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Report Calls for More CO Investment in Walking, Biking, Transit

A new report recommends Colorado invest at least $1 billion a year in transit, biking and sidewalks. (Pixabay)
A new report recommends Colorado invest at least $1 billion a year in transit, biking and sidewalks. (Pixabay)
August 22, 2016

DENVER – Colorado will have to invest at least $1 billion a year in transit, biking and sidewalks to meet the challenges of a growing population, according to a new study by the CoPIRG Foundation and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

Danny Katz, the foundation's director, says the study found more than half of all car trips along the Front Range are three miles or less, and with 2.4 million people expected to pour into Colorado by 2040, it's time to start building alternatives.

"And we're going to have more and more people moving to Colorado,” he points out. “It's going to be critical to provide options for people to do those shorter trips without a car. Otherwise, we're just going to run out of room."

Katz says the new plan would add transit to rural parts of the state, so aging populations can make it to doctors' appointments, and would also establish bus service to ski areas to help relieve I-70 congestion.

He notes the Denver region alone currently spends more than $4 billion a year on transportation, and he is hopeful the study will help guide future investments.

The report found Colorado cities and towns are missing some 6,000 miles of sidewalks, and 8,600 miles need repair.

"Walking is the most basic form of transportation and everybody will do it at some point in their day, and everybody should have safe and efficient sidewalks in their community," Katz stresses.

He adds more people getting around on foot or bike would also reduce air pollution. He says the current car-based system is responsible for almost a quarter of the state's toxic emissions, which are linked to asthma, lung disease and premature death.

"The other big benefit of investing in transit, walking and biking is that it gives people a more active way to get around their community,” Katz states. “Biking and walking just makes you a healthier person and makes your community a healthier place to live."

Katz says next steps are to meet with decision makers, including local, state and regional planners, to review the findings. After that, he says it's up to Coloradans to make their voices heard about the proposal.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO