As part of their Key Connections initiative, on August 6th, Groundwork Denver led a group of residents from the Athmar Park neighborhood on a walking tour Aspgren Park to the South Platte River trail. Over 20 residents attended, umbrellas in hand. Also in attendance was the Greenway Foundation. The purpose of the tour was to inform the neighborhood about the improvements taking place along the South Platte River trail at Johnson Habitat Park while taking note of dangerous intersections and connections on the way to the park. During the walk Groundwork Denver empowered residents with a walkability checklist developed by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and with the new smart phone app, WalkScope, developed by Walk Denver. Upon arrival at Johnson Habitat Park participants had a sneak peek at the construction site and then sat for an informal presentation by Denver Parks and Recreation.
Johnson Habitat Park sits on the banks of the South Platte River in the Athmar Park neighborhood. The City of Denver is investing millions of dollars to improve the park in order to make it more of a destination. Groundwork Denver will work with the neighborhood and with the Greenway Foundation on an approach for presenting the walking audit and WalkScope data to the City of Denver in hopes of achieving needed safety improvements in the built environment. For example, in order to get to Johnson Habitat Park, a pedestrian or bicyclist must cross over railroad tracks and cross South Platte River Dr. where vehicles are driving at high speeds around a blind corner. Additionally there are limited sidewalks along South Platte River Dr. adjacent to the park.
The event was a success! Everyone who participated indicated that they feel more knowledgeable about what is happening at the South Platte River in their neighborhood. Some residents did not know that Johnson Habitat Park existed before the walking tour and site visit. The overall purpose of Key Connections is to create awareness to the South Platte River trail and to achieve low-cost improvements to the built environment that will make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists to access the river and parks along it.