?

March 15, 2017

If a property owner fails to make necessary repairs to a sidewalk, a city crew will do the work at the owner’s expense. The result of this policy is a sort of patchwork of sidewalks. Some areas have sidewalks and some don’t, while some sidewalks are well-maintained and others are in a state of total disrepair.

It’s an issue the associate director of advocacy group WalkDenver calls a serious safety hazard. Jill Locantore said her organization has spent years trying to get Denver officials to take pedestrian needs more seriously. “We want them to treat sidewalks like other basic infrastructure in the city,” Locantore said.

Not only are bad sidewalks a safety issue, Locantore said, but placing the responsibility of upkeep on property owners puts an undue burden on low-income residents. Some of the biggest problem areas are low-income neighborhoods where homeowners can’t afford the financial burden of building and maintaining sidewalks.

WalkDenver’s ‘Denver Deserves Sidewalks’ campaign urges the city to change its policy and come up with a dedicated source of funding for building and maintaining sidewalks citywide. Other metro-area cities, such as Westminster and Englewood, add a surcharge to residents’ utility bills to fund sidewalk projects.

Denver Post – Where the sidewalk ends: In Denver, too many places

February 14, 2017

Jill Locantore with WalkDenver said the sidewalk network in the city is not functioning properly. The city must take over, and she said ideally there would be a permanent funding source for maintenance of existing sidewalks and construction of missing segments.

CBS Denver – Victim Of Devastating Crash Meets With Mayor About Pedestrian Safety

February 14, 2017

Tuesday afternoon, Bridgeman and supporters of the Safe Streets for Denver campaign, part of the Denver Vision Zero Coalition, walked and biked from Union Station to the Denver City and County Building.

Bridgeman met Hancock and asked for his support in making changes to safer speeds. She also hopes he will consider changes to street designs around the city.

“Mayor Hancock, I would like you to make our busy city streets safer,” Bridgeman said. “I don’t want what happened to me happening to anyone, ever.”

Streetsblog Denver – Students ask Hancock to overhaul Dangerous High-Speed Streets

February 14, 2017

Last year, 61 people lost their lives on Denver streets — the most since 2005. “We have the knowledge and the tools to prevent traffic crashes from ending in tragedy,” said Jill Locantore, associate director of WalkDenver. “We know that speed is the leading cause of fatal crashes. The difference between a driver who hits a pedestrian going 20 miles per hour versus 40 miles per hour is the difference between life and death. We also know how to design streets for safe speeds.”

Confluence Denver – Grad students help design a more walkable Montbello

January 12, 2017

WalkDenver, in its latest partnership with CU Denver graduate students, is tackling walkability issues in northeast Denver’s Montbello neighborhood….

WalkDenver reports that more than 90 percent of students at McGlone Academy and Maxwell Elementary — part of its 10 school Safe Routes to School Travel Plan project — live within a mile of their respective campuses and don’t have school buses, meaning that children in the area walk, bike or are driven to school. In making the assessments, the CU Denver students performed on-site audits, researched demographic data interviewed local residents and used the WALKscope tool.

Denver Post – Denver officials hashing out ways to help pay for sidewalks

January 3, 2017

Jill Locantore, policy and program director for pedestrian advocacy group WalkDenver, said she’s encouraged by the city’s discussions.

“The ultimate goal that we’re focused on is treating sidewalks like any other type of infrastructure in the city,” she said, in “the same way we treat the streets or the sewer system — where the city takes a comprehensive approach to building a complete network and maintaining that network over time.”

Denverite – Denver has a huge trails and transit system, but a missing piece may keep it from being used

December 22, 2016

To simulate the journey, I called up Gosia Kung, founder of the nonprofit WalkDenver, and made her try to find the station.

Coming out of Gate 1, we found signs for gates, parking and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame — but not the light rail station, which sees a huge spike on game days, according to RTD.

“Trying to find a way out of here and look for a light rail station, there’s no indication where to go,” Kung said.

Streetsblog Denver – Denver Council Narrows the Options to Fund a City Sidewalk Network

December 21, 2016

An optional fee would have to be paired with “an aggressive enforcement program,” so there’s incentive to buy in, said WalkDenver Policy Director Jill Locantore. “We’re looking for a comprehensive solution and we’re open to exploring all these different strategies, but the devil’s in the details… The fact they’re even considering this is a step in the right direction.”

Denver Public Works estimates it would cost $475 million to bring the city’s sidewalk network up to snuff, while WalkDenver, a major force behind the sidewalk initiative, puts that number closer to $600 million.

