16th Street Mall in Denver LoDo

In light of a string of fatal bicycle and car accidents on Denver streets, Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration will reduce speed limits on a handful of city thoroughfares beginning later this month. 

Specifically, the city will focus on curbing speed limits in five city corridors. 

Firstly, the city will reduce the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph on Evans Avenue between Huron Street and Federal Boulevard.

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“More and more people are choosing to use different modes to move around our community. We all need to be more aware and less distracted when we’re on our streets,” Hancock said in a statement.

“We’re going to keep pushing for more steps to reduce speeds and reduce conflicts between modes, so fewer and fewer people, until we reach zero, are losing their lives on our streets.”

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Why curtail speed limits on city streets? City officials point to research that shows higher speeds increase the risk of a crash, as well as the risk of serious injury or death from a crash, regardless of mode. In Denver, data reveals that people in cars are also more likely to drive faster than the speed limit on streets with higher posted speeds, according to the city.

“Denver’s crash data indicates a significant problem with speeding and one way we can address that is by reducing speed limits,” said Eulois Cleckley, executive director of Denver Public Works, in a statement.

“Our speed reduction efforts will serve to protect all those who travel in Denver, but will benefit to an even greater extent those who are most vulnerable — people walking and biking.”

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There have been 45 traffic deaths on Denver streets in 2019, according to the city's website.

And in the wake of a pair of fatal accidents involving bicycles last month, concern has been growing about bike safety on city streets.

The four other corridors will have their speed limits reduced over the fall months. According to 9News, those corridors include Cherry Creek Drive South from University to Colorado boulevards; 1st Avenue/Steele Street/Cherry Creek Drive North/Alameda Avenue from University to Colorado boulevards; Peoria Street from 47th to 39th avenues; and 56th Avenue from Quebec Street to Tower Road. 

The city’s strategy for making streets safer for cars and bikes also extends to other areas including the following:

  • Installing in-street pedestrian crossing signage at 10 locations by the end of August.

  • Installing on-street bike corrals at 12 locations by the end of August.

  • Enhancing existing protected bike lanes on 15th Street down to Larimer Street by the end of September.

  • Adding five driver-feedback signs alerting motorists of their speeds by the end of September.

  • Exploring other low-cost options like shortening crossing distances and parking setbacks.

  • Promoting safe driving habits among Denver’s youth and improving safe routes to school.

  • Increasing enforcement of traffic laws by hiring new officers.

Denver says the effort is part of its Vision Zero goal of eliminating death and serious injuries on city streets.

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