Chris Hinds sets sights on mobility in Denver

The new District 10 representative will be sworn in this month


Editor’s Note: District 10 covers the Uptown, Golden Triangle, Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park, Congress Park, Alamo Placita, Country Club and Cherry Creek neighborhoods.

As he begins to wind down from the June runoff campaign, newly elected Chris Hinds says he’s already started to receive calls and is scheduling meetings with District 10 residents. New councilmembers aren’t sworn in until July 15, but Hinds is considering this as training for the job.

Since he won’t receive full-time staff from the city until he’s sworn in, Hinds is currently a one-man band, he said.

“The elect part means you have all of the responsibility, but none of the resources,” he said. “I’m doing my best to try to field concerns.”

Hinds was part of a city council shake-up that unseated three incumbent councilmembers, including District 10’s former representative, Wayne New. Hinds said he felt like voters used their voices in “making sure we have government that represents the people.”

Hinds has been brainstorming a list of ideas he wants to accomplish, he said. Mobility in Denver — a key component to his campaign and an issue that drew Hinds into politics — will be a main focus.

In 2008, Hinds was hit by a car while riding his bike. The accident left him with a spinal cord injury, and he has since used a wheelchair to get around. Nearly 10 years after the accident, then-Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the Chris Hinds Act into law. The act created a placard which exempted people with disabilities from paying for parking if they are physically unable to use a meter.

His work on that law was an inspiration to Hinds. “If they’re going to start naming laws after me as a private citizen,” he thought, “imagine what I could do with legislation.”

Among his ideas on improving mobility are creating protected bike lane networks in the city and providing better sidewalk access for pedestrians and people who use wheelchairs. Denver’s uneven sidewalks can often feel like a “war zone,” Hinds said.

In addition to the physical layout of sidewalks, Hinds said he frequently heard from people while he was campaigning that construction projects often block sidewalks or take away from local parking.

The city should be “making sure we all have the freedom to get from A to B, and feel safe while doing it,” he said.

As a district that is close to both downtown and Cherry Creek, Hinds sees the area as a potential starting point for multimodal systems in the city. Although he recognizes the city can’t get rid of cars and parking lots overnight, the council needs to better prioritize transit and biking to enact change: “I see District 10 as a strong opportunity. It’s the best district to tackle and lead our non-car movement in Denver.”

The city also needs to find a better, more balanced system of growth, Hinds said.

“We have to balance the growth for the future of Denver,” he said, “with the people who live here today.”


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