DENVER (CBS4)– Good news for all those who walk to get exercise or safe energy– Denver is getting kudos for being a “Walk Friendly Community” for its walkability and pedestrian safety.

The City and County of Denver was designated as a Walk Friendly Community by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.

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The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is a national clearinghouse on those walking and biking activities housed within the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.

Denver was awarded a gold-level designation for the work it has done to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access and comfort.

“Denver is thrilled to receive this designation today as it shows that we are a city that encourages community and brings people together,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “Being named a walk friendly community demonstrates that we are making significant strides toward building a healthy, livable and connected city. We look forward to advancing our efforts to further strengthen our pedestrian networks so that mobility and accessibility can continue to catalyze vibrant and connected neighborhoods.”

The WFC designation, awarded from bronze to platinum, is given to applicant communities that have demonstrated a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies. Applicants use a web-based program that asks a comprehensive set of questions and provides communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity.

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“One of the many benefits we receive with the Gold Walk Friendly Community designation is recommendations on how to build on our successes,” said Denver District 1 City Councilwoman Susan Shepherd. “I look forward to working with my colleagues, city staff and community advocates on setting ambitious goals that reflect Council priorities to enhance pedestrian connectivity in Denver, especially in low-income areas that have limited access to vehicles and transit and which would benefit from new pedestrian infrastructure.”

A key contributor and partner on Denver’s application was the advocacy group WalkDenver, which stresses that people are pedestrians by design and that walkability is the key to a happier, healthier and economically thriving future for our residents and businesses.

“The Gold Walk Friendly Community designation recognizes the high priority that city leaders have placed on creating a truly people-oriented city,” said Gosia Kung, Founder and Executive Director of WalkDenver. “We are excited about continuing the partnership between the city and citizen representatives established through the WFC evaluation process, growing the community’s involvement and identifying implementable next steps that build on the success of the Gold designation.”

The Walk Friendly Communities program is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and FedEx.

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