Denver voters to consider $2 billion in sidewalk improvements | David Heitz

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By David Heitz/NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colorado) Call it the sidewalk revolution.

The completion of sidewalks across America has become a debate. Some say sidewalks aren’t always welcome because they do more than get a person from point A to point B.

Sidewalks can be gathering places and places of commerce. Sidewalks create community.

But sidewalks can become unpopular when they get too crowded. And that’s what’s happening in Denver today.

Scooters zigzag on the sidewalks. Tents sprang up. Sidewalks are not always safe and navigable, especially for people in wheelchairs.

Now Denver has a chance to build its sidewalk system. The 307 initiative will go before voters next month. The price of the project is approaching 2 billion dollars. Owners would pay a fee to fund the program. Annual fees would be $2.15 to $4.30 per linear foot of property frontage.

Denver residents sometimes tweet pictures of broken down sections of sidewalk. They wonder why the sidewalks are in poor condition. “The city assigns responsibility for the construction and repair of sidewalks to the owners of adjacent land,” explains the voter’s guide. “It’s like asking homeowners to fill in potholes, pave the street, or fix the storm drains in front of their house – all the things the city currently manages. Often sidewalk repairs are only carried out in response to complaints, and new sidewalks are not built until properties are redeveloped, leading to inconsistency in the qualification of sidewalks everywhere.

Some parts of the city don’t have sidewalks. Others have large ones. Some neighborhoods have sidewalks only half the width of most sidewalks. People using these sidewalks must walk in single file. A wheelchair could easily get out of the way.

Scooters a threat

“”The first known sidewalks were laid in central Anatolia around 2000 BC – a millennium or two after the invention of the wheel, according to the book”Sidewalks: conflict and negotiation in the public spacethe Washington Post reported. “They remained rare luxuries in most of the world until the 19th century, when major cities like London and Paris built hundreds of miles of them.

“But it took decades of social conditioning before ‘walking’ became the operative syllable of the sidewalk. For most of human history, vehicles, pedestrians, vendors, musicians, drinkers and strollers have all mingled in the same amorphous mud of the avenue. It was only in the last century that these corridors were divided, layered, painted with lines and regulated in the name of more efficient movement.

The dawn of the 20th century brought with it a new term for sidewalk shame — jaywalkers, the Post reported. “‘City after city began issuing ordinances prohibiting or regulating a number of sidewalk activities, from street vending to political and commercial speech, from displaying merchandise on the sidewalk to loitering, begging and prostitution,’ the book reads.

The Post concludes that scooters are the latest threat to sidewalks. “Bikes, newspaper boxes, mass homelessness, hardworking iPhone watchers – all of these things have disrupted the fiction of a street neatly divided into walkers and cars. Cities have simply invented regulations and pathways to restore peace, which worked until the next disruption, and here we are today in scooter hell.

Some say scooters are the new threat to Denver’s sidewalks.City and County of Denver

New sidewalks in 9 years, not 400

denver already working on the scooter problem. City Council member Chris Hinds complained that scooter riders are not following city rules. The city is looking to better enforce the laws. This includes a ban on riding scooters on sidewalks, a common occurrence in Denver.

The initiative to build Denver’s sidewalks, called Denver Deserves Sidewalks, “will see the construction of a comprehensive network of sidewalks that serves every neighborhood within nine years, instead of 400 years, which is the pace at which we are following with current policies and the meager amount of public funds that have been allocated to building sidewalks through general obligations and annual appropriations,” according to comments supporting the initiative in the voter guide.

Comments are also listed in opposition to the idea. “If the city and county (of Denver) can’t provide sidewalks in a timely manner according to proponents of this measure, who can? Is there enough cement to even accomplish what they want? Are there enough companies to provide the expertise to install all these sidewalks? Enough landfill to dispose of all that cement? We can’t even get people to work in most jobs. Employers cry for workers. Where will people come from to install sidewalks at a faster rate than what is happening now? »

Denver’s current sidewalk repair program “is anchored in realizing the efficiencies that come with having an already mobilized, on-site contractor doing other concrete work,” according to the city website. “Considered locations for sidewalk repairs will be established annually in conjunction with concrete repair work that will take place prior to street paving, with priority given to areas of equity and criteria that promote the mobility goals of our community (such as improving segments along the network at high risk of injury and connecting to public transit, schools and other destinations).

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