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The city of Denver just released its 2020 report for Vision Zero, a five-year action plan that was launched in 2017 with the self-described goal of “Eliminating Road Deaths and Serious Injuries by Making Our Streets Safer for All”.
Deaths are still far from zero; 57 people died in traffic accidents in Denver in 2020. While this is an improvement on the seventy road deaths in 2019, a major contributing factor was undoubtedly the reduction in vehicle volume resulting from the temporary stoppages and the increase in remote working as a result of COVID-19. Pandemic resulted. and no one hopes this will be an annual event.
Following the latest Vision Zero report, we reached out to Jill Locantore, executive director of the Denver Streets Partnership, which describes itself as a “coalition of community organizations promoting people-friendly Denver roads.” Each year the partnership issues a testimonial to assess the city’s Vision Zero performance (here is a previous example). The group’s next release is scheduled for May 19th. In a preview, Locantore offers praise for the city’s efforts to improve safety on two of the city’s busiest routes, East Colfax Avenue and Santa Fe Drive. full street diet. “
According to Locantore, the term revolves around “the idea that the road is really built over. It has more lanes than are really necessary to move the volume of vehicle traffic, and that adds to the danger of the road. The wider the road, the more dangerous it is.” Cars are going faster, so changing the space for people who walk, ride bikes and use transit supports the way people get around and makes the road safer for everyone. “
The Vision Zero program aims to “promote safe speeds through corridor-wide traffic that calms down on at least two corridors per year, and that on East Colfax uses low-cost measures: paint and plastic bollards to redesign numerous intersections”, she continues. “That increases lower speeds and makes pedestrian crossings safer.”
A similar approach was chosen for “Santa Fe in the Art District”, emphasizes Locantore. “They removed a lane that slowed the speed down and made more space for people walking down the corridor.”
Denver Streets Partnership is looking for more projects like this, and Locantore is encouraging the city to increase its goal of two corridor improvements per year, as “both projects show that you can do faster, more cost-effective projects with a major safety impact,” she says. “Ultimately, we would like these changes to be more permanent, with emphasis and modification of the curbs, but we know it will take more resources and time. To save more lives sooner, we would like to see it.” implemented more of these low-cost projects across the city. “
The Denver Department of Transportation & Infrastructure is currently taking another step in this direction. Beginning May 5 and for the next two weeks, DOTI will be making improvements on Lincoln Street from Ohio Avenue to Broadway Station to Fifth Avenue. The department says its goal is “to make bus travel more efficient during rush hour, calm traffic and make it safer for all users, especially pedestrians”. In addition, DOTI is using a first-class paint and bollard “to protect the transit-only lane at the intersection of 13th Avenue, to separate buses from vehicles and reduce conflict”.
Here is the list of improvements related to Lincoln:
• Bollards and paint to shorten walking distances and slow down vehicle rotation
• Rubber perimeter on Ellsworth Avenue and Virginia Avenue at Lincoln Street intersection to slow vehicle turns.
• Remove on-street parking in Lincoln at Cedar, 1st and 4th Avenues to increase the visibility of pedestrians at crosswalks.
• If necessary, update the zebra crossings and stop bars markings to make them more visible
The lanes on Lincoln Street are expected to be closed Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm while the changes are being made. With a bit of luck, the city’s results will earn good grades in 2021.
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Michael Roberts has been writing for Westword since October 1990 and has worked as a music editor and media columnist. It currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.