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Analysis: Denver's 20-Year Vision for Not-Quite-Complete Streets

The Denveright plan puts pedestrians first, but could do more for public transportation and bikes, says a critique from Streetsblog Denver.
August 15, 2018, 7am PDT | Elana Eden
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Biking in Denver
Arina P Habich

A new Streetsblog Denver series unpacks the implications of Denveright, the recently released suite of plans that together form a comprehensive vision for the city's future growth. The piece of the new package guiding land use and transportation for the next 20 years is Blueprint Denver—and at this stage, it's receiving mixed reviews from writer David Sachs.

Blueprint's revamped framework for street design calls for every street in the city to prioritize walking over other modes of transportation, and explicitly acknowledges the trade-offs that will require, like slowing vehicle speeds and reducing street parking. But it stops short of adopting a full complete streets policy by not extending public transit or bicycle infrastructure throughout the city. Sachs reports:

City planners opted against recommending a "complete streets" policy, a simple directive that compels planners and engineers to favor pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and cars — in that order — on every street … Instead, Blueprint creates a more complex “modal priority” network [PDF]. Maps identify where walking should dominate (all streets), where biking is the street’s main function, and where transit is the priority. Some streets will prioritize all three modes.

As Sachs points out, many of the corridors projected to absorb a large share of new population and job growth were among those not chosen to receive bike infrastructure.

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Published on Thursday, August 9, 2018 in Streetsblog Denver
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