At the turn of the 20th century, Denver Mayor Robert Speer helped bring about stunning change to a Denver facing rapid growth and industrialization. Through The City Beautiful movement, his vision and leadership helped create a more beautiful, green and healthy city. As we look at Denver’s 21st century development boom, it’s clear that we have lost our way when it comes to the environment. We must renew our commitment to our parks, to our rivers, and to our green spaces throughout the city. We must also lead boldly in the fight to address climate change. As your mayor, I will:
Advance Denver’s Commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement
In 2015, the U.S. – along with 200 other countries – committed to the Paris Climate Agreement, an ambitious global action plan to fight climate change. While there has been announcement of federal intent to withdraw from the agreement, municipalities have and can continue to step up their efforts to guide their cities in meeting Agreement goals locally. I will deliver on this commitment by:
Establishing a solar economy in Denver to provide energy to public facilities across the city, and incentivize private sector investments in solar by developing creative financial partnerships
Eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels by significantly investing in transit, bike lanes and sidewalks
Restore the intent of the Green Roof Initiative that was passed by voters and subsequently dismantled by the city
Restart the “Mile High Million” program to plant one million trees in Denver
Continue to expand the city’s electric charging station program and find ways to encourage the purchase and use of electric vehicles
Expand Denver’s Parks and Green Spaces
Our previous generations of leaders made bold moves to acquire and protect park land and public space. Today, we are giving up these spaces to development and private interests. Parks, green space and open space are a right of our citizens, and serve to unite people and build community. As your mayor I will:
Commit to adding more parks and open spaces, especially in neighborhoods where parks are deficient and overused. Parks and green space must be integrated into both our land use planning and our transportation planning, ensuring every neighborhood has access to them.
Incorporate green spaces into all city-backed developments and city-owned property
Reduce heat island effects across the City by planting and promoting low-water trees and native grasses
Care for our green spaces using the best environmental practices, specifically eliminating the use of pollinator killing pesticides
Open parks to more diverse uses and protect them from abuses. Public spaces are essential community assets and should always be safe for families and kids.
Expand Denver’s Recycling Program and Expand Composting
Currently Denver’s waste diversion rate is less than 20% - we can do so much better. Doing better means making trash removal not the only choice, but rather making both recycling and composting an easier choice. It also means Denver must lead by example. I will commit to:
Moving the needle on Denver’s shamefully low rate of recycling (our rate is half that of cities such as Austin and Seattle) by instituting weekly residential pickup of recycling rather than current bi-monthly pickup and requiring apartment buildings to provide recycling for residents.
Expanding the compost program for all residents and businesses in Denver and waiving pickup fees.
Ensure that all city facilities mandate recycling and composting. Currently, for example, none of Denver’s parks have recycling cans. If Denver is to lead as a city, we must lead by example.
Clean Up Our Water
Water is our most precious resource here in Denver. From our drinking water to our rivers and streams, I’m committed to ensuring we protect it. As your mayor, I will:
Treat the South Platte River and other lakes, rivers, and streams as natural assets and not dumping grounds. The city will invest in water quality investments and bank improvements to revive native waterways.
Require every public street project be include bioswales and green stormwater retention and treatment to ensure that only clean stormwater goes into our rivers. Currently private developers are required to build stormwater treatment within their own developments, but the city does not require this of itself.
Work closely with Denver Water to ensure we have adequate water supply to support current and future growth, requiring cooperative planning as part of our zoning and density strategy.
Clean Up Our Air
Denver’s infamous “brown cloud” has returned, after years of fighting it. We are slipping backwards in our air quality, driven by allowing density and growth to happen without bold climate standards and investments in transit. We’re done slipping back and comprising the air we breathe. As your mayor I will partner with CDOT, local utilities, and local manufacturers to reduce emissions, odors, and pollutants across our city. No Denver family should have to worry about breathing in dangerous pollutants on their way to school, work, or play. We will set bold goals to reclaim our air quality for us and for future generations.