Denver Reports Out on Safety Improvements to City Streets in 2020

Published on April 30, 2021

Denver Vision Zero logo

DENVER – The City and County of Denver accelerated its implementation of safety projects in 2020 under the direction of a new Department of Transportation and Infrastructure created by Denver voters in November 2019.  DOTI completed 373 safety improvements in 2020, many of which are featured in our 2020 Vision Zero Story Map, and that include:

  • Adding 40 miles of bike lanes, which is a record high for Denver for a single year.
  • Overseeing installation of 9.4 miles of new sidewalk (three miles installed by private development).
  • Implementing traffic calming measures along seven corridors.
  • Redesigning 32 intersections to improve safety (adding paint and posts to narrow roadways and slow vehicle speeds, and opening sight lines at intersections with the addition of bike corrals).
  • Improving pedestrian crossings at seven locations with additional signage and rapid flashing beacons.
  • Improving traffic signal operations at 160 locations.
  • Installing driver feedback signs at nine locations that let people know what speed they’re going.

DOTI’s safety projects in 2020 included:

  • Upgrading 15 intersections along East Colfax Avenue to slow turning movements, shorten pedestrian crossing distances and create space in the middle of the street where pedestrians can wait, if needed, to safely finish crossing. DOTI also added leading pedestrian intervals at 28 intersections on East Colfax that give people on foot a head start crossing the street before the light turns green.
  • Installing bike corrals to open up and improve visibility at corners and provide greater amenities for people traveling by bike. DOTI's bike parking team hit a record in 2020, creating 290 new bike park spaces last year with the installation of bike corrals as well as inverted u-racks.
  • Closing several stretches of roadway to thru-traffic to provide residents with places to walk and bike amid COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
  • Teaming up with Denver Parks and Recreation to open a first of its kind bike course in the city at Montbello Recreation Center, where residents of all ages can develop their riding skills before they hit the city streets.

More details on Denver’s efforts to eliminate fatal and serious injury crashes on its streets are included in DOTI’s Comprehensive 2020 Vision Zero Report.

2020 Crash Statistics in the Context of COVID-19

We don’t know yet how the pandemic will impact long-term travel trends; however, we do consider the health crisis in looking at Denver’s 2020 crash statistics.

  • 57 people lost their lives in traffic crashes in Denver in 2020 – a decrease from the previous year’s record high of 71 people, but 57 people too many.
  • Overall, there were fewer fatal and serious injury crashes in the City and County of Denver in 2020 compared to 2019, likely due to fewer vehicles on city roadways. 
  • There were no fatalities recorded in Denver in the month of April, during the height of the metro area's Stay at Home orders.

In a year with so much loss, Denver is more committed than ever to eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries by making our roadways safer for everyone.

Vision Zero Action Plan Progress

Denver’s Vision Zero Action Plan, launched in 2017, calls out 67 action items to be completed over 5 years. At the end of 2020, 60 percent had been completed and another 22 percent were in progress.

Vision Zero as it Relates to Equity

Equity is a guiding principle of Denver’s Vision Zero Program. Research shows that traffic crashes disproportionately affect low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. We also know the majority of fatal and serious injury crashes in Denver are happening on just 5% of the city’s roadways – known as the High Injury Network (HIN).

Of the 373 Vision Zero safety improvements that DOTI made in 2020, more than 50% occurred along the city’s High Injury Network and more than 40% of projects occurred in identified equity areas – areas of greatest need.

More About Denver Vision Zero

Denver began laying the groundwork for its Vision Zero program in 2015, and in 2017, Mayor Michael B. Hancock presented his Vision Zero Action Plan with a goal to eliminate all traffic-related deaths and serious injuries on the city’s roadways by 2030. More information on Denver’s Vision Zero program can be found at www.denvergov.org/visionzero.