Measuring The Impact of Shared Streets in Denver During Shelter-in-Place

Original Article From The Spin Blog

Denverites take the streets for exercise and essential travel. The City’s open and shared streets program gives them the room to do it safely. Photo courtesy of the Denver Streets Partnership.

Spin is giving Denver Streets Partnership the tools to measure how people are using the city’s shared streets during the pandemic.

When the City of Denver issued its stay-at-home order in mid-March, people immediately started seeking out recreational space, causing crowding at parks and on trails.

That’s when the City decided to turn certain streets into shared or open streets, limiting the amount of car traffic in favor of creating safer places for people to walk, ride bikes and scooters, or otherwise get around while still maintaining safe physical distance.

“It seemed to us like an obvious solution,” said Jill Locantore, executive director of the Denver Streets Partnership. “What if we repurposed some street space?”

The result has been a pretty successful experiment in addressing the community’s need for more open space at a time when there is an immediate public health need for it. But Locantore notes that the popularity of this program, the reality that physical distancing will continue for some time even as cities begin to relax stay-at-home orders, and that safe and open streets also address other important environmental and public health issues, all point to the fact that these measures should be expanded and made more permanent.

That’s why she and her team are using the moment to collect qualitative and quantitative data about how people are using the open streets. As one of the six advocacy groups that Spin chose to participate in its Mobility Data for Safer Streets initiative, Denver Streets Partnership is armed with the tools to do just that.

“Having these data collection tools at our disposal really helps us be nimble,” said Locantore. “We wouldn’t have been able to do that as effectively without these data tools.”

Read the rest of the full article here.

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