In an attempt to anticipate the transit, recreational, and housing needs of a dramatically growing city two decades from now, the City of Denver has launched a planning effort with a decided emphasis on public input.
What is being called “Denveright” is a program partly designed to lay out new transit routes and options in what could prove to be almost every neighborhood in the Mile High City.
What is really a bundle of five different plans, Denveright is also addressing zoning and building design issues and basic street infrastructure.
Each part of the overall plan, say city officials, is intended to address the demands of a population that is expected to be nearing the 900,000 mark in the next twenty years, up from its current 704,000.
A crucial part of the plan’s transit component would require the City of Denver to play a larger policy, administrative, and financial role in a system that is operated by the larger metro Regional Transportation District.
The recreational segment of the plan is promoting the idea that by 2040 every neighborhood in the city could have access to a park.
And in a move to encourage walking, a part of the plan will mandate that gaps in the city’s current sidewalk network will be filled.
Next to the many complex issues regarding what will be the final priorities for the Denveright effort is its financing: it is thought that an expansion of the city’s transit system and parks could cost well over $1 billion.
How that funding would be obtained and what sources it might come from are questions that remain to be answered.
In an interview with the website Denverite, Mayor Michael Hancock said of the plan: “We don’t know to what level we will accomplish our forecasted numbers. Our responsibility is to plan for the future.”
The public comment period for the Denveright proposal is scheduled to last until October 31.
By Garry Boulard
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