By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – Shortly after COVID-19 hit Colorado, Denver’s city officials made changes to streets across town to allow those walking and biking more space to social distance.

Those using those streets, like Denver Health Dr. David Mintzer who bikes to work on 11th Avenue say it made all the difference.

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“Back in March and April at kind of the height of the pandemic I was working COVID ward almost every day, and I can honestly say biking without having to worry about cars was probably the only stress-free part of the day for me,” he said.

Across the city streets surrounding popular parks were closed or had limited vehicle access. Giving pedestrians safe social distancing space and reducing the number of peopled on narrow sidewalks.

“We think there’s just a ton of benefit to be had beyond COVID and beyond the pandemic, people are just enjoying these streets so much,” Mintzer said.

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His daughters Ella and Noa agree.

“I’m short so cars can’t really see me. Now I don’t have to worry about that stuff. Now I can go as fast as I want,” 6-year-old Noa said.

A member of the Denver Bicycle Lobby, he and other members like Spencer McCullough started a petition with already more than 1,000 supporters, hoping to keep the changes around.

“Long term I’d love to see these permanently closed to cars and see them add more lights more benches and places for people to sit,” McCullough said.

The group has already delivered the petition to the Mayor’s office and hopes to make their case in front of council soon.

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Out of all of the negative impacts COVID-19 brought with it, supporters say this could be a positive improvement that lasts.

“I want it to last for a long time, I also want the other park to be car free,” 9-year-old Ella said.

If you would like to learn more or sign the petition you can visit sharedstreetsdenver.com.

Karen Morfitt

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