INC Transportation Committee: Jan. Meeting Notes & Announcements

Welcome Denver RNOs!
Denver’s RNO registration is closed for the year, and we’ve updated our mailing list to include the latest contact information for all registered RNOs.  Welcome!

Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation’s mission is to advocate for Denver citizens by bringing together, informing and empowering Denver neighborhood organizations to actively engage in addressing city issues. Our Transportation Committee is open to all Denver residents – you don’t need to be an INC delegate to participate.

If you would like to add someone from your neighborhood who is interested in transportation topics, please write to us or have them use the form at http://eepurl.com/Pvv6T

Vision Zero: Safe Speeds for Denver “Love-In” Rally
The Valentine’s Day Love-In for Vision Zero is just over a week away, and already nearly 800 people have signed the petition in support of Safe Speeds for Denver.

Will you rally with us on February 14th and join the Vision Zero Coalition in urging Mayor Hancock to address the inherent dangers of unsafe speeds on our streets? If high-speed traffic through your neighborhood has you begging people to “drive chill”, or to drive like their children live there, or if you simply believe that no one should take their lives in their hands simply by trying to get around town, this is for you!

The Vision Zero Love-In will be a truly multi-modal event, with bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders meeting in front of Union Station at 11:00 am and traveling together to the steps of the City and County building. Mayor Hancock will address the crowd at noon, and the rally will culminate with the delivery to the Mayor of hand-signed Valentines from Denver residents declaring their love for safe streets and support for the Safe Speeds for Denver campaign. Residents who are unable to attend the rally can sign the online petition.

We need volunteers to help out during the Love-In. You can earn our undying love by signing up today!

The Love-In is organized by the Vision Zero Coalition, of which INC is a founding member. Support for Vision Zero is an important part of INC’s Transportation Platform.

Does Your Neighborhood Meeting Need a Speaker on Vision Zero and Safe Speeds for Denver?
Interested in learning more about Vision Zero and the Safe Speeds for Denver campaign? A representative from WalkDenver, managers of Denver Vision Zero Coalition, would be happy to come to your RNO meeting to make a presentation on why traffic speed is an important safety issue, what the City can do about it, and how your RNO can participate in the campaign.

Human Transit Book Club: Tracks 2 and 3 are full!
Thank you for the great response! The Human Transit Book Club tracks #2 and #3 are full. We will be reading and discussing the book starting next week.

Don’t worry, we’ll hold more sessions as we learn together how to best advocate for excellent public transit service in our city. Watch this space!

January’s Tour of Civic Center Station Reconstruction
On Friday, January 27th, twelve INC Transportation Committee members from the Capitol Hill, City Park West, Curtis Park, Congress Park, Jefferson Park, Montclair and South City Park neighborhoods took a lunch-time tour of the active Civic Center Station reconstruction.

This hard-hat all-access tour was graciously led by Dave Espinosa of Mortenson, in two waves in order to accommodate our participants’ schedules. We hope to take another tour in late summer or early fall when the work is nearly complete.

You can learn more about the Civic Center project at the RTD web site and at Mortenson’s project page.

Meeting Minutes – January 12, 2017
For our first meeting of the year, we talked with three presenters, starting with Crissy Fanganello, Denver’s Director of Transportation.

Crissy provided a deep and transparent overview of the work that Transportation and Mobility section of Denver Public Works does, the achievements in 2016 and the projects for 2017.  In this session, she shared openly about projects that didn’t get completed in 2016 and which are continuing into the new year, and we gained an appreciation for the breadth of efforts her group manages.

Among the new programs we learned about is a “neighborhood sign sweep” effort targeting 10-12 neighborhoods per year, in which all signs – stop signs, parking signs, street sweeping signs, one-way signs, speed limit signs, street name signs, school zone signs, and more – are inventoried and replaced if faded, damaged or no longer up to spec. It’s a huge undertaking.

