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Denver Commits to Vision Zero

City to Create Comprehensive Action Plan for Zero Traffic Deaths

DENVER ­— Mayor Michael B. Hancock today announced the city’s commitment to eliminate all traffic-related deaths and serious injuries on Denver’s roadways. Denver’s Vision Zero commitment seeks to reduce fatal crashes consistently year-over-year through numerous projects, policies and strategies, including increased coordination of city department work and community engagement.

In the coming months, Denver will develop a comprehensive Vision Zero action plan. The city will directly engage with community organizations, including the Denver Vision Zero Coalition, to create the plan.

The city announced a number of actions for 2016, including development of a comprehensive strategic plan. The