COVER STORY TRANSPORTATION  Interstate-25 traffic and exhaust fumes Denver Colorado

 Multiple lanes of traffic crawl slowly on southbound Interstate 25 as exhaust fumes rise into the air on cold winter day.

Mayor Michael Hancock supports a city council request to examine lower speed limits on residential streets as part of the 2020 budget crafting.

“The Department of Public Works will identify $200,000 from 2019 budget savings to determine if and how to expand speed reduction efforts currently underway in addition to their current work to ensure safe mobility and transportation options for all modes,” Hancock wrote in a letter to council members.

This is slightly different from the council’s request for one-time funding of $350,000, which would have hired a traffic engineer and consultant to look at speed limits.

Denver has experienced 63 traffic fatalities this year, already exceeding 2018’s total. As Westword reports, there is an effort to reduce the speed on unmarked residential streets to 20 miles per hour. Lower vehicle speeds increase chances of pedestrian survival in a collision, according to Bicycle Colorado’s Piep van Heuven.

"Even five miles per hour can make a big difference if there's a crash between a car and a person," van Heuven said. "It can make the difference between a person being seriously injured or it being a lot worse."

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that in 2017, 19 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred in areas with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or below. Eighty percent of pedestrians perished in environments with much higher speeds.

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