Hancock, others support I-70 solution

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Highlights:

  • Mayor Hancock other leaders support East I-70 solution.
  • Partial Cover Lowered Alternative endorsed for I-70.
  • Today is the last day of public comments for C-DOT.
A preliminary drawing of what a portion of the

A preliminary drawing of what a portion of the Partial Cover Lowered Alternative could look like along I-70.

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and a coalition of regional leaders today announced their support for the Partial Cover Lowered Alternative for the Interstate 70 East project as the solution to resolve the challenges that face the primary transportation arterial and the affected surrounding neighborhoods.

 Mayor Michael B. Hancock and a coalition of regional leaders on Friday announced their support for the Partial Cover Lowered Alternative for the Interstate 70 East project as the solution to resolve the challenges that face the primary transportation arterial and the affected surrounding neighborhoods.

 After more than 10 years of engagement with thousands of neighbors and stakeholders and studies of numerous alternatives, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s public comment period on the current preferred plan concluded on Friday.

Hancock and a majority of Denver City Council members are requesting that CDOT address issues critical to ensuring a good quality of life, health and safety for the impacted neighborhoods, commuters and Denver as a whole.

“The PCL Alternative is an innovative solution to fix outdated infrastructure that has challenged surrounding neighborhoods for decades,” Hancock said

“With Denver alone expecting another 100,000 residents in the next 10 years, for the sake of the neighborhoods and the region we have to get this transportation project right,” he continued

“And the time is now,” Hancock said.

He said that part of the city is ready to take off.

“This area of town is poised to see significant improvements, beginning with a $46 million investment next year that is part of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative,” Hancock said.

“We must continue to have honest conversations about what success looks like in this cornerstone of our city and how we get there together.”

In a letter to CDOT, the Hancock outlined Denver’s primary concerns about the I-70 project and the solutions the city would like to continue to work toward throughout 2015.

Next August, CDOT is scheduled to provide answers to the questions and concerns raised throughout the public input process.

By early 2016, the Federal Highway Administration is expected to certify the plan based on CDOT’s answers to the community, which will allow the project to commence.

Hancock committed to staying at the table with CDOT throughout the next year to identify solutions and represent the voice of the Denver community.

“My No. 1 goal is to ensure that this project supports the Elyria, Swansea and Globeville neighborhoods,” Hancock said.

“I am concerned that the impacts of this project could be borne disproportionately by the surrounding minority and low-income communities,” he continued.

“We thank CDOT for their work to identify solutions that will mitigate negative impacts to area residents but recognize we still have a lot of work to do,” the mayor said.

“Current proposals do not fully compensate for the impacts,” Hancock said. “Appropriate mitigation throughout the life of the project is critical to our city and residents.”

The items raised by Denver include a request for additional solutions to address air quality, noise and transit needs for residents, a request to enable another cover to the highway project that would better connect the community, and a request for careful consideration of the highway width and interchanges, also termed the “footprint.”

As Denver works collaboratively with CDOT through the city’s concerns, the Department of Public Works will continue to engage the community in additional conversations regarding the following topics:

  • Neighborhood health and quality of life
  • Second cover
  • Air quality
  • Highway footprint
  • Connectivity
  • 47th and York
  • Steele/Vasquez and Colorado Boulevard interchanges
  • Housing and relocation
  • Drainage and water quality

The coalition of regional leaders, who have led the Denver metro area to become one of the strongest regional economies in the nation, has been engaged in the I-70 East project planning and study process since its inception in 2003.

These organizations remain committed to delivering the best, most viable transportation solution for the entire state.

The coalition of regional leaders who support the PCL Alternative includes:

  • Adams County, Commissioner Eva Henry
  • American Institute of Architects Denver
  • City of Aurora, Mayor Steve Hogan
  • City and County of Denver
  • Commerce City
  • Denver City Council
  • Downtown Denver Partnership
  • Elyria Swansea/Globeville Business Association
  • National Western Stock Show
  • VISIT DENVER

Statements from the coalition of regional leaders who support the PCL Alternative:

  • “CDOT has developed a creative solution that would improve I-70 on its existing alignment while addressing concerns expressed by the surrounding communities,” said Eva Henry, Adams County Commissioner. “The PCL Alternative is a hard earned compromise plan achieved through considerable collaboration and will ultimately have a positive impact on all involved, including the Adams County communities.”
  •  “It is our opinion that in order to provide the optimal solution for the local community and users of the I-70 corridor, it is imperative that the I-70 East project become a community-building project, not just a highway improvement project,” according to Nanon Adair Anderson, American Institute of Architects Denver 2014 president, and Robb Berg, , ASLA Colorado 2014 president.
  •   “This is the only option that makes sense for the long-term transportation and development future of the eastern section of the metro area,”  Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan. “Aurora citizens will greatly benefit from the completion of this project. An improved I-70 helps all of us.”
  • “For more than a decade, the region has collectively struggled with how best to balance I-70’s growing transportation needs while minimizing impacts to adjacent communities,” said Commerce City Mayor Sean Ford. “Commerce City supports the proposed preferred alternative’s basic option, a compromise solution that provides needed safety and mobility improvements for all interstate users, which protects residents’ quality of life and offers regional economic benefits.”

Denver Councilwoman Judy Montero, represents the area, which is in her District 9.

“As a representative that is working at the local level, I have focused on the neighbors I represent that are most impacted by this project in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods,” Montero said.

“It is the people that should be at the forefront in this project when it comes down to it,” she continued.

“Enhancing people’s quality of life is the purpose of building effective transit systems, and through our comments and the comments residents have made, we are informing CDOT what modified components of the project and the types of mitigation that will do this,” Montero continued.

The neighborhoods have been impacted for a half century, she noted.

“These neighborhoods had the highway bisect them in 1964 and have had a large viaduct through their community that they have lived with for 50 years—but they are stronger than ever,” Montero said

“Since we have so much at stake here with the community, and with large amounts of public investment, CDOT needs to be presenting solutions that are beyond widening the highway, and are reorienting the highway as part of the community, and Denver, itself,” she said.

Other city leaders also addressed  the importance of a solution along I-70.

“The proposed I-70 solution will provide necessary improvements that enhance and better connect this vital corridor to Downtown Denver,” said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership.

“The National Western Stock Show and the Western Stock Show Association support CDOT’s Partial Cover Lowered Alternative as it is of vital importance to the future of our site,” said Paul Andrews, president and CEO of the National Western Stock Show.

“We will continue to work alongside CDOT to see this significant regional investment come to fruition.” Andrews added.

“There is a substantial investment being made in the “Corridor of Opportunity” that Mayor Hancock has envisioned including the I-70 project, and we are very supportive of investments like this that reinforce a new gateway into our city.” – Richard Scharf, president and CEO, VISIT DENVER

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at  JRCHOOK@gmail.com. DenverRealEstateWatch.com  is sponsored by 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.

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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for GlobeSt.com, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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