Denver hires new Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner

From Bike Denver

DENVER PUBLIC WORKS ANNOUNCES CITY PLANNER POSITION DEDICATED TO BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN TRANSPORTATION PLANNING

Full time Senior City Planner Emily Kreisa to focus on Denver’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure including immediate stimulus funding for bicycle facilities

Public Works Manager Bill Vidal is excited to announce the addition of Ms. Emily Kreisa to the Public Works Policy and Planning Department as the City’s first Senior City Planner focusing on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Kreisa joins a team of six outstanding Multimodal City Planners. The main purpose of the position is to develop long and short term plans, programs, goals and policies involving city/region wide bike and pedestrian planning initiatives. Kreisa’s first task will be to oversee the utilization of $250,000 in stimulus funds for bicycle facilities.

Guiding Denver’s commitment to multimodal transportation is the Strategic Transportation Plan (STP), a comprehensive document that addresses the current and future transportation needs of the Mile High City. A fundamental premise of the STP is that the future of Denver as a sustainable city depends upon relying on many modes of transportation, including walking, biking and using public transit in order to meet the transportation demands of the future without increasing our road footprint.

Kreisa’s mission as a multimodal planner concentrating on bicycle and pedestrian issues is largely to encourage citizens to spend less time in their cars and more time on a bike or on foot. Encouragement comes in the form of providing safe, accessible and easy to understand bicycle facilities throughout Denver. Kreisa will be critically assessing the current bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and determining where improvements can be made. With the statewide Bicycle Safety Act going into effect on August 5, 2009 and the upcominglaunch of Denver B-cycle (citywide bike sharing program), a focus on bicycle facilities in Denver is critical.

“We cannot rely solely on the automobile as our transportation choice in the future. The projected growth of the metro area by the year 2030 will demand that we utilize alternative modes of transportation to the single occupant vehicle,” said Vidal. “With Emily’s focus set on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, Denver Public Works will provide bikescape and pedscape that invites people to change their transportation behavior.”

Part of providing improved bike infrastructure will be assessing all bike routes as we perform our regularly scheduled maintenance on Denver streets. Using this programmatic approach, we’ll be able to determine if a bike route is in need of increased signage, bike lanes or sharrows (pavement markings that identify lanes shared by both cars and bicycles) in order to create a connected and easily recognized system for residents to enjoy.

Traffic volume and road width are factors that will be considered during this assessment to ensure safety. This pro-active process complements the routine refreshment ofall bicycle oriented pavement markings currently being performed. Kreisa will oversee the assessment process and track all improvements and upgrades, ensuring that all new facilities will be reflected in Denver’s new bike route map which will be available for free in December.

Kreisa will also oversee Federal Stimulus funds in the amount of $250,000 dedicated to provide bicycle mobility enhancements throughout Denver. The funds are allowing new bike lane installations at the following 11 locations:

· Mariposa Street - 8 th Avenue to Colfax Avenue
· Larimer Street - Broadway to Downing Street
· Champa Street - 19th to 24th Street
· Welton Street - Colfax Avenue to 14th Street
· Tremont Street - 16th Street to Broadway
· Stout Street - 30th Street to Downing Street
· 31st Avenue - Downing Street to Race Street
· Martin Luther King Boulevard - Elizabeth Street to Quebec Street
· Yale - Syracuse Way to Quebec Street
· 22nd Avenue - Park Avenue West to York Street
· East 12th Avenue - Clayton Street to Madison Street

Public Works will be applying new sharrows to enhance the above installations, as well as applying new sharrows to provide connectivity to, and within, downtown Denver. The special arrow markings alert cars to use caution and allow cyclists to safely travel in these designated lanes.

Kreisa joins Denver Public Works from Parsons Brinckerhoff Americas, Inc., where she was a Transportation Planner in Denver and Austin, Texas. Her accomplishments include developing pedestrian/bicycle elements for several long range transportation plans and managing the growth of the Safe Routes to School plans for 11 middle schools and 34 associated elementary schools. Kreisa also spent part of her career working at the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, a research institution at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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