Parking is always a hot topic, and the community-centered Parking Area Management Plans will branch out into Capitol Hill, South Pearl, and Lincoln Park this year, as implementation moves ahead in neighborhoods which have started or completed plans in previous years.

The Vision Zero program – an effort that INC and our partners in the Vision Zero Coalition were instrumental in pushing for – will complete the first Vision Zero Action Plan this year, with a $400,000 implementation budget in addition to $500,000 for pedestrian crossings and traffic calming at schools, trails, and transit, and $410,000 for an intersection safety program.

Many thanks to Crissy for starting our year off with this insider look at Denver Transportation and Mobility, and for making her full presentation available.

We next heard about an entirely new neighborhood partnership program that the Transportation and Mobility section is launching. Brittany Price (Project Manager) and Justin Schmitz (Deputy City Traffic Engineer) unveiled the Neighborhood Transportation Management Program.

Understanding that neighborhoods are often in the best position to know what the issues are in their area, this program will work with RNOs in a streamlined, structured process to gather public input and join it with measurable data in order to identify and prioritize concrete actions that will increase safety and improve transportation connectivity, accessibility and livability.

Identified issues that can be handled immediately or that reveal a safety issue will be addressed promptly via work-order. Short-term projects for improvement will be rolled into existing Public Works work programs to be addressed in 6-24 months. Improvement projects that are larger in scope will be added to the Capital Improvement Program list or to the appropriate Denver Moves scope.

This new program clearly defines roles for both the city and the neighborhood, and will obviously only work well when there is an organized, active neighborhood group to fulfill the community side of the partnership, including outreach to area neighbors, businesses, and institutions for issue identification and scoring, and hosting at least two public meetings or events.

Public Works anticipates having the capacity to work with three neighborhoods this year, and this may grow in future years. They will consider equity, need, and readiness when selecting and scheduling neighborhoods.

This is an exciting new level of partnership between Denver Public Works and neighborhoods, and in the Q&A session, alert neighborhoods were already starting to suggest their neighborhoods as good candidates for 2017. Please see the linked slide presentation for details and contact information.

After a social intermission, we changed to a greener hue as we met with Sara Davis, Program Manager with Denver Forestry, and Leah Shafer from The Park People (the folks who run the excellent annual Denver Digs Trees program for free and low-cost trees).

Sara led a very visual presentation on the importance of our urban forest to traffic – a perspective we too rarely discuss. After a review of some statistics on canopy coverage in the city (and the correlation to neighborhood desirability and home values) importance of trees to air quality, energy savings, rainfall capture, and urban “heat island” effects, Sara presented a compelling series of images from very different sections along both Alameda and Monaco. From completely barren industrial areas through to beautiful calming areas, she accompanied the visuals with statistics and notes from psychology on why we value areas with trees so highly.

Not only are trees attractive, but surveys have shown that people rate similar streetscapes with trees as safer, even preferring to take longer routes that have more tree cover than shorter, faster expressways in order to lower stress. Traditionally, traffic engineers have not wanted to avoid having trees near roads when possible, as traffic crashes would often result in car damage when trees were impacted. But by calming traffic, the presence of trees can reduce speeds and thereby the likelihood and severity of crashing – and even when a tree is impacted, that’s surely better than hitting a pedestrian or building.

Leah Shafer concluded with a call for participation in the Denver Digs Trees program, and provided handouts. Neighbors can connect with the program at www.TheParkPeople.org, or by calling 303-722-6262.

Thank you to Sara and Leah for presenting, and for making their slides available!
2017 Meeting Schedule
The INC Transportation Committee’s meetings throughout 2017 will be held at 1201 Williams St., 19th Floor from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Thank you to Michael Henry for the wonderful space!

  • March 9, 2017
  • May 11, 2017
  • July 13, 2017
  • September 14, 2017
  • November 9, 2017

Call for Topic Suggestions
Do you have a topic you’d like the INC Transportation Committee to consider or to find a speaker to discuss with us? Please send your ideas to Joel and Geneva at transportation@denverinc.org!

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