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Patty.Weiss@ci.denver.co.usMayor Hickenlooper Announces Alley-Paving InitiativePublic Works Department to Begin Pouring the First Asphalt in Program to Upgrade Unpaved Alley Throughout the City
Mayor John Hickenlooper joined District 3 Councilwoman Rosemary Rodriguez and Public Works Manager Bill Vidal in the Westwood neighborhood Tuesday to launch the City’s 10-year program to eliminate unpaved alleys in Denver.
“Unpaved alleys – and the fact they predominantly exist in our most underserved neighborhoods – has long been a concern for our city” said Mayor Hickenlooper. “Thanks to the creativity of our Public Works Department and the commitment of people like Councilwoman Rosemary Rodriguez, we will pave all of Denver’s unpaved alleys over the next 10 years – starting with the lowest-income, most-underserved neighborhoods first. This change in City policy will correct what I have long-viewed as the fundamental inequity of a system that re-surfaces existing alleys while ignoring the dirt ones.”
Of the 5,000 alleys in Denver, 1,042 public alleys are “unimproved,” existing with a surface of recycled asphalt or, in some cases, native soils. Through the process of erosion, these alleys have a measurable impact on both air and water quality. Additionally, there are ongoing maintenance and service delivery problems because of surface deficiencies. These unpaved alleys, which exist in all city council districts and in 54 of Denver’s 78 neighborhoods, are a substantial source of citizen complaints.
“When I ran for City Council, one of the most frequent requests I heard from neighbors was ‘Rosemary, please help our alleys.’ With the announcement today I can truly say that help is on the way!” said Councilwoman Rodriguez. “There is a direct correlation to the quality of life in our neighborhoods and the conditions of the alleys and public places. The constituents of District 3 can join me in thanking Mayor Hickenlooper for turning the City’s attention to this issue.”
In the first phase of this program, Public Works crews will construct twenty (20) alleys between October and December 2004 as a demonstration. During this time, city staff will also assess the unimproved alleys and prioritize alleys for paving.
The second phase, beginning in early 2005, will include improvement of all remaining alleys, beginning in the traditionally underserved areas designated as “Focus Neighborhoods” which include Westwood, Villa Park, Valverde, Baker, La Alma/Lincoln Park, Sun Valley, Jefferson Park, Sunnyside, Globeville, Five Points, Whittier, Skyland, Clayton, Cole, Elyria/Swansea, and Northeast Park Hill.
Working with the City’s Housing and Neighborhood Services Department, the Public Works alley improvement program will support the City’s strategy to focus the resources of Denver’s public, private, and non-profit sectors on these lower-income neighborhoods. Approximately 350 alleys in these neighborhoods will be improved as part of the 2005-2007 Public Works work program.
Remaining alleys will be improved as funding becomes available. Under current funding plans, all unpaved alleys will be paved within the next 10 years. The alleys will be resurfaced with a 4” asphalt overlay, at the estimated cost of $20,000 per alley. The overall cost of this initiative, over 10 years, is approximately $20 million, requiring the expense of $1.8 million per year from 2005 until 2014. The funds for the 2004 and 2005 paving activity will come from monies allotted to projects that have been completed under-budget. Beginning in 2006, funds will be generated from increased efficiencies in the Public Works department and from the Capital Improvement Projects budget.
“This new direction in City policy will be a great service to the citizens of Denver," said Public Works Manager Bill Vidal.
The Alley Improvement Program supports the City’s goal of making Denver a better place to live. In his July 2004 “State of the City” address, Mayor Hickenlooper alluded to this initiative by saying, “We need to recognize that some of our neighborhoods suffer from a lack of infrastructure, opportunity and resources. Helping these targeted neighborhoods has long been the goal of Denver’s Focus Neighborhoods Initiative, but in the coming years, we plan to ‘kick it up a notch’ by targeting our most under-served neighborhoods’ needs – like unpaved alleys – and addressing them head-on.”
Residents are encouraged to visit the Public Works’ alley program website at www.denvergov.org/alleyprogram or call the Public Works Customer Call Center at 720-865-6855 to request updates on the progress of the alley program or to leave messages.
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