June 11, 2020



INC Transportation Committee Mtg – JUNE

The Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation Transportation Committee is transitioning to online meetings via Zoom. Read on for the details!

Everyone is welcome! We discuss a range of transportation, transit, and streets topics, build connections with the agencies and organizations involved, and ensure that neighborhood input is included in plans at all levels! Participants do not need to be INC delegates. You are welcome to participate even if your neighborhood organization is not a member of INC, or you are not active in a neighborhood group. Please pass on this invitation to anyone who might be interested in joining the committee.

5/14 – A message from Joel Nobel, the INC Transportation Committee Chair:

Two months have passed since it became clear that group gatherings such as our planned March meeting weren’t in our members’ interest. Days later, city- and state-wide stay at home orders reinforced the urgency of our community response to the pandemic.

From my home to wherever you are, I hope you and the people you love have been well in this challenging time.

In the past week, the INC Board of Directors selected the Zoom platform for remote meetings for committee, delegate, and Board meetings, and has subscribed to a “Pro” license for all INC meeting use. Committee meetings are starting up, and it’s time to set our new format and cadence while maintaining our committee’s success at bringing timely, engaging and important topics to an open, citywide group of neighbors.

In our new format, we will:

  • Meet monthly (up from every-other-month), still on the second Thursday of the month
  • Have 90-minute sessions (down from 120-minute meetings), 6:30pm-8pm
  • Share recorded sessions for playback or revisiting (increased accessibility!)
  • Continue presentation-with-Q&A style (with Q&A format changing to meet the online model and avoid the “Zoom bombing” disruption that some meetings have suffered from)
  • Introduce interview-style discussions where that is easier for our invited guests who have information to share but no prepared presentation
  • Introduce “lightning talk” short topics — 5-minute committee member presentations on challenges, successes, and ideas others can learn from or help with. Slides/visuals welcome where helpful. I’m a big fan of this format for a focused presentation of an idea without the pressure of developing a long talk.

Please send me your ideas — What do you want to hear about? Do you have a short topic on which you’d like to present? What advice do you have based on your online meeting experiences? How would you like to help?

I look forward to returning — differently — to our conversations about the ever-evolving transportation topics in our city, and how we as neighbors can stay involved in shaping our shared mobility future.

— Joel Noble, INC Transportation Committee Chair

Meeting Notes – INC Transportation Committee, June 11, 2020
Our first virtual meeting featured two full-length topics and four five-minute “lightning talk” updates. The presentations are available on YouTube. Key points and links to presentation materials are below:

Temporary Recreation Streets (T-RECS) — Jay Decker, DOTI Transportation & Innovation Manager

  • During the stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, Denver identified several streets to create additional space for people to walk/roll after parks and trails experienced overcrowding with people seeking space to recreate (legal per 3.24.20 Stay at Home order). The goals were:
    •  Provide additional space to recreate while maintaining social distancing requirements
    •  Relieve pressure on multi-use paths and trails that are overcrowded
    •  Provide temporary recreation space in park deserts
  • Jay provided an overview of the planning and decision-making, including GIS analysis, that went into the first three phases of the Temporary Recreation Streets.
  • As of June 11th, 5.5 miles of streets and 10.7 miles of within-park streets were changed to prioritize non-vehicular use.
  • Data collected daily shows astounding use of walk/roll transportation on these streets (biking, rollerblading, wheelchair use) — up 10x-15x over the pre-pandemic baseline, with this human-powered use now exceeding even vehicular traffic during pre-COVID-19 normal volume.
  • As of June 11th, citywide vehicular traffic had returned to 70-80% of normal, but on streets with the shared-street interventions, vehicular traffic hasn’t returned, suggesting that long-term changes may be possible without negative impact to citywide traffic or mobility.
  • Post-COVID-19, DOTI is preparing to use the data and experience for new long-term infrastructure, both for these corridors and other similar situations, such as neighborhood bikeways.
  • Jay’s slide deck is here
  • You can reach Jay at [email protected] 

Shared & Open Streets Survey Results — Jill Locantore, Denver Streets Partnership Executive Director 

  • Jill Locantore provided our first “lightning talk” — a quick, single-topic 5-minute segment — in which she reviewed Denver Streets Partnership’s surveys of mobility needs during COVID-19. The surveys helped identify some of the current and future T-RECS streets for DOTI.
  • The brief talk concluded with an inspirational look forward to how these types of interventions can be more beautiful and permanent.
  • Jill’s slide deck is here
  • Find out more about the Denver Streets Partnership — a coalition of community organizations advocating for people-friendly streets in Denver.

