Transportation Element: Introduction

Revised 7/16/01

Roadway congestion, traffic on neighborhood streets, and the search for that perfect parking space add up to lost time, lost money and lost patience for Denver's residents. All diminish the quality of life. Mobility, the ability to get from place to place safely and conveniently, is a key factor for Denver's quality of life. Most Denver residents are accustomed to the convenience of getting places by car. Many other residents, voluntarily or involuntarily, experience the difficulty of navigating the city and its surrounding areas without a car.

Ever-expanding congestion on highways and streets increases commuting time, driver frustration, business inefficiency, and pressure on neighborhoods. These concerns have broadened public support for effective, convenient solutions such as bus and rail transit, carpooling, walking, bicycle riding, and other alternatives to single-occupant vehicles.

The term "mobility" represents the balance that must be achieved between the supply of transportation facilities and the demand for their use. It has been demonstrated in city after city that government cannot afford to build enough roadways alone to meet the demand for auto travel. The cost is too great in dollars, in environmental degradation and in visual blight. Instead, local governments such as Denver will have to focus on strategic roadway improvements along with alternative mobility solutions.

In addition, demand for transportation should be lessened with greater use of telecommunications technology, telecommuting, home offices, mixed-use land development, and the opportunity to live and work in close proximity. Denver must take bold steps to address expanding mobility needs with well-integrated, multiple modes of transportation that provide convenient access for citizens, minimize impact on the environment, sustain quality of life throughout the city, and support economic activity. To be accepted by the public, transportation alternatives must be convenient, safe, affordable, and comfortable.

Transportation infrastructure is expensive, and it has major impacts on how residents live. It both influences and is influenced by land development. Future transportation plans must consider a diverse range of users, including residents of all ages and abilities, business commuters, visitors and tourists, special-event travelers, shopping and recreational travelers, and commercial freight carriers.

To achieve its transportation objectives, the City will work with a diverse range of stakeholders. Denver will coordinate the efforts of the following agencies and groups: Denver's own agencies, federal agencies, other metropolitan jurisdictions, the Regional Transportation District, the Denver Regional Council of Governments, the Colorado Department of Transportation and other state agencies, employers, neighborhood groups, environmental organizations, industry associations, and many others.

Denver's Comprehensive Plan 2000

Denver's Comprehensive Plan 2000 set forth policies, goals, as well as proposed objectives and strategies. An overall Mobility Goal stated in the Comprehensive Plan 2000 was the following:

Anticipate and meet the expanding mobility needs
of residents, businesses and visitors

Mobility objectives and strategies were described in the Comprehensive Plan 2000 in order to achieve this goal. The objectives include:

Objective 1. Diverse Mobility Options

Provide Denver's diverse residents, workers, and visitors with a choice of transportation modes that are safe and convenient.

Objective 2. Regional Transportation System

Support cost-effective transportation investments to provide regional connections consistent with the Denver Regional Council of Government's MetroVision 2020 Plan.

Objective 3. Accommodating New Development

In urban centers and in new development areas, plan, design and invest in transportation infrastructure and systems that support the principal uses within the area, provide well-integrated connections to urban centers and other destinations, and address the mobility needs of frequent users.

Objective 4. Changing Travel Behavior

Explore and use a wide variety of mechanisms to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled, especially at peak times.

Objective 5. Public Transit

Encourage investment in various modes of transit, including light rail, commuter rail, express or high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, and the bus system to better link transportation and land use, increase mobility for Denver residents, and improve air quality.

Objective 6. Roadways

Manage the effectiveness of Denver's roadway network, including the street grid -- first by investing in operational and reconstruction improvements, and second by increasing new roadway capacity at key locations to best serve the city as a whole.

Objective 7. Neighborhood Transportation

Address neighborhood transportation issues in a manner that balances overall mobility needs with neighborhood integrity.

Objective 8. Walking and Bicycling

Provide safe and convenient facilities to encourage bicycling and walking for commuting, recreation, and other trips.

Objective 9. Parking Management

Develop a comprehensive citywide approach to parking that addresses parking needs within major urban centers, at transit stations and in neighborhoods.

Objective 10. Air Transportation

Provide residents and visitors using Denver International Airport (DIA) with an airport that is a leader in service, efficiency, innovative practices, safety, convenience and aesthetics.

The Land Use and Transportation Plan provides an approach to transportation which better integrates land use development and multimodal transportation in achieving this goal. Residents want and need a variety of options depending on their destination and the time of day. The Plan also recognizes that walking is a part of almost every trip, and that the safety and quality of the pedestrian experience is essential. Denver's social, economic and environmental quality requires that the overriding preference for automobile travel be balanced with transportation alternatives that help increase access while reducing impacts.

The transportation element of the Land Use and Transportation describes the interrelationship of land use and transportation, and provides an analysis of the existing multi-modal transportation systems and tools which have been used in the past for transportation design and improvements. The transportation element then presents specific new tools and implementation recommendations to apply to the Areas of Change and the Areas of Stability in order to achieve both the land use objectives and to provide a more balanced and efficient transportation to serve these areas.