Denver Council approves $830,000 electric transportation contract with Montbello Organizing Committee
Residents of northeast Denver’s Montbello neighborhood will soon have access to e-bikes powered by the sun and other electric transportation infrastructure.
The Denver City Council on Monday night approved an $828,904 contract with the nonprofit Montbello Organizing Committee to provide sustainable transportation services in the neighborhood through March 2025.
That contract will bring 10 electric bikes that run exclusively on solar power, a 14-passenger electric shuttle and the first publicly accessible electric vehicle charging station to the heavily residential part of town, a committee representative told The Denver Post on Monday.
“It gives people additional options for traveling in and out of the community and it helps solve a lot of transportation needs that a lot of partners are facing,” said Mayra Gonzales, the Montbello Organizing Committee’s program director. “It helps us adopt new technology where infrastructure is not being built for us, we’re having to build it for ourselves.”
The contract springs from a needs assessment the city’s officer of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency performed last year that identified transportation barriers in the neighborhood.
Of the money committed Monday, $312,669 is for capital investments, according to city documents. That means buying the bikes, converting a gas-powered shuttle into an electric vehicle and installing the charging station, Gonzales said. The remaining money will go to running the program for the next three years.
The Montbello Organizing Committee worked with 26 partner organizations in the neighborhood to come up with a proposal to address transportation needs. The lack of adequate accessible transportation for people who use wheelchairs was a big concern for partners, Gonzales said. Many of the organizations in the neighborhood transport people to medical appointments or to grocery stores.
Councilman Chris Hinds, who uses a wheelchair, delayed a vote on a contract last week until he could ask more questions about how accessible the shuttle and charging station would be. On Monday, he joined colleagues in unanimously approving the contract as part of a block vote.
A timeline for when the bike library, shuttle and charging station will be ready remains up in the air, Gonzales said.
“I think my wish would be to say very soon but with COVID and all of the supply chain issues it might take a while,” she said.
A handful of neighborhood residents and partners spoke during the public comment portion of Monday’s meeting including Montbello Organizing Committee board member Khadija Haynes. She said the Regional Transportation District’s local bus and train service does not meet the needs of many residents today.
Haynes thanked the city for recent investments in bike lanes and lighting in the neighborhood. “This is part of the solution, it’s part of the future, it’s a part of the extension of the investment that you made,” she said.
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