RTD COVID-19 Impacts — Bill Sirois, RTD Senior Manager 

  • Our second lighting talk updated us on the serious financial, operational, and ridership impacts of COVID-19 on RTD.
  • This is important background information to have for a future INC Transportation Committee meeting’s long-form topic on the Reimagine RTD effort, which aims to develop a shared regional vision for an effective and sustainable transit system, considering the seriously financially challenged near-term, the hopefully more-typically resourced medium term, and the long-term evolution of transit.
  • Bill’s slide deck is here
  • You can reach Bill at [email protected]

Transportation Planning & Public Engagement in the time of COVID-19 — David Pulsipher – DOTI City Planner Supervisor 

  • David gave us a two-part presentation on how DOTI’s public engagement is working in this time of social distancing, and then specifically the outreach for the three major Community Networks efforts
  • Since April, DOTI has used various online methods for community outreach.
    • Webex and Zoom have been used for webinars with moderators, chat, and Q&A.
    • Broadnet Townhall is a different tool they’ve used for proactive dial out to land lines, which adds the ability to reach more people, including those without computers, to participate. These have had 400+ participants, including significant numbers of Spanish speakers.
    • Microsoft Teams Live has been used for smaller stakeholder groups with open discussion and breakout rooms for more focused interactivity.
  • DOTI is taking a clear-eyed look at both the strengths and weaknesses of using these tools.
    • Physical and language barriers are greatly lessened, as is the chance of disruption. Attendance is often much larger. For instance, a street repaving meeting pre-COVID-19 had 59 people attend, and the follow-on meeting online had more than double that. A Community Networks meeting drew 60 participants in person, and the follow-on online meeting had over 400 attend.
    • But many of the tools can be inaccessible and need workarounds for those without computers, and sometimes people don’t feel as much connection and don’t know if they’re being heard compared with face-to-face meetings.
  • David also updated us on the Community Networks effort to develop multimodal plans for small areas of the city, focused on improving mobility safety, encouraging mode shift, providing additional travel options, prioritizing multimodal options, and rapidly delivering low-stress bikeways.
    • Seeking to hear about all modal needs, the project works to prioritize and implement projects to address those concerns. Using DOTI’s “one build” approach, they aim to make all changes to any given street section once, rather than revisiting it repeatedly for different projects or phases.
    • The first phase includes low-stress bike projects that will increase safety while benefitting all roadway users. Construction of all bikeways will begin by the end of 2021.
    • Additional outreach will help ensure that as many people as possible know about the projects and how to engage, well in advance of implementation. To reach those not often plugged into transportation topics, Denver and its partners will communicating via Facebook, Pandora ads, and other targeted ways to reach Denverites.
  • Virtual engagement portal for the Community Transportation Networks
  • Learn more about Denver’s Community Networks efforts
  • David’s slide deck is here
  • You can reach David at [email protected]

The Bike Streets Project — App Announcement! — Avi Stopper

  • Avi Stopper, founder of the volunteer crowd-sourced Bike Streets map of 400 miles of exiting neighborhood streets and trails that are comfortable for bike riding. The map has been used over 270,000 times. Over 1,000 guided tours and group rides have been led using these maps.
  • At our meeting, Avi broke the news of the new, free, ad-free Bike Streets app, which is available now in the Android Google Play store as “Denver Bike Streets”, and in the Apple iOS App Store as Bike Streets.
  • The project, which is 100% volunteer-driven, is an open source project with the source code freely available for other cities to copy and use to map their own low-stress bike network.
  • Find out more at bikestreets.com and download the app at bikestreets.com/app
  • Avi’s slides are here
  • You can reach Avi Stopper at [email protected]

Temporary Outdoor Expansions for Restaurant and Bars — Andrew Iltis, Sr. Mgr. Transportation & Mobility, Downtown Denver Partnership

  • Our final lightning talk was also timely, with an update on how the COVID-19 shutdowns have affected restaurants and bars throughout the city.
  • On May 18th, the city initiated the Outdoor Patio Extension program to allow more options for outdoor service with appropriate social distancing. The program received over 500 applications before June 1st. The state of Colorado began allowing restaurants to reopen with up to 50% capacity in late May.
  • Andrew provided a couple of examples from Larimer Street and Glenarm Street downtown, showing proposals to the city for people to reengage safely. South Pearl Street merchants have also made strides in using the streets for people.
  • Andrew’s slides are here
  • The City’s web page for this program
  • You can reach Andrew at [email protected]