Denver City Council Member Paul Kashmann reports that Denver’s office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) received a proposal several weeks ago that would dramatically increase the height and density of the Creekside Apartments complex at 5250 East Cherry Creek Drive South. Creekside currently contains some 300 apartments situated in a series of 2-story structures. The site plan received by CPD shows five new buildings ranging from 6-8 stories, plus two additional high-rise towers of 15 and 20 stories situated along Kentucky Ave. on the western edge of the 11-plus acre site. The proposal would increase density to about 1200 units. The Creekside property holds R-2-A and R3 zoning from Denver’s old Chapter 59 zoning code that allows high-rise on part of the land. Most of the city was reassessed in the 2010 conversion to the Denver Zoning Code, while about 20% of our land area retains Chapter 59 designation. The day after Kashmann was quoted in the press saying the proposal was wildly out of line with the current neighborhood context, the developer – Air Communities – asked for a meeting which was held a few days later in my office. Air representatives stated that they agreed with his comments, saying the proposal was an old one from 2006. They assured me they were still working on a revised plan that would be more context sensitive, and they’d be in touch in the coming weeks/months.
Council Member Kashmann also reports The Schlessman YMCA, 3901 E Yale Ave, has proposed completely redeveloping their 6-acre campus into a mixed-use site including a new YMCA, a separate building devoted to complimentary wellness businesses, restaurants, perhaps a boutique grocer and mid- to high-rise residential uses.
Rent-to-income ratios push toward 40%, some apartment owners say
Many apartment managers would prefer their residents’ rent-to-income ratios not get too high. When that happens, they have a choice. They can adjust their criteria and lease to people who have salaries equal to 35% to even 40% of their rent payment. But often the outcomes can be bad — for both the property and the renter.
Welcome to the age of the cargo bike
The Netherlands already underwent its dramatic transition into a cycling-first society, and is the nominal home of the cargo bike. Its bikes are designed not just for one or two people, but families of up to five, and I felt compelled to try one before lecturing people on the future of transport. Raleigh, the British distributors of several Dutch bicycles, leant me a Babboe Curve-E, which is arguably the SUV of the cycling world.
Imagining a Low-Stress Bike Network in Denver
“In the early days of the pandemic, driven by a fairly acute need for more public spaces, because the parks were completely overrun and people were desperate to find places to get outside and move their bodies, DOTI created ten of what were, in effect, havens for walking, biking and rolling,” Stopper points out. “They did it very quickly, and they did it simply by using no-through-way traffic signs on ten residential streets. And what they discovered was that they dramatically reduced cut-through traffic on these streets while dramatically increasing the amount of people walking, pushing strollers and riding bikes there.”
It’s Been 100 Years Since Cars Drove Pedestrians Off The Roads
He called for “motor boulevards, second-story streets, [and] under or over crossings for pedestrians.” Of course, he got what he wished for as the U.S. swiftly displaced pedestrians from streets by building motor-centric infrastructure and became the first auto-dependent society. (Mehren also later got what he didn’t wish for: after years of championing urban expressways to make road use safer for motorists he was killed in a motor crash.)
Autonomous Trucking Holds Promise
The future of autonomous trucking appears bright, and many testing programs are underway across the country, but it might be a decade or more before unoccupied tractor trailers become a common sight along the nation’s highways. Nevertheless, the potential cost savings and increased productivity associated with autonomous trucking has many in the logistics industry excited about the possibilities. – A December 2018 report from McKinsey & Company noted that the impact of autonomous trucking could be substantial for both logistics companies and consumers. Trucks ship about 65% of U.S. consumer products, and the transition to full autonomy could reduce operating costs by roughly 45%. McKinsey says that would save the U.S. trucking industry between $85 billion and $125 billion annually, which could end up as significant cost savings for consumers.
Denver Moves Everyone 2050
Denver City Council Member Paul Kashmann reports that Denver Moves Everyone 2050 2050 is a citywide plan that will prioritize transportation improvements to improve travel and achieve Denverites’ vision and goals for a better transportation system. Since Denver Moves Everyone 2050 started last summer, the city has heard from 10,200+ residents online and in person. Through these collective voices, we heard Denverites want a high-quality transportation system that is safe, equitable, sustainable and comfortable. Now the plan has entered its fourth phase, where we are seeking public input on how we plan to spend our transportation dollars to help achieve Denver’s shared vision and goals in the short term. View the draft plan of transportation improvements for the short term. Your feedback will inform how Denver prioritizes improvements to make travelling in your neighborhood and around the city better!
Will the infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act transform American transportation? It’s complicated.
