Denver Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) Transportation Committee – January 14, 2021

Virtual Meeting via Zoom

  1. Looking Ahead at 2021 – Debra A. Johnson, RTD CEO and General Manager
    • In November, the RTD welcomed its new CEO and General Manager, Debra A. Johnson. John has 28+ years of transit experience, including working in the Bay and LA areas.
    • After putting the project on hold due to the pandemic, RTD will be relaunching Reimagine RTD, with a new emphasis on virtual engagement.
    • Federal funds will be used to reimburse laid off employees due to the pandemic, as well as adding additional vehicles to high usage routes to ensure passengers are maintaining social distancing.
    • RTD will conduct more public engagement via going to the public instead of making the public to come them/work with RTD’s schedule. They will continue to utilize the virtual platform as well.
    • Autonomous vehicles and advanced technology will be included in the Reimagine RTD Plan. As a transit agency, RTD has a role in using more environmentally technology, but they also must contend with RTD’s large service area.
    • Want to continue to advance access to transit, including adding more bus lanes and implement improvements, such as bus only lanes, that create more access and efficiency.
  1. Denver’s Sidewalks — Where Do We Go From Here? — Councilman Paul Kashmann
    • Following a recent audit of Denver’s “Neighborhood Sidewalk Repair Program”that found pervasive issues with the program, and provided many recommendations. Recommendation 1.4 calls on DOTI to “Review City Ordinance regarding Responsibility and Funding Obligations for Sidewalk Repairs”, calling on DOTI to “review city ordinance and assess whether the property owners’ responsibility and liability to maintain and repair sidewalks is reasonable and is the best approach to address the city’s needs.”
    • INC has been calling for over many years, including in its Transportation Platform – currently property owners are responsible for their sidewalk maintenance. This responsibility structure is due to Colorado’s liability law.
    • For the time being, fines have been halted for homeowners due to the pandemic.
    • While the city is spending more money than ever before on sidewalk repairs, more work is necessary to repair sidewalks. Denver is looking at other city programs such as Englewood, CO and Ithaca, NY. Currently, Denver is focused on sidewalk repair and filling in sidewalk gaps, bringing non-compliant sidewalks up to code (1,100 miles) is a longer-term goal.
    • Continued citizen support and advocacy is needed to make this change in policy.
  1. A Look Ahead for 2021 — Eulois Cleckley, Executive Director, Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure:
    • Continue to shift the mode share of Denver residents from single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) to more environmentally friendly modes (i.e., walking, bike, transit).
    • The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the DOTI budget, but essential City program and services have been protected, the Elevate Denver Bond has been accelerated, and CARES Act funding is going toward shared streets and outdoor dining for restaurants.
    • COVID Response:
      • Shared Streets – 7.5 miles of high-comfort streets for safe recreation and mobility
      • Temporary Outdoor Expansion – assist with ROW expansion through technical support and waiving fees; 344 businesses permitted, extended through 2021, $970k in grants provided to 139 businesses
    • Vision Zero – 56 fatalities in 2020; May was the only month with no fatalities. This was a 21% decrease from 2019.
      • Rapid Response to traffic fatalities – implement quick tactical improvements to prevent further accidents.
    • Implemented bike course on the Montbello School Campus to teach students how to use proper bicycle rules.
    • Implemented Bus Only Lanes on 17th and 15th downtown – will continue to implement these types of lanes throughout the City.
    • One Build – implemented 40 miles of bike lanes in 2020
    • Goal to increase greenways and green infrastructure
    • The DOTI Advisory Board is taking applications:
    • DOTI will continue to gain public input from as many parties as possible, and make sure improvement project goals are communicated effectively to the community.
    • DOTI is looking at three potential microtransit shuttles to implement.
    • DOTI is continuing to work with the fire department to create a healthy friction between all users on the roadway; while the size of fire trucks can restrict certain design elements, DOTI has been able to gain more support from the fire department on safer intersection and street design. 
  1. Community Active Living Coalition (CALC) – Kayla Gilbert
    • They are accepting applications for microgrants for projects that implement walking, biking, and community –;
    • Grants are available up to $1,000; applications are available in Spanish and Vietnamese. Grants will be dispensed until the $30,000 pool has run out. Project ideas include art projects, walking groups, etc.
    • Contact CALC with any questions. They are happy to discuss project ideas with applicants as well. 
  1. State Legislative Update – Piep van Heuven, Director of Government Relations, Bicycle Colorado:
    • Legislative trends for 2021:
      • Good year for social justice and stimulus efforts.
      • Tough year for bills with big fiscal notes.
      • Transportation funding via fee structure.
    • Bicycle Colorado focus areas
      • Statewide Bicycle Safety Stop Regulation
      • Update “Share the Road” language to “3 Feet to Pass”
      • E-bike incentives/subsidies
      • Distracted driving options
        • Handsfree as a secondary offense
        • Network level distracted driving
        • Automated enforcement
        • Driver licensing requirement

Next meeting: Thursday, March 11th, 2021 — 6-8pm via Zoom