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Denver would be allowed to create an RTD alternative to public transit under new department

Data pix.

DENVER -- Denver's Measure 2A wasn't a major issue in the election this past week but it is one that could have major implications for public transit in Denver.

Denver voters approved the measure, which allows the city to create a new Department of Transportation. Currently, transportation-related issues are handled by Public Works.

"It's much more than just a name change," Mayor Michael Hancock told FOX31 this week.

2A allows the city to operate alternatives to public transportation outside of RTD. That is significant given RTD's recent financial issues and calls for a reduction in service.

"We can create our own," Hancock said, speaking about the potential for new routes from downtown to Cherry Creek. "We can operate our own bus network if the department feels RTD is strapped and unable to move."

Apart from new forms of transit, the new department is expected to move more quickly on installing more bike lanes in Denver.

"You are going to see most of them role out in the next two to three years -- almost 100 miles," Piep van Heuven with Bicycle Colorado said. "The organizational restructure makes it likely to move the projects more quickly."

Approximately 73 percent of Denver commuters drive to work themselves. The city is striving to reduce that percentage over the next 10 years by improving options for public transportation, biking and walking.

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