Denver Post – Enough talk on Denver sidewalk woes, time to walk

December 14, 2016

“Some communities lack the combined income needed to tackle projects of this nature, and it would be a shame if the solution failed to assist poorer neighborhoods.

That’s how we fear an incentive program would play out. The incentives might tip the scales to allow a middle-class neighborhood to mobilize, but it could leave poorer neighborhoods behind. The public right now can help identify sidewalk woes by using the city’s reporting tool:

Denver Post – Denver council approves $1.9B budget that includes more cops, affordable housing fund — but little for sidewalks

November 14, 2016

The council faced pressure to address sidewalk gaps during an Oct. 24 public hearing on the budget, including from Walk Denver executive director Gosia Kung.

“Just sidewalks alone — $2.5 million is just a drop in the bucket for a need that’s right now estimated at $475 million,” Kung said. “So we would like to encourage City Council and the mayor to take bold action and dedicate more funding — and find new funding sources — to support our pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, so that we can live up to our aspiration of being a healthy and active city.”

Streetsblog Denver – WalkDenver Wants to Help Residents Take First Step Towards a Car-Lite Life

October 25, 2016

“How easy is it to walk a mile? Bike to the store? Take transit to work instead of driving? If you live in West Denver, probably not as easy as it should be. Still, if you drive most places, it might be easier than you realize. That’s why WalkDenver just launched Project Shift. It’s a program that aims to help West Denver residents ditch their car more often and go car-lite or, if they’re ready, try living without a personal car altogether. The project is twofold: helping residents use active transportation options that already exist, and teaching them how to advocate for more.”

Fox 31 Denver – Colfax business districts want $500,000 from city council for improvements

September 27, 2016

“Colfax was originally designed to move automobiles and it moves a lot of them very quickly, which makes it a very dangerous environment for pedestrians,” said Jill Locantore, program director for Walk Denver.

Streetsblog Denver – Denver Council Weighs Three Options to Fix Broken Sidewalk Network

August 11, 2016

“Finding a secure and sustainable funding source to treat pedestrian infrastructure as an essential part of the transportation network — especially in low-income neighborhoods — is what Denver needs most.”

Next City – Denver’s First Mile/Last Mile Disconnect: Sidewalks

July 14, 2016

“The city should have a good proactive program for going out and fixing the sidewalks when they need to, in the same way that they go out and fix the potholes and the roadway rather than leaving it up to individual property owners to take care of it,” says Jill Locantore, policy and program director for WalkDenver.

Denver Urbanism – Damaged Road? Fix It Immediately! Damaged Sidewalk? Forget It!

June 21, 2016

“The current policy itself is absurd. Can you imagine if the city took the same policy approach and required property owners to fix the potholes in the streets in front of their homes? What we need in Denver is for the city to treat sidewalks as critical transportation infrastructure that’s on equal standing with streets, with the city taking responsibility for the construction and maintenance of our public sidewalk network.”

Streetsblog Denver –  Now It’s Up to City Council to Solve Denver’s Sidewalk Woes

April 1, 2016

“Fundamentally, one of the biggest flaws in the current policy is that it’s just really inefficient to build a transportation network one property at a time,” said WalkDenver Policy Director Jill Locantore. “Imagine if this is how we managed our streets — if it was a disconnected set of fragments and we just patiently waited for private property owners to fill in the gaps whenever they had the time and the wherewithal to do so.”

Denver Post – Editorial: Denver must make sidewalks a priority, too

March 26, 2016

“With the streets,” [Denver City Councilman Paul] Kashmann reminded us, “we go around and establish needs and set priorities and then make fixes.” It’s time that a similar process applied to sidewalks, too.

Denver Post – Keegan: Stop talking about sidewalks; build them

March 4, 2016

“Although no citizen ever wants to pay more taxes, building and maintaining sidewalks is a perfect example of how taxpayer dollars should be spent, where everyone kicks in money to accomplish as a group what cannot feasibly be done by individuals.”

Denver Post – Denver panel hears earful on impact of missing and crumbling sidewalks

February 24, 2016

“I don’t have options,” said Stewart Tucker Lundy, who uses a wheelchair and is a member of the Denver Commission for People with Disabilities. “If the sidewalk is obstructed, that is me not going to my job. If that sidewalk is not there or is nonexistent, you’re looking at a person who is not contributing to society.”

Denver Post – What should Denver do about its aging sidewalks?

February 19, 2016

“Appeals from the advocacy group WalkDenver and residents across the city are gaining new traction at city hall . . . Council members including Paul Kashmann, who’s chairing a new council working group on sidewalks, say it’s time for the city to reconsider its policy and take on the responsibility — or find ways to help residents pay the tab.”

