Over the past several years, the City has been growing tremendously with development projects in many areas. This exponential increase in residential, office, and retail development can especially be seen in the Cherry Creek North (CCN) area with over 20 projects completed or underway. This growth and excessive development within a relatively small area comes with imposing impacts on existing retail and neighborhoods, especially if not controlled and managed properly.
In the past year, with 10 projects underway, the following major problems in the Cherry Creek North community could have a direct effect on the Country Club Historic neighborhood as construction continues on the west side of the Business Improvement District or BID:
(1) Construction workers parking in metered spaces that are needed for retail customers and parking throughout the neighborhoods in restricted areas;
(2) Trucks carrying construction material traveling through and parking in the neighborhoods;
(3) Partial and full street closures to allow the expansion of constuction sites; and
(4) The City allowing construction to occur without considering impacts to retailers and residents, the lack of enforcement which is needed to mitigate problems and the concern for pedestrian safety.
Over the past year, I have worked with Public Works on the following improvements:
(a) The Cherry Creek Shopping Center has provided 250 parking spaces at minimal cost for construction workers;
(b) Parking Enforcement has been urged to recruit additional enforcement staff to ticket violators such as construction workers using resident and retail parking;
(c) Right of Way has been constantly encouraged to monitor the inappropriate use of bagged meters; and
(d) My staff and I have constantly communicated with Public Works and developers to supervise construction workers and minimize impacts on the community.
Even though efforts have been made to mitigate problems, Public Works and construction support has been insufficient. In order to address the problems, the CCN Business Improvement District, CCH and CCN neighborhood leaders and I have proposed the following key improvements to be implemented as Public Works regulations or as a City Council Ordinance.
1. Excessive Construction and City Enforcment Staffing – When excessive construction projects occur in a given area, Public Works Right of Way and Parking Enforcement staffing must be increased to manage construction impacts more effectively.
2. Proper Notification on Meter Bagging, Street Closures, and Construction Schedules – Since Public Works Permitting, Right of Way, and Parking divisions have not communicated effectively with each other and with businesses and residents, bi-weekly construction meetings are proposed. This will ensure all parties are aware of pending construction project impacts on the community and provide the opportunity to address those impacts before they occur.
3. Partial and Full Street Closures – Partial and full street closures to expand construction sites should not be allowed. Closures should only be allowed for legitimate activities that will have safety concerns to the public.
4. Pedestrian Sidewalks – Closed sidewalks must be replaced by covered, waterproofed, and lighted walkways.
5. Damage to Streetscape and Streets – Construction projects should be responsible for repairing streetscapes and streets to their original condition and appearance. These repair costs should not be paid by taxpayers as is the present Public Works practice. If repairs are required, the cost should be considered a cost of construction.
6. Parking Plans – Parking plans for construction trucks and workers must be developed, evaluated, and approved prior to receiving building permits. If offsite parking is necessary, developers must facilitate and insist on worker conpliance.
7. Parking at Alley and Intersection Entrances – Entrances at alleys and intersections should be properly marked to provide safe vehicle sightlines for customers and residents, and regulations must be diligently enforced to ensure compliance.
8. Parking District – A parking district, which is common in many cities, should be developed to (a) manage parking operations and enforcement; (b) enhance permitting communication for construction projects; and (c) improve everyday traffic management in the business area and neighborhoods.
These improvements have been presented and discussed with Public Works. If improvements are not addressed by regulations, then a City Council ordiance will be proposed to implement the improvements on a citywide basis. This is not only a District 10 problem but one that is citywide, with other areas of the city suffering with some, if not all, of these construction issues.
The new Public Works Executive Director, Eulois Cleckley, has been receptive to changes, which will be addressing our recommendations in the near future. Progress on these improvements will be communicated to you. I welcome your comments and suggestions.
The complete listing of issues and recommendations is found on our District 10 website at https://goo.gl/4FrcVu
Wayne New, City Council, District 10