Growing pains in Denver? It’s all relative
Colorado has one of the highest growth rates of new residents of any state. This was reported recently in The Denver Post.
My first reaction to reading this was, nobody has to tell us.
We feel it every time we’re caught in growing gridlock, or perturbed downtown by the price of parking. We sense it in long lines and crushing crowds and the colossal cranes that are upraising the skyline of the Mile High City.
But then I remembered what I told Denver’s City Club 30 years ago when, as a new network correspondent based here, I was asked to speak to the question, “How can Denver rise above its image as a cow town?”
The gist of my answer was: Be careful what you wish for.
Sure, when we grow, we groan, but that just makes us like everyone else. What makes us different is, relative to almost everyone else, we’re lucky, and that was affirmed last March when U.S. News & World Report rated Denver not just as “one of the best” 100 cities in America, but as “the best.” Period.
Which I confirmed last month when I made three trips to San Francisco and one to New York City. You think it’s tough to drive through downtown Denver on a Friday night? Try 20 minutes to move a mere four blocks late one weekday morning in San Francisco. You object to paying as much as $50 to park all day in Denver (and that’s at the RitzCarlton Hotel, the costliest I could find)? Try $68 in San Francisco, and that was for a mere three hours. In New York, though, that’s cheap: you can spend $90 just to park for the day.
Are you frustrated by the toll lanes on Interstate 25 and Interstate 70, with more tolls to come? Remember, you’re not compelled to pay; you can stay in the free lanes if you choose. But try driving across the Golden Gate Bridge: $7.50 for every round trip. And it’s $6 for every round trip to Oakland. And that’s less than what you can pay if you’re driving, as I did, from Manhattan to Massachusetts: you can pay two tolls just to get out of New York and one more to get back.
Then there’s crime. We’re far from crime-free in Colorado, but while the violent crime rate in New York City — about 600 incidents per 100,000 people — is equal to Denver’s, it’s almost 800 incidents in San Francisco. I was warned not to leave so much as sunglasses showing inside my locked car, or all I’d find when I got back would be broken glass.
New York makes claim to the mountains we hold dear, except theirs are mountains of garbage bags. They just can’t collect them fast enough for sidewalks to be clear for a day.
But I saved the best for last. The average one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is $3,400 and almost $3,600 in San Francisco. It’s $1,365 here.
We’ve got it good. And nobody should have to tell us.