Colorado offers $4.1 million to cities that use pavement for people, not cars, as part of coronavirus recovery

The new “Can Do Colorado” initiative offers grants for communities that expand dining, shopping and pedestrian access into common areas, including streets and parking lots

From The Colorado Sun
By Jason Blevins

Photo from the Breckenridge Tourism Office

Across Colorado, communities large and small are diverting cars around main streets to allow more open-air, socially-distanced dining, shopping and strolling.

And now the state is stepping in with a new $4.1 million grant program to encourage more creative uses for public streets as businesses revive after the pandemic shutdown.

DenverBoulder, LittletonLouisvilleArvadaFriscoBreckenridgeCarbondaleErieFort Collins and Estes Park are among the first municipalities to experiment with shifting pavement built for cars to pedestrian-only pockets. 

Gov. Jared Polis’s new multi-agency Can Do Colorado Community Challenge — announced Thursday amidst a flurry of initiatives — is championing those kinds of community efforts with grants that support safer workplaces, more open restaurants and easier remote working. 

Other state agencies involved in the challenge include the departments of labor, local affairs, regulatory affairs, public health, the Regional Air Quality Council, the Denver Regional Council of Governments and the Colorado Energy Office, all working to maintain progress made during the pandemic on issues like traffic and air quality. The agencies are offering a variety of grants, from a $500,000 program that offers e-bikes and e-scooters to low-income workers to commuting incentives for workers and employers that could improve air quality.

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