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Chris's Thoughts

—  Chris’s Thoughts

Social Distancing, COVID-19, and ECAP
Thoughts by Chris Hinds
Practicing social distancing? Looking for something non-COVID to read? Help guide the future of central Denver's neighborhoods!

aka COVID-19 has me stuck inside, what can I do?

We keep hearing from you: how can we make a difference in our city now that we’re practicing good social distancing? Guess what? You’re in luck! A good way you can help us make Denver a better place is to let us know what YOU think makes Denver a better place. Better yet: you don’t even have to leave home!

You’re asking about an area plan during the pandemic?

Many people are concerned about COVID-19, and of course we are, too. That said, some people have told us they can “walk and chew gum at the same time” (yes, a quote!). This is a way to provide value to your neighborhood while remaining indoors, away from spreading the virus.

Plus, this is a natural extension of ECAP outreach. We’ve already reached out to all of the Registered Neighborhood Organizations in the ECAP boundaries. We’ve also reached out directly to thousands of apartments, condominiums, and homes in ECAP with fliers and emails. This third phase includes online outreach so we ensure everyone has an opportunity to provide input.

Am I in the plan area?

Right now, Denver is in the process of identifying what 4 of Perfect 10’s neighborhoods should look like: Uptown, Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park, and Congress Park. It also includes two more neighborhoods: City Park and City Park West.

What questions does the plan address?

Some of the questions addressed by the plan for these neighborhoods:

  • Should we have more affordable housing ? If so, where?
  • Should we have more bike lanes ? If so, where?
  • Should we have more green space or trees ? Parks? If so, where?
  • Should we have a dog park ?
  • Should we improve pedestrian safety ? Sidewalks?
  • Should we improve public transit ?
  • Should we beautify Colfax ?

Whew, that’s quite a lot! It kinda shows, too, because the first draft is a whopping 270 pages.

But don’t panic! Here at District 10, we’re going to break it down for you in a series of social media posts. They’ll all cover a concept and list exactly where in the plan that concept is. This will give you the chance to get familiar with the plan without having to read it page by page. Here’s an example:

Notice:

  • ECAP has a section for each neighborhood. Our images do, too. (Example: Congress Park)
  • ECAP has several priorities in each neighborhood, Our images do, too. (Example: street recommendations)
  • Inside those priorities, there are specific suggestions, like improving pedestrian and bike safety along Colorado Blvd.

For many of these, it may seem like a no-brainer. If so, great! That’s what happens when you have almost 3 years of public feedback and engagement before writing a draft. Still, we’d like to know that you agree with the recommendation. Just because it’s in the draft doesn’t mean it’s definitely in the final product. We think we heard you, but it’s great to KNOW we heard you, not just think it.

Some might be more controversial, and we want to know that, too. It’s important we hear from everyone so we know this is what neighbors want.

How do I comment?

We’ll help with that, too. You can participate a few ways:

  • We will give you the specific reference where you can go online and comment directly on a digital version of the plan (here).
  • We will give you a snippet of text you can copy/paste into a web form so Denver has your comment (spoiler alert… the form is here: https://colfaxareaplans.konveio.com/general-feedback)
  • We will give you a snippet of text you can copy/paste into an email to send to the lead planner.

This isn’t what I was told!

Everything in our graphics are exactly what’s in the plan. We even cite exactly where to find it in the plan! We’re aware that there’s some misinformation out there. Sometimes it’s like the game of telephone – you hear from someone who heard from a neighbor who attended one meeting a year or so ago, and as we know, the game of telephone doesn’t always get the original idea across. We want to make sure everyone knows the actual information, not just something that someone may have read in a flier they found at the pharmacy.Have I heard about this somewhere before?


Haven’t I heard about this somewhere before?

We sure hope so! This is actually the third extension of the public comment process for this draft. We first reached out to the steering committee, and they shared this information with their networks. We then reached out to the Registered Neighborhood Organizations, and they shared this information with their networks. Then the District 10 office scheduled and attended 14 meetings between January 6 and February 5, 2020. We also trained about a dozen people who then scheduled meetings and performed trainings on their own. We also placed fliers on thousands of doors and in mail rooms throughout the 4 ECAP neighborhoods in District 10.

Finally, to ensure we make every attempt to engage as many people as possible, we’re taking the opportunity to reach out digitally. After all, many of us are stuck at home with extra time on our hands because of the COVID-19 pandemic.