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Merit Award - Innovation/Creative Partnerships & Collaborations: Denver Livability Partnership

In 2010, as part of the pilot year for the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the City and County of Denver received a joint Housing and Urban Development Community Challenge Grant ($1.8 million) and Department of Transportation TIGER Grant ($1.2 Million) to expand permanent affordable housing, improve access to jobs and create better multi-modal connectivity along Denver’s transit corridors. This funding helped shape the Denver Livability Partnership, designed to emulate the Federal effort at the local level.
Five specific planning projects and a plan for community outreach with a special focus on limited English proficiency populations shaped and expanded partnerships and opportunities along the west light rail corridor to transform Denver’s west side into livable, transit-oriented neighborhoods. Through continued capacity building and knowledge sharing even after the grant, best practices will now be applied to other corridors in Denver, in the region and nationwide. Denver’s work sets a national model for effective, inclusive and comprehensive planning along a transit system.

Project Highlights

Housing Development Assistance Fund: This fund was used to cover predevelopment and land acquisition costs to preserve land and opportunity for affordable housing within one-half mile of transit stations and high frequency bus routes. These funds will ensure that costs do not get passed through to the renter/owner, thereby lowering housing and transportation costs for west side families.
Number of affordable units/acres preserved or created within 1/2 mile of transit:
Jody Apartments – existing 62 units planned 300+ units
Mile High Vista – 80 units
Decatur-Federal - 2534 W. Colfax acquisition for future development of mixed-income housing
Walnut/Blake– 130 potential units
Evans Station Lofts – 50 units
Park Hill Village West – 156 units

TOD Strategic Plan: The TOD Strategic Plan update assessed lessons learned from the original plan and shifted the focus toward implementation of TOD. The plan identified citywide strategies and station specific strategies for implementing TOD throughout the city. The plan takes the next step beyond the 2006 Strategic Plan of categorizing a specific set of stations where the city can focus investments and have near-term expectations of a return on that public investment. Additionally, the plan identifies catalytic projects and establishes the expectation that the city will develop financing plans to fund those projects, which goes much further than evaluating stations and developing a generic tool kit. The TOD continuum, which identifies that stations are constantly evolving, is an approach that CPD hopes to carry further throughout its entire work-plan.

Decatur-Federal: The Station Area Plan and GDP outline a vision for the future of the Sun Valley Neighborhood, illustrating the necessary steps for the area to become a celebrated, connected, innovative, and healthy neighborhood. The project components included the Decatur-Federal Station Area Plan, the Decatur-Federal Market Analysis supporting economic and market study for the station area, the Colfax/Federal Interchange Study to evaluate existing conditions and alternatives analysis for the existing cloverleaf interchange in the center of the station area and the Decatur-Federal General Development Plan, an infrastructure framework tool that identifies roads, utilities and aggregated open space for the redevelopment of the Sun Valley neighborhood.

West Side Transit Enhancement Study: This two-phased study first assessed the condition and amenities of all bus stops in west Denver, then provided recommendations, service recommendations, and a future investment matrix to help guide improvements to the existing transit network. This study created a market analysis, case study report, and business plan for a community destination for urban agriculture, food storage, processing and distribution, nutrition education, business incubation and health screenings among other potential activities.

Knox Court Bike Boulevard: The Knox Court bicycle boulevard study created a “tool box” of potential treatments for bike boulevards throughout Denver, along with a conceptual design for a bike boulevard along Knox Court in west Denver. This route will connect communities in West Denver to the Knox Court light rail station via bike.

Denver Livability Partnership
City and County of Denver-multidisciplinary agencies
Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Inc.
Urban Land Conservancy (ULC)
Denver Housing Authority (DHA)
Regional Transportation District (RTD)
Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG)
Denver Health, Department of Public Health
LiveWell Westwood
Transit Alliance
Urban Land Institute (ULI)
U.S. Dept. Of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


 

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