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DENVER-Playing its version of ”Who Wants To Be a Millionaire’s” “Ask the Audience Lifeline,” the Downtown Denver Partnership found out what it already knows — transportation is the No. 1 issue facing Downtown’s continued success. About 650 leaders from commercial real estate, banking, design, public relations, high-tech and telecommunications and other fields answered 12 questions on keypads about Denver’s strengths and weaknesses at the partnership’s annual meeting.

The audience included top officials from Opus Northwest, Bank One, Wells Fargo and Cushman & Wakefield, among others.

The survey showed that 44% of the respondents thought commuting is the biggest challenge in attracting and retaining new employment. The No. 2 hurdle was the cost of parking.

Transportation was also rated as the No. 1 priority for Downtown’s future, an answer chosen by 38% of those surveyed.

Only 6% see access as Downtown’s greatest strength. The biggest draw for Downtown Denver is sports, culture, restaurants, entertainment and shopping.

”It’s what we call the ”fun factor,” Anne Warhover, president of the partnership, tells GlobeSt.com.

However, the time and congestion of the commute is not fun.

”That was no surprise,” Warhover says. ”We know that is our No. 1 concern. We can address the problem.”

And, the future looks bright with efforts to build an intermodal transportation hub behind Union Station, Warhover tells GlobeSt.com.

”There are politics involved, but basically every suburban community wants a light rail line to downtown,” Warhover says. ”They’ve seen how well the (year-old) southwest line has worked and they want the same thing. Everyone wants to come Downtown. This is the hub.”

Crime scored low as a problem.

”Some of my counterparts in other cities must spend most of their time dealing with the perception of crime,” Warhover says. ”I’m thankful I don’t have to address that issue, which allows us to spend more time and energy on other issues, like transportation.”

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