Remembering to honor cultural diversity (and safety) in Denver

Far East Center Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 12.24.56 PM

This morning, a story in Denverite about the Far East Center on South Federal Boulevard caught my eye, mainly because I was over there last week. Of course, to eat. It had been a while, but tackling a giant eggy pancake filled with meat and vegetables reminded me of trips there in the past.

But what really struck me was the fact that as Denver has become less diverse because of economic pressures (and gentrification), this center offers so much for those of us who live in Denver, from restaurants to a market that sells a lot of really wonderful items.

The story focuses on the Far East Center as a cultural hub on a street that needs attention to safety and pedestrian traffic – not just cars. It’s great that a variety of agencies and groups want to focus on making South Federal more safe and environmentally friendly, and I hope that works out. But conducting massive road improvements can take a lot of time, which often does not help potential visitors to get where they want to go.

There are four plans involving South Federal, according to Denverite:

  • CDOT wants to build medians from Alameda to Vassar, with an eye toward improving safety for pedestrians – but apparently there’s a catch to that.
  • Denver’s Public Works department wants to install drainage areas to divert stormwater for treatment before it flows into waterways, a plan that would turn South Federal into a “green boulevard.”
  • WalkDenver and the West Denver Renaissance Collaborative have begun a “placemaking” project that would beam in on the cultural aspects and history. It’s a pilot program, and there is a link to a poll where people can have their say.
  • Finally, apparently the city has its eye on beginning what is called a “transit alternatives analysis” for Federal. The head of WalkDenver – a group that is trying to make it safer for pedestrians (and I heartily thank them) – says this study could perhaps begin this year.

There’s a lot more to learn in this piece, especially the history of the strip known as Little Saigon and the people who made it happen. It’s part of the experience of living in Denver — something I do not want to lose.

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