While two major new federal laws—the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act—touch every element of the transportation value chain, the two bills don’t prioritize all transportation modes equally. Instead, the American driver is the big winner. But through implementation, state and local officials have opportunities to transform underlying approaches to future federal transportation and land use law, Adie Tomer says.
REAL ESTATE AND MOBILITY
Americans’ Addiction to Parking Lots Is Bad for the Climate. California Wants to End It
California, one of the country’s most influential states on transportation policy, stands to accelerate a movement against excessive parking that has taken shape across the U.S. over the last five years: three dozen cities have eliminated or sharply reduced parking minimums, according to the Parking Reform Network, including Hartford, Conn. in 2017, San Francisco, Calif. in 2018; Raleigh, N.C. in June this year. In July, Oregon became the first state to take on major parking reform, adopting a rule similar to California’s.
New SUMP Topic Guide on Parking and SUMP
Parking policy, and any potential change of it, is a highly contested issue in most European cities. The integration of parking measures into a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) can foster the acceptance for change and accelerate the long-term goals of the local SUMP. To support this, the SUMP topic guide ‘Parking and SUMP – Using parking management to achieve SUMP objectives effectively and sustainably’ has recently been published by the EU-funded CIVITAS project of Park4SUMP(link is external), the only project that solely focuses on the topic of parking management.
Ann Arbor’s new curbless-design State Street opens to traffic
One of the DDA’s goals with the project is to create flexible curbside spaces that can be used as an extension of the sidewalk for businesses that want more space to spill outside, including more outdoor dining space, or additional parking and loading. It also gives more flexibility to use the street for special events and improves accessibility, officials said. Ann Arbor’s new curbless-design State Street on Oct. 10, 2022, two days after opening to vehicle traffic. The new design involves removing one of State Street’s two northbound travel lanes between William and Liberty streets and creating a wider sidewalk zone in front of bars, restaurants and shops along the west side of State, as well as a bumped-out corner plaza in front of Walgreens.
How Cities are Deciding Where Electric Vehicle Chargers Should Go
Cities across the country face similar challenges, as local leaders prepare for a surge in electric vehicles. Their approaches have varied considerably, from installing chargers on city-owned streetlights in Los Angeles to partnering with private charging companies in places like San Antonio and Hoboken. Decisions local governments and industry are making now are likely to affect how the charging landscape looks for years to come.
New spin on parking spaces during pandemic reaps benefits
Perhaps the biggest recent shift in attitudes around parking has been the recognition of just how much value may be forgone by using desirable urban real estate as car storage. After Toronto allowed some on-street parking spaces on main roads to be used as patios during the pandemic, an analysis suggested that this generated far more revenue than in their original use.
Project Snapshot: East of RTD’s 38th and Blake station in RiNo (paywall)
A half dozen projects are under construction in the blocks east of RTD’s 38th and Blake station, which is poised to add thousands of apartments and hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space in the next couple years.
Will the infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act transform American transportation? It’s complicated.
If your focus is community design, then Congress may have planted the seeds for a new national transportation agenda. The IIJA and IRA dramatically increase spending on programs related to multimodal alternatives, new performance measurements, and outcomes related to resilience and environmental justice. These programs are genuine experiments—conducted with state and local partners—to test new approaches to street design, neighborhood connectivity, and how transportation interrelates with other land uses.
Voters OK’d money to improve sidewalks; now what?
Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure says there are 300 miles of missing sidewalks in Denver and 830 miles of sidewalks that are too narrow for wheelchair users or parents pushing strollers. City officials don’t have a full inventory of damaged sidewalks yet. Creating a sidewalk master plan is one of the first steps Ordinance 307 requires. Given the scope of the problem and the wide gulf in how much time and money it is expected to take to create a complete citywide sidewalk network, critics such as District 2 City Councilman Kevin Flynn argue that 307 isn’t even a workable program as written.
As was the case with another ambitious voter-approved measure, 2017’s green roofs ordinance, backers of 307 say they are ready and willing to work with city leaders to make sure the sidewalk fees deliver. Revisions, including City Council amendments, are possible if not outright likely.
In These Cities, Car-Free Streets Are Here To Stay
The success of the occasional car-free days in Paris also inspired a movement in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2016, Mayor Fernando Haddad announced a ban on cars every Sunday along the city’s iconic Paulista Avenue. The move has been welcomed, including by the local business owners who were initially skeptical: A 2019 study conducted by a group of local NGOs found that 86% of store owners supported the program. Indeed, many are encouraging the city to expand the ban to Saturday afternoons as well, to encourage more foot traffic and sales. “With the closing for cars, people started to walk a lot more, to stroll around, and the sales on Sundays grew sevenfold,” one local bookstore manager told Next City. “It was the best thing that could have happened for us. Sundays are now, by far, our busiest days.”