Census Bureau data from 2013 says more and more people are leaving suburban sprawl and moving to more densely populated urban areas, like Denver. The growing trend shows more and more Denverites losing the car, and going with bikes, light-rail and ride sharing.
They're even just straight up walking. But what does a day of just walking around Denver look like?
Ken Schroeppel and Ryan Dravitz – known for their posts on the DenverInfill blog – created a short time-lapse showcasing the many walkable areas of Denver. It was a project created in conjunction with the multimedia One Day on Earth Project, which filmed thousands in 11 cities across the country in a single 24-hour period.
Denver is investing in creating additional walkable public spaces, including recently remodeled Union Station. A report published by the George Washington University School of Business, ranks Denver as the 14th most walkable city in the country, The Denver Post reports it could rise to a top 10 spot in the next 10 to 15 years.
Dravitz and Schroeppel filmed 16 sites around the city over a 14-hour period including Denver’s 16th Street pedestrian mall, a promenade at the Denver Art Museum, and the Highland Bridge Walkway connecting Denver’s Highland Neighborhood to Union Station.
Jill Locantore, the director of WalkDenver, a nonprofit working to make Denver the most walkable city in the country, points out that there are very walkable areas in the city, but other areas are much less accessible. She said current Denver policy places responsibility for sidewalks squarely on the adjacent private property owner.
“So that’s resulted in a situation where we have a very inconsistent system where the sidewalk will literally start and stop on the same block, and also these gross disparities where wealthy neighborhoods have a beautiful well connected pedestrian network and low income neighborhoods that are the most dependent on walking as a form of transportation really have the least adequate pedestrian infrastructure,” Locantore said.
The city has made creating a more walkable community a priority, including the creation of a Mayor’s advisory committee on walkability. But Locantore said the real stumbling block to a completely walkable city is finding a steady source of funding.
Anthony Aragon, director of Denver’s Boards and Commissions, is seeking members for that new Pedestrian Advisory Committee. He said it’s essential for the city to look at how people move, “looking through the lens of the pedestrian, looking through the lens of a bicyclist and looking at the lens of transit in general.”
Capturing the city through their lens, Dravitz said on their website that he and Schroeppel visited more than 15 sites, took 4,842 photos filling 155 gigabytes of data.
“Shooting commenced at 5:06 AM to catch the sunrise, and ended at 7:55 PM when my last camera battery, out of seven, died as the skies darkened. Ken accompanied me for the entire shoot, helping carry equipment and transporting us to every location,” Dravitz wrote.
“We had the process down to a science: get to the site, setup, shoot 250 photos at 4-second intervals, take down, and move on. There was no looking back and no retakes.”