Denver’s leading advocacy organization for walking, biking and transit use has given the city a grade of C+ for its efforts to implement the Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic fatalities, based on infrastructure improvements made in 2019.
"It's important to recognize the good things Denver accomplished while also maintaining that traffic violence is entirely preventable," said Jill Locantore, executive director of the Denver Streets Partnership. "It's disappointing when basic infrastructure like sidewalks and safe pedestrian crossings on our most dangerous streets get routinely put on the back burner."
The report card noted several areas of excellence in Denver’s transportation network last year, including the introduction of traffic calming on four corridors, improvements to signals at 62 interactions, and converting 30,500 street lights to LEDs. However, the city fell short of its goal of building 14 miles of sidewalks, with the Denver Streets Partnership noting that only five were built.
There were 70 traffic fatalities in 2019 in Denver, an increase from 59 the prior year. The partnership advocated for a reduction in speed limits to 20 miles per hour on residential streets and a prohibition on right turns during red lights on the 5% of streets that account for 50% of the traffic deaths — known as the “high injury network.” The main thoroughfares of Colfax Avenue, Federal Boulevard and Broadway are among the 123 miles of streets so designated.
Other proposed policy changes include increased fines for blocking or parking in bike lanes and eliminating “beg buttons” in favor of automatic pedestrian signals on the high injury network.