The Denver Post
20 years to a better Denver
Public comment ends on a new long-range plan for the city. Suggestions include narrowing certain streets.
By Margaret Jackson
May 25, 2007
Narrowing streets, increasing affordable housing and ensuring that Denver is a green city. Those ideas were among the improvements to the Downtown Area Plan suggested Thursday.
Members of the public had their final opportunity to provide input as an 18-month process to develop a blueprint for downtown's future comes to an end. Once adopted by Denver's City Council, it will replace a similar 20-year plan drafted in 1986.
"The '86 plan allowed us to think big," said Denver architect David Tryba.
While calling this plan a good, strong framework for future growth, he said it needs strengthening in some areas.
"There may be some tendency in this plan to pull back because some of the audacious things in the '86 plan seem even more audacious when we look back," Tryba said.
Tryba suggested narrowing major thoroughfares such as Broadway; putting more emphasis on quality design; re-evaluating the Planned Urban Developments in the Central Platte Valley; and increasing the budget for an integrated public-works, planning and urban-design office.
Tryba and others also suggested putting more emphasis on environmental aspects of the plan.
"Green needs to be more than green space and color," said David Wise of the Commons Design Review Board Inc. "Transit also needs to be green with no diesel added."
Wise said it is critical to create a strong transit district in the area surrounded by the Consolidated Main Line railroad and 16th, 18th and Wynkoop streets.
City planning director Peter Park, a member of the area plan's steering committee, agreed that the plan's transit discussion could be intensified.
"The Golden Triangle wants enhanced taxi service," he said.
Designing public spaces such as Wynkoop Plaza and 17th Street from Lower Downtown through Union Station and the Central Platte Valley should also be emphasized, said Ron Straka, head of LoDo District Inc.'s urban-design committee. He also wants to see more focus on integrating Cherry Creek with LoDo along Speer Boulevard.
Carmen Rhodes, executive director of the Front Range Economic Strategy Center, praised the plan for preserving existing affordable-housing units but said she wants to see a commitment to expand it.
Written comments from more than 41 people had been incorporated into the plan before the meeting Thursday, said Jim Basey, co-chairman of the plan's steering committee. More than 2,000 community members provided input during the plan's creation.
Staff writer Margaret Jackson can be reached at 303-954-1473 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 6: Planning board holds a 3 p.m. public hearing on the downtown area plan, Webb Municipal Office Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave.
June 13: City Council Blueprint Denver Committee, introduction of the plan at 1:30 p.m., 1437 Bannock St.
July 9: City Council holds a 5:30 p.m. public hearing on the plan and its adoption, 1437 Bannock St.