WalkDenver has a lot do be thankful for in 2019

by Jessica Vargas on December 2, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s that time once again to reflect on the incredible year we’ve had at WalkDenver and give thanks to all the partners, volunteers, and supporters who make our advocacy stronger. Whether you shared a social media post or news story, wrote an email or a valentine card to a city leader, participated in Denver Streets Congress, attended a public meeting, danced at the Valentine’s Day Love-In or Denver’s first Transit Flash Mob, voted yes on ballot measure 2A to convert Denver Public Works to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, raced in one of our Amazing Denver Mobility Races, advocated for safety improvements in your neighborhood or someone else’s… Thank you. We appreciate you. Let’s do even more next year!

This #ThanksgivingWeek, we suggest hopping on your social media or email accounts to share your gratitude for your favorite street design, nice sidewalk, protected bike lane, city leader, advocate, organization, or anyone else who is making your life better. And please consider donating to WalkDenver during next week’s #GivingTuesday campaign on December 3!

Policy Wins: Ensuring people walking are the top priority on all city streets

Earlier this year, we adopted a simple mission for our work: to reclaim Denver’s streets for people. We believe our public streets should be designed for people and foster health, happiness, and opportunity for all. That is why we decided to tackle a number of pressing issues that affect the mobility of people walking, biking, and taking transit. We highlighted the need for better construction detours on our sidewalks and bike lanes, worked with community members to envision a transformation of arterials like Colfax into people-friendly streets, and hit the pavement with public leaders and decision-makers to underscore the need for funding and improvements. 

As part of the Denver Streets Partnership, our advocacy during the Blueprint Denver public input process helped ensure that this citywide land use and transportation plan prioritized people walking and rolling as the heart of our transportation system. Following the update to Blueprint Denver, we also pushed for the City to continue working on updating their Complete Streets guidelines to ensure that any improvements to our streets will reinforce safe speeds, encourage walking, biking, and public transit use, and provide accessibility to all regardless of age, income, physical ability, race or neighborhood.

Thank you to: our fellow DSP member organizations who collaborated on and helped inform our policy work; the public leaders who took the time to meet, walk, and work with us; and everyone who signed our petitions, danced with us, and supported safe streets in their communities.

Vision Zero: Calling on Denver to respond to the crisis on our streets

Since WalkDenver formed the Vision Zero Coalition in 2016, this safety strategy to eliminate all traffic deaths and severe injuries has been at the core of our advocacy. As Denver’s traffic fatality rate continues to increase, our commitment to Vision Zero is stronger than ever. In 2019, we worked hard to bring awareness and urgency to the need for traffic safety improvements. 

The continuation of the Vision Zero Community Art Project brought another new mural to the Colfax corridor, supporting a dialogue among residents, city officials, advocacy groups, and artists about our community values, and how we design our neighborhoods and streets to reflect those values. We also collaborated with Denver residents, businesses, students, and community organizations to design and implement Vision Zero-themed neighborhood projects, including pop-up traffic calming demonstrations and art installations.

We also came together to honor and celebrate the lives of those we have already lost to traffic crashes. By co-hosting the Ride & Walk of Silence back in the spring and the recent World Day of Remembrance candlelight vigil, we hope to remind Denverites of why the goal of Vision Zero is so important. 

Thank you to: the community partners who helped us temporarily build safer streets; our  multiple City & County of Denver partners who made the Vision Zero Community Program and the memorial events possible; and the families of traffic crash victims who let us share their stories.

Little Saigon: Celebrating culture and highlighting placemaking potential on Federal

Last year saw WalkDenver spending a lot of time on Federal Boulevard. From resident-led walks to gathering community stories, it became clear that Denver’s most dangerous street has the potential to become one of its most vibrant and multimodal corridors. In February, we grew our team in order to build momentum for the Friends of Little Saigon initiative. By working with local residents, businesses, and community organizations, we have been able to identify the most desired placemaking enhancements that support the dignity and enjoyment of people walking and accessing transit along Federal.

Drawing upon this community input, we implemented two short-term demonstration projects focused along the South Federal corridor, which used low-cost materials to test out designs that could be installed more permanently in the future. The Little Saigon Night Market and the Mid-Autumn Festival were also community events that invited people to interact with the demonstration projects while celebrating the local multicultural flair of the corridor. We hope to use the information we’ve gathered to continue our collaboration with local stakeholders with the goal of creating a safer, more inviting, and economically vibrant South Federal.

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