Denver Working Toward Zero Traffic-Related Deaths
In Denver, 57 people died in traffic crashes last year
Denver is crafting a plan to eliminate all traffic-related deaths and serious injuries on city roads following the deadliest year of statewide traffic fatalities since 2008.
Through projects and policies — including a focus on street design, enforcement, education and community partnerships — Denver’s Vision Zero aims to consistently reduce year-over-year fatal crashes, according to a city news release.
In Denver, 57 people died in traffic crashes last year, according to Denver Police Chief Robert White.
“This initiative will be a great next step toward addressing one of the major threats to the safety of our community,” said Christopher Colwell, director of emergency medicine at Denver Health Medical Center. “Motor vehicle accidents account for the majority of the traumatic injuries I see in Denver’s only Level I trauma center. A major initiative like this to address this problem can impact thousands of lives.”
Mayor Michael Hancock’s 2016 budget allocates $750,000 to bolstering the plan. Several agencies have plans on how to make roads safer in 2016.
The Denver Police Department plans to provide distracted driving education and enforcement programs along with pedestrian safety education. Officers are also committing to focused DUI enforcement with saturation patrols and checkpoints. Police plan to monitor speeding more strictly in school zones and use traffic grants to enhance policing efforts.
Denver Public Works staff are focusing their attention on road work. Crews are going to continue to expand the city’s bicycle network by adding 15 miles of new bike lanes and two to three protected bike facilities downtown.New and improved crosswalks will be installed at 11 intersections citywide.
Officials will also focus on the completion and reconstruction of several Denver bridges, sidewalks and roadways including the pedestrian bridge at 35th and 36th streets and reconstruction of Brighton Boulevard from 29th to 44th Street.
Public Works plans to study the Broadway and Lincoln corridors to make it safer, along with a 9-mile stretch of Federal Boulevard. They are going to take a look at pedestrian and bicycle crashes, too, as a guide for future building improvements.
Denver Environmental Health will be involved in community outreach and education, giving bike and pedestrian education through schools, assessing neighborhood plans and supporting community efforts to improve the pedestrian experience.
Denver Health Medical Center will provide detoxification services and transitional treatment for substance-dependent people, provide bike helmets to kids without access to them, offer car seat checks and raise awareness of the effects of impaired driving.
The city’s program supports the 2015 state initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities, “Moving Towards Zero Deaths,” which officials said was achievable in Colorado.
Last year, 545 people died in Colorado traffic accidents, an 11.7 percent increase from the 488 traffic deaths recorded in 2014, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. It was the first year since 2008 that Colorado had recorded more than 500 traffic deaths.