Colorado offers $4.1 million to cities that use pavement for people, not cars, as part of coronavirus recovery

New “Can Do Colorado” initiative offers grants for communities that expand dining, shopping and pedestrian access into common areas

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
Warwick Ford, center left, and Nola Ford share a lunch in the outdoor seating at Red Onion in downtown Aspen on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. “It’s wonderful, it’s our first day back at Red Onion,” said Nola. “We’re locals and we love it!”
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Across Colorado, communities large and small are diverting cars around main streets to allow more open-air, socially-distanced dining, shopping and strolling.

And now the state is stepping in with a new $4.1 million grant program to encourage more creative uses for public streets as businesses revive after the pandemic shutdown.

DenverBoulder, LittletonLouisvilleArvadaFriscoBreckenridgeCarbondaleErieFort Collins and Estes Park are among the first municipalities to experiment with shifting pavement built for cars to pedestrian-only pockets. 

Gov. Jared Polis’s new multi-agency Can Do Colorado Community Challenge — announced Thursday amidst a flurry of initiatives — is championing those kinds of community efforts with grants that support safer workplaces, more open restaurants and easier remote working.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is providing “small-scale grants” to cities and towns that can quickly convert parking spots and roads into plazas, using money available in the state’s Multi Modal Options Fund. The agency also is offering micro grants up to $5,000 for communities that promote telework to reduce commuter traffic on local roads.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

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