Washington Park Profile –  Advocacy Group Proposes City Manage Sidewalk Repairs

February 4, 2016

“Sidewalks are the most basic infrastructure you need for a complete transit system, including connections to other transportation,” says WalkDenver Policy and Program Director Jill Locantore. “Everyone is a pedestrian and so sidewalks are the foundation of a great city.”

Out Front – On your feet, Denver!

February 3, 2016

“We are finding that people don’t ride [public transit] as much as we hoped because they can’t access it,” says local walking advocate Gosia Kung. “Sidewalks have not been funded in the last 50 or 60 years.”

5280 Magazine – The Imitation Game

January, 2016

“If pedestrians don’t have sidewalks, crosswalks, and lighting that connect them to transit stops, they’re not going to use public transportation. A 2015 WalkDenver survey revealed many of our first- and last-mile connections need upgrades, with sidewalks requiring the most help. In Denver, property owners pick up the tab for sidewalks, so wealthy areas can pay for nice ones and poorer neighborhoods can’t.”

Denver Post – It’s not about congestion, it’s about freedom

(Op-Ed by WalkDenver Policy and Program Director Jill Locantore)

May 23, 2015

“Solving congestion might be out of reach for Denver, but ultimately, congestion isn’t the problem we should be trying to solve. The bigger problem is that many Denver residents don’t have any options other than driving to their daily destinations.”

Streetsblog Denver – Why Denver Needs to Get Serious About Street Safety and Adopt Vision Zero

May 4, 2015

“We’re hopeful that with the input of the newly established committee, the city will start embracing strategies that more directly address pedestrian safety, particularly in low-income neighborhoods that tend to have the highest pedestrian fatality rates,” said Jill Locantore, policy director with pedestrian advocacy group WalkDenver. “We’re disappointed, however, that the city is continuing to prioritize automobile traffic by widening roadways, such as Broadway near I-25.”

Confluence Denver – Voice of Denver: It’s Time to Become a Walkable City 

(Commentary by WalkDenver Board Chair Gideon Berger)

April 15, 2015

“We face the challenge of how to create sustainable neighborhoods with the quality of life we desire as more people choose (or need) to live in the economic engines of 21st century America — our cities. WalkDenver, our only pedestrian advocacy organization (and whose board I chair), thinks one of the keys to meeting that challenge is by allowing Denver to be a city where walking is the easiest and best way to get around for many of our trips.”

Confluence Denver – 10 Denver Transportation Stories to Watch

February 25, 2015

WalkDenver’s Jill Locantore penned a DenverUrbanism post in Nov. 2014 that called Brighton Boulevard “a harrowing place for pedestrians” and argued that $26 million pegged for improvements in the 2015 budget offer an opportunity to turn the street into “a true pedestrian paradise.”

Washington Park Profile – Hey, Denver: On Your Feet – Or – Two Wheels!

January 14, 2015

While the bicycle community has been gaining traction in transportation planning circles over the past decade, pedestrians have been largely overlooked. Jill Locantore and compatriots at WalkDenver are out to change that dynamic.

KUNC – What 24 Hours of Walking Around Denver Looks Like

December 5, 2014

Jill Locantore, the director of WalkDenver, a nonprofit working to make Denver the most walkable city in the country, points out that there are very walkable areas in the city, but other areas are much less accessible. She said current Denver policy places responsibility for sidewalks squarely on the adjacent private property owner.

“So that’s resulted in a situation where we have a very inconsistent system where the sidewalk will literally start and stop on the same block, and also these gross disparities where wealthy neighborhoods have a beautiful well connected pedestrian network and low income neighborhoods that are the most dependent on walking as a form of transportation really have the least adequate pedestrian infrastructure,” Locantore said.

Confluence Denver – Civic Crowdfunding: Money from the Masses for Downtown Denver Bike Lane

November 5, 2014

For the Arapahoe bike lane, the DDP selected [the crowdfunding platform] ioby because it’s “not all or nothing and low fees,” says McCallum. A pair of other projects in Denver have raised funds on the platform: a pedestrian push in Jefferson Park from WalkDenver that raised $8,828 and a $5,746 project to make more playful bus stops in northwest Denver.

Confluence Denver – The Alliance Center, Colorado’s Hub for Sustainability

August 20, 2014

WalkDenver Policy and Program Director Jill Locantore touts the flexibility of working at the building. “You can pick and choose what you need,” she says.

Locantore, who works from a desk on the first floor, commends the ideas and work that went into the renovation. “I love the building,” she says. “It’s fantastic. They did a really nice job bringing in daylight,” adding, “Everything is nice — that’s the other nice thing about working in a freshly renovated building.”

