We want to highlight a strong mother in the city of Denver. Linda Gallegos, a mother of seven and a resident near the East Corridor commuter rail line, has been involved in FRESC’s equitable transportation campaign from the start. She’s held meetings, and highlighted how important this campaign is to her family.
“Things are hard right now. The rent is higher than I’ve ever seen, my job pay barely gets us by, and my kids have to take a 3hr bus ride to get to a good school,” she says. “I never thought I could do anything about this. I am pleased that FRESC is reaching out to people in my neighborhood. I’ve been able to learn a lot about what it means to be in a developing neighborhood and how I can really help get the people I live around to speak up for the things we need. That tax money should help us, not just the city.”
Many of us in the Denver Region are being transformed by FasTracks, and are watching our communities change dramatically. Not only is new development changing the physical appearance of neighborhoods located near transit, it is also changing the face of who lives there. Blocks within the station areas are becoming trendier with bike paths, nice wide sidewalks, and retail that targets affluent commuters. Many people think that the new development is great, but in most cases the housing costs in these redeveloped areas are driven up to the point that long-time community members are no longer able to afford to live in the areas they’ve called home. While transit can provide opportunity such as increased access to jobs, health care, and recreational opportunities to low-income residents and communities of color, the redevelopment process is driven by rich developers and real estate professionals who are looking only at their bottom-lines. Development is much richer and provides more robust benefits when it considers more than developers’ purse strings and includes the needs of the existing community.
Seeing this investment through with community engagement will benefit the region as a whole. We thank Linda for her time and commitment to the city she loves. She brings her children to meetings, she’s opened her home, knocked on doors in her community, and met with pubic officials to advocate for her community. This is the spirit of community that will make this transit investment beneficial to all. Thank you Linda!