DENVER – A proposal that would fund repairs of the city’s crumbling public sidewalks in about a decade instead of the current 400-year estimate is making it to the November ballot.
On Tuesday, the Denver Elections Division tweeted that the Denver Street Partnership had submitted enough signatures for the question to appear in the Nov. 8 General Election ballot. In total, the partnership collected 19,478 signatures, 10,464 of which were found to be valid, according to election officials.
As it stands now, homeowners and businesses are responsible for the sideways adjacent to their properties, which has led to wide disparities in their upkeep. At current funding levels, it would take around 400 years to build, widen and fix the sidewalks, a 2019 report from the city shows.
Under the new proposal, the burden of responsibility would be transferred to the city, funded by a recurring fee for property owners based upon factors like length of property and the type of street it’s located on, with work being completed for all of the city's neighborhoods within nine years. The Denver Streets Partnership previously told Denver7 a typical single-family home could expect to pay an annual fee of about $107, or about $9 per month.
“We are excited that Denverites will have the opportunity to vote for a more equitable, fair, and safe city for everyone when they cast a vote for Denver Deserves Sidewalks,” said Jill Locantore, executive director of the Denver Streets Partnership in a prepared statement Monday afternoon.
Those backing the measure say sidewalks are of significant importance to people with disabilities, the elderly, parents with children and “anyone who is unable to drive or would prefer to drive less.”
Proponents behind the initiative say the Denver Department of Transportation (DOTI) would be in charge of managing the program, prioritizing sidewalk construction, upgrades and repairs along the city’s most dangerous streets, major transit corridors, and streets connecting to high-priority destinations including schools, parks, grocery stories, and health care centers.
City officials say 40% of sidewalks citywide are either missing or too narrow. The number goes up in low-income areas, to nearly 50%.