Denver City Park

Denver City Park in Denver.

Denver voters will decide in November whether the city should create a new Department of Transportation and Infrastructure — a move aimed at addressing some of the chronic complaints about traffic congestion.

The City Council on Monday approved placing a charter change referendum on the Nov. 5 ballot.

If approved by the voters, the new department would design and oversee traffic infrastructure improvements including bicycle and pedestrian lanes.

Under the plan, Public Works would become a division within the new department. The plan would go into effect in January 2020.

The council also approved a five-year spending plan that will apply about $37 million in new annual revenue approved by the voters last year to parks acquisition and maintenance.

The aim of the new spending is to locate a city park or open space within a 10-minute walk of every resident.

“The people of Denver said yes to more parks in more neighborhoods, and this plan will help us take their investment and deliver on that promise,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a prepared statement released after Monday’s council vote.

Denver voters approved a .25 percent sales tax increase in November specifically for the parks improvements.

Among the projects included in the plan’s five-year budget are:

  • $1.5 million over two years for downtown forestry enhancement
  • $2 million for irrigation renovation in Fred Thomas Park
  • $2 million for Sloan’s Lake playground replacement
  • $3 million for Sand Creek Regional Trail buildout
  • $5 million for acquisition of park land in University Hills

The budget also includes money earmarked to increase spending on a backlog of $130 million in deferred maintenance projects.

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