Early and unofficial results reveal Denver ordinance 307 supporters had a slight edge Wednesday.
As of 2:30 p.m., 128,582 votes have been counted. A little over half of Denverites, 52.96%, want to shift sidewalk maintenance from landowners to the City of Denver.
The City of Denver's Ordinance 307 tasks the city with creating a sidewalk master plan. Given current spending levels, the city needs roughly 400 years to completely repair sidewalks and bring them within Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, according to city officials.
Ordinance 307 changes that by shifting the responsibility of sidewalk maintenance from property owners to the city. The shift and incurred costs will be supported by an annual fee property owners must pay based on the length of sidewalks on their property.
This fee ranges from $2.15 to $4.30, depending on the classification of street one has. In light of historical underinvestment in some neighborhoods, the ordinance builds in a 20% discount for neighborhoods the city identified in the neighborhood equity and stabilization program.
Supporters of the ordinance argued 40% of Denver streets have no sidewalk at all, or one that is too narrow to accommodate a wheelchair. Other sidewalks are in serious disrepair.
The proposed ordinance is a result of the city's current policy failing to create a complete sidewalk network that is safe and equitable, according to supporters. They also said Denverites are 30 times more likely to be killed in a pedestrian-versus-vehicle crash because of the unsafe sidewalks.
Opponents didn't think the ordinance was equitable at all since residents already pay a storm water drainage tax, and this proposal piled on more costs. In addition, some neighborhoods eligible for the 20% discount have seen a degree of gentrification. The affluent owners who contributed to the gentrification still get the discount.
Opponents said the ordinance raised more questions than it answered, and a better solution to Denver's sidewalks is out there.