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Must read: The Nation magazine sheds a suspicious light on the Interstate 70 upgrade plan

The Nation presents a dark take on how the government's plan to bury sections of Interstate 70 in Denver could destroy the character of historic neighbohoods. In short, residents lose and real estate investors win.

"The CDOT’s plan would condemn 56 homes and 17 businesses—a more extensive use of eminent domain than was required for the construction of the highway in the first place. It would also sever the neighborhoods during the decade of construction and open them to land-grabbing by developers."

The plan, the story contends, is an update of redlining because it would make many homeowners ineligible for FHA mortgages. 

"It already appears to be working. In addition to direct displacement by eminent domain, home values in GES have increased by 68 percent in the last two years (compared to 30 percent in the rest of Denver). This has displaced the neighborhoods’ renters, who are uniquely precarious—over 50 percent have no lease at all—as well as longtime homeowners who cannot afford the increased property taxes. The stormwater component of the plan also places Globeville back into the 100-year floodplain, making homeowners ineligible for FHA loans. The redlining returns."

Read author Caroline Tracey's full report here.
 

Norfolk, the latest city to witness, and envy, Denver transit

Jordan Pascale, who covers transportation for The Virginian-Pilot, writes about RTD's light rail to DIA and uses it as a platform for discussing the transit system in Norfolk.

He writes:

"I’m convinced, now more than ever, that if Norfolk’s proposed light-rail extension doesn’t go to Norfolk International Airport, then we’ve made a huge mistake."

He's good at explaining how it works:

"Technically it’s designated commuter rail – the cars look a bit more like subway cars on the outside and have a higher capacity than Norfolk’s light rail but still feel like light rail on the inside."

And he points out its peculiarities, which is kind of entertaining:

"One odd thing that I noticed: police and other personnel stationed at each crossing gate holding stop signs as the train passed. They had umbrellas set up and everything to keep them out of the heat. I thought it was just a weird Colorado law.

Turns out the gates have been malfunctioning. The private consortium is footing nearly $6 million a year to staff the gates."

And this:

"Some things are confusing, especially to this out-of-towner. The airport line is called the “University of Colorado A Line” despite not serving any of the campuses. It’s merely a name sponsorship deal."

Read the whole story here.

 

Does DIA have the best wifi on the planet?

Denver is getting some world-wide attention for its internet capabilities. The Financial, a publication out of Tbilisi, Georgia, reports that Denver International Airport has the "fastest Wi-Fi among the world’s top airports."

The article cites a report from  "the global internet testing and analysis company, Ookla."

An exceprt:

"According to Ookla, DEN offers free Wi-Fi with an average download speed of 78.22 Mbps, topping the list of more than 50 major airports tested across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. DEN previously was listed as the fastest Wi-Fi among U.S. airports by Ookla. Updated testing conducted from March to May 2017 found that DEN’s Wi-Fi speed increased by 27 percent. Additionally, Ookla noted a 60 percent improvement in cellular download speeds at DEN."

Reasd the story here.

 

Top art blog Hyperallergic has some fun with alien conspiracy at DIA

A bit of local lure goes national with Hyperallergic's recent piece on DIA. The airport is considering getting rid of the maintenance-heavy Interior Garden, which is a great excuse to bring up the old trope about aliens and Satan-worshippers being part of DIA's grand plan. Again.

There is good info about the endangered pice:

"The airport’s art has been in the news recently because an installation by Michael Singer, “Interior Garden” (1995) — commissioned for the opening of the airport itself — was flagged by management as an expensive liability. This led to outcry against the proposed deaccessioning of the work, with the public weighing in on the piece’s value for the airport and the city."

And some nonsense, that's always worth repeating, probably because nothing more interesting ever really happens at DIA:

"Conspiratorial “experts” like Jay Weidner assert that the airport’s murals and capstone prove the existence of a secret government plan for a “New World Order.” Others implicate the airport in the murder of JonBenét Ramsey. One local Evangelical Christian group, Cephas Ministries,  claimed that the DIA was built as part of a plot to murder the “people that Lucifer hates.”

Read the whole thing here.