But she says it’s more than a slick new workspace — it’s really about Powers’ vision of people working together. “Co-locating with all of these allied and like-minded organizations makes it so easy to collaborate.”

Confluence Denver – WALKscope helps Denver Address Walkability Weaknesses

July 10, 2014

WalkDenver introduced WALKscope, a new online app that allows people — anywhere in Denver and some surrounding areas — to quickly identify and add to a database of pedestrian issues. Already the organization is harnessing the app’s power to create reports on pedestrian issues near schools, to make them safer who students who walk, bike or skate to school.

Colorado Public Radio – In exercise-crazed Denver, city’s walkability surprisingly low 

April 17, 2014

Gosia Kung  is a Denver-based architect and urban planner whose organization WalkDenver advocates for a pedestrian-friendly environment. The organization has recently launched an app called WALKscope, which allows residents and visitors to collect data about where sidewalks are available and the safety of various intersections. According to WalkDenver, “This information will help create an inventory of pedestrian infrastructure in Denver, identify gaps and build the case for improvements.” 

Confluence Denver – Denver — Walkable City of the Future?

April 10, 2013

Gosia Kung is an architect and urban designer who started WalkDenver with fellow members of a Downtown Denver Partnership leadership program that was part of the “Work Well, Live Well” program. “There’s really nobody advocating for people on foot,” says Kung, whose firm, Kung Architecture, focuses on sustainable residential and commercial work. “Our group decided to do that.” Eighteen months later, it’s cultivated about 200 volunteers.

North Denver Tribune – 25th Ave poised for change

July 5, 2012

A lively urban experiment transformed drowsy West 25th Avenue for a day, but the street seems destined for a resurgence lasting longer than that.

Westword – Better Block project transforms Jefferson Park Spot

June 25, 2012

Sometimes, it takes a village. On Saturday, it took a neighborhood. From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day, residents, community organizers and nonprofit volunteers gathered for Denver’s first Better Block project, which re-created West 25th Avenue from Federal Boulevard to Eliot Street. The makeover attracted more than 1,500 visitors to re-imagine the area as a more colorful, pedestrian-friendly environment — one that organizers hope to make a permanent reality.

KUVO – Making Denver Better, 1 Block At a Time

June 20, 2012

“Making Denver better one block at a time.” A lofty goal, but there’s no reason it won’t work here. That’s the view of architect and urban planner Gosia Kung, who is part of the neighborhood team behind this Saturday’s “Better Block Jefferson Park.”

5280 – Walk This Way

June, 2012

Every day, tens of thousands of Denverites and Mile High visitors stroll the bustling 16th Street Mall and the tree-lined sidewalks that crisscross Cherry Creek. But pedestrians aren’t as abundant elsewhere in our fair city where residents are quick to hop in their cars. A new organization called WalkDenver—founded by local architect Gosia Kung—aims to change that four-wheels-first habit.

Colorado Public Radio – Getting Denverites to Hit the Pavement

April 4, 2012

Today, our show focuses on walkability. We’ll look at efforts to get people walking in metro Denver. One approach is called the “Better Block Project.” This summer, a lifeless block in northwest Denver will be transformed into a bustling business district. The hope is to show people that making changes to an area can inspire folks to get out and walk. We’ll talk with Gosia Kung of WalkDenver, who is organizing the project. It’s planned for June 23rd on West 25th Avenue in north Denver, between Federal and Elliot. – WalkDenver – the antidote to car culture

March 13, 2012

There’s nothing like a beautiful spring-like day to get people outside walking.  Humans are built to walk.  It’s the original form of transportation, and millions of years later it still works fine.  Or would, if we actually walked for transportation.  Unfortunately the modern built environment has conspired to force everyone into a car.

Westword – Walk Denver, new nonprofit, pushes toward sustainable, pedestrian-friendly transportation

February 24, 2012

“A few months after meeting in coffee shops in July 2011, the group gained official nonprofit status and the name Walk Denver, modeled after it’s bicycle-friendly partner. Today, approximately fifteen volunteers and organizers front the group, which is financially sponsored by the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center. Profiled in the New York Times last week, Walk Denver has become both a player and an impetus in the city’s overall plan to advance options for sustainable transportation.”

The New York Times – Denver is Urged to Hit the Sidewalks

February 13, 2012

“It is the physical space of a city, Ms. Kung said on a recent walk through downtown, that creates a pedestrian’s view of the world. Ample sidewalks are crucial, she said, but they provide only the means of access to an environment that must then reward walkers through attractions like shopping and entertainment that cater specifically to foot traffic.”