I always knew that representing the most bustling, population-rich core of the city would come with unique challenges. Capitol Hill is the densest neighborhood in the city. Eight of the 15 D10 neighborhood tracts surveyed in the 2010 census have a population density that exceeds 15,000 residents per square mile. Moreover, District 10 is a commercial and employment hub for the entire city. With the Museum Campus, Civic Center, Botanic Gardens, Colfax businesses, Cherry Creek shopping area, and many other destinations, the district also attracts people from all over the city and country. On any given day, the number of people on our streets is significantly higher than the 71,000 residents who live here. That’s why I call the district “Perfect 10,” because we’re the heart of Denver.
But there is a downside to all the activity in the district. We have more arterial commuter through-traffic in our neighborhoods than other districts, even with so many people out walking about, cycling, and shopping. District 10 contains a disproportionately large number of the city’s High Injury Network (HIN) locations. On average, 59 people are killed or seriously injured on district roads every three years. Our crash rate on HIN streets is higher than the citywide crash rate on HIN streets, especially involving pedestrians and cyclists.
I promised my constituents the freedom to navigate the city safely and securely. It is a core value of mine and guides my decision-making processes and priorities. With so much construction in the district, many of the sidewalks are entirely impassable. Neighbors who have been walking and rolling their families and pets around the block for years suddenly can’t move about unencumbered. It’s frustrating to everyone who uses our streets and results in severe safety lapses. People go out into busy roads and intersections rather than having to continuously backtrack to secure crossing locations. My constituents deserve greater access to their own neighborhoods than this.
I feel the same way about safe bikeways. I’m very encouraged by the miles of dedicated bikeways forecast for the district’s future. I strongly advocate for even more and varied ways of navigating the district comfortably. One example I am excited about: I’ve been working to recruit support and finances for the 5280 Trail project. For all of you in D10 who don’t know what the 5280 Trail is, it’s a five-mile, placemaking, recreational bike and pedestrian loop in the heart of the downtown.
Ultimately, I’d like to be responsible for helping Denver break its dependency on single occupancy vehicle commuting. We will never be able to substantively address public safety or climate change if we can’t lead boldly with a new vision for how our residents interact with their city streets. Personally, I feel you will all love not being stuck in traffic, as well as the benefits of cleaner air, water, and neighborhoods. We can get there. It just necessitates our community coming together as a unified force around this common objective of positive change.
I’m building our outreach. Everyone should be heard. I want everyone to know that if you go to bit.ly/accessperfect10 you can sign up for my newsletter and learn about what I have been working on.
Denver Councilmember Chris Hinds represents District 10. The district covers north central Denver, including Capitol Hill, Congress Park, Cherry Creek and more. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.