 

Construction Equipment magazine offers comprehensive take on I-70's innovative jobs program

The innovative jobs program for the Interstate 70 renovation project was big news in the construction industry.  Illinois-based Construction Equipment magazine offered a suprisingly thorough look, showing how different constituenices value news differently.

It is a unique program, as the story points out:

"An estimated 350 workers will be drawn from the area and provided with training to build the Central 70 project now and a good career as time goes on."

The training is real -- and funded:

"Using a $400,000 federal grant received last year, CDOT will partner with Gary Community Investments (GCI) to provide more than $1 million for training and support programs, including child care so residents can take advantage of the training opportunities and jobs.  Last year the U.S. Department of Transportation gave CDOT – one of only nine other transportation agencies nationwide – permission to pilot a local-hire program for Central 70."

Read the whole story here.

 

Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes to Denver to write about good transporation ideas.

People in Denver may complain about public transportation on those days when the trains run slow, but, from the outside, things look pretty good. The Atlanta-Journal-Constitution, exploring ways its home city can plan for future transit needs, found some good ideas at work here.

"It’s the kind of complex transportation network experts say is needed to address traffic congestion in booming metro areas. And Atlanta officials are paying attention to Denver and other cities that are building those kind of networks.Metro Atlanta’s long-term transportation plan includes many of the elements the Mile High City already has: bus rapid transit, new light rail and streetcar lines, an extensive network of toll lanes for congested highways and new trails to encourage commuting by bike and on foot."

The story includes a nice summary of the history of light-rail. A good read for anyone here who doesn't know the evolution of our trianst system and what it can teach us about making big, bold moves:

"The Denver Regional Transportation District opened its first light rail line – a 5.3-mile stretch along I-25 in central Denver – in 1994. It proved so successful RTD had to order six more vehicles to carry passengers."

Read the whole story here.

 

Urban Land Institute credits Denver as one of several "smart cities"

The Urban Land Institute, a thought leader in the development of cities, uses the Peña Station Next development, near DIA, as its number one example in talking about the evoltuion of building technology.

An excerpt:

"Panasonic and local developer L.C. Fulenwider, which are partnering on the project with the city of Denver and an assortment of other local stakeholders, envision a dense mixed-use project—including 1.5 million square feet (139,000 sq m) of office space, 500,000 square feet (47,000 sq m) of retail uses, and 2,500 residences—that will double as a proving ground for exotic technology. When the $500 million project is completed in ten to 12 years, it will be a landscape where virtually every object—from lighting to parking meters—will be connected to the internet and equipped with sensors and/or cameras to supply a continuous stream of data to the development’s managers, who also will be able to control them via cloud-based apps."

It's a fascinating read that travels around the globe. Access the entire article here.
 

ULC's Tony Pickett offers housing lessons to Oregon's Metro

Tony Pickett of Denver's Urban Land Conservancy recently spoke about affordability and equity in Portland.

Excerpt:

The Urban Land Conservancy, where Pickett has worked since 2013, has even more opportunity to create affordability in the Mile-High City. Started with a $15 million seed fund, the organization has grown over time to invest $70 million in 28 projects, generating over $400 million in redevelopment.

One of the conservancy's advantages has been the ability to move quickly to purchase prime sites as Denver undergoes a multi-billion dollar expansion of its rail transit system.

Pickett shared the example of the conservancy's Park Hill Village West development, on Denver's new A-Line commuter rail connecting downtown to Denver International Airport. Urban Land Conservancy purchased the site close to a planned station in a historically black neighborhood to create permanently affordable housing with easy access to the region's growing transit network. The development opened at about the same time as the rail line.

Read the rest here.

Skytrax ranks DIA as best U.S. airport

Skytrax has released its annual rankings of "The World's est Airports." At No. 28, Denver International Airports was sandwiched between airports in Barcelona and Vienna. Singapore was at the top the list, and Denver bested 10 other U.S. airports that made the cut of 100.

See the full list here.

DIA food tops RewardExpert airport dining list

Denver International Airport beat out second-place Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix.

Excerpt:

Denver International Airport comes in at number one for the RewardExpert restaurant rankings by a comfortable margin. Ranked the highest in overall quality and second in price and variety, the DIA offers a breadth of excellent choices at a low price. The field-to-fork Root Down has a 4 and a half star rating with more than 1,000 reviews to its name.

