Denver Transportation Plan: Leave the Car at Home

September 28, 2010

A new "Strategic Transportation Plan," recently introduced by the City of Denver, calls for funding smaller projects that will encourage the public to use public transit, bicycles and walk rather than drive.

The plan, introduced by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Public Works Manager Bill Vidal, is revolutionary in the way it addresses citizen mobility over the next 50 years. While most traffic plans focus on vehicles – cars and trucks that people use to get where they’re going -- Denver’s plan focuses on where a person is going and how best to get them there.

The plan calls for expanding bike lanes, adding pedestrian connector bridges, widening side walks and supporting mass transit. Minimizing road expansion, where possible, was a major goal.

To develop the plan, city traffic engineers and consultants divided Denver into 12 "travel sheds," and studied where minor improvements within an area could be made to relieve pressure points.

Denver’s population is expected to increase 30 percent by 2025. However, with this plan they should be able to absorb the population increase and have congestion remain mostly the same.

The city already has 95 percent of the funds needed for improvements, with $516 million from bonds and a mill levy already approved by voters to pay for projects through 2015. Additional funds are expected from the Regional Transportation District program and the federal government.

The transportation plan will also be a key factor in zoning to encourage dense urban development, according to the mayor.

Denver has been working on the plan since 2005. Read the complete plan at