Read the rest here.

CNN Money segment takes Ski Train from Denver

CNN Money covered the comeback of the Ski Train from Denver to the slopes at Winter Park.

Excerpt:

Beat the traffic and ditch the car: Amtrak's "Winter Park Express" takes skiers--and their gear-- from downtown Denver, Colorado, to the Winter Park Resort, literally steps away from mountain chair lifts. The train climbs nearly 4,000 feet above Denver, cruises through 28 tunnels and gets you back to the city in time for dinner.

Permalink here.
 

NY Times covers I-70 expansion controversy

The story delved into the environmental and health hazards associated with the project.

Excerpt:

Each morning Yadira Sanchez and her three children awaken to the roar of traffic and the plumes of exhaust that spill from the highway that cuts through their neighborhood.

Now, Ms. Sanchez and her family are confronting a plan to triple the width of this state's main east-west artery, sending tens of thousands more cars by their door.

Denver was the fastest-growing large city in America in 2015, with a population of nearly 700,000, and the scene of a tech and marijuana boom that has drawn 1,000 new households a month. But as in other cities, its highways have not kept up with development. Many roads are crumbling, leaving officials with decisions that will have lasting effects on the families living nearby, including residents of Elyria-Swansea, a low-income and overwhelmingly Latino community still reeling from the road's construction back in 1964.

Read the rest here.

U.S. News & World Report pegs Denver second-best city to live

After topping the list in 2016, Denver was second to only Austin in 2017.

Excerpt:

To clarify a common misconception, Denver is not a mountain town. It actually takes at least an hour to drive to the Rockies. But there are some great places for recreating within a 30-minute drive of downtown, such as Red Rocks Park and Cherry Creek State Park.  

Some might say that Denver is experiencing a gold rush of a different color: green. After Colorado residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, Denver has seen a surge in cannabis-related commerce, from dispensaries to magazines to high-tech paraphernalia like vaporizers, rolling papers, lotions and storage containers -- and the industry is just gaining speed. 

Read the rest here.

Adelaide looks to Denver for lessons

An InDaily story looked at what economic lessons the capital of South Australia could learn from Colorado's capital city.

Excerpt:

In 2015, Denver was named as [most] liveable city in the west and the fourth-best metro area for science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals in America. More than 38 per cent of Colorado's adult population has completed a bachelor's degree or higher. In 2015, Colorado was also ranked as the second-most entrepreneurial State in America.

Adelaide, like Denver, provides a very high quality of life, affordable housing, quality health care, a ready supply of commercial property for lease or purchase, friendly people, a well-educated work force, and many other attributes that mirror Denver's. Adelaide's countryside is very attractive, tourism is well targeted and events are significantly supported.

Adelaide Airport has improved quite dramatically since the 1990s. Adelaide Oval is a world class venue. So why hasn't Adelaide grown at anything like the very fast rate of Denver?

Read the rest here.

Mayor Hancock gives Denver travel tips to U.S. News & World Report

His picks included LoDo, the Denver Art Museum and Red Rocks.

Excerpt:

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has been a key force behind efforts to ramp up tourism in the Mile High City since being elected in 2011, working to expand direct flights to Denver International Airport and improve the airport's facilities. A longtime Denver resident now in his second term, Hancock has seen firsthand how much the city has grown and changed over the years. He says Denver has a special quality that makes the city unique.

"There’s a certain spirit in this city you don’t find everywhere," he tells U.S. News. "It’s a very optimistic, forward-thinking, positive spirit that permeates every sector and every individual."

. . .

Describe your perfect day in Denver.

My family and I would go have brunch at Snooze or one of the great diners in Denver, like the Denver Diner downtown. Then we would go walk the dogs in City Park. Then maybe we’d go to the Denver Zoo, which is well-respected around the country. The primates and the elephants are my favorite animal exhibits. At night, we’d have dinner, then we would go find somewhere to enjoy live music because Denver has more live music venues than Austin, Texas. I love listening to jazz at El Chapultepec and Jazz at Jacks. The Soiled Dove Underground in [the neighborhood of] Lowry has great sound and gets some national acts.

Read the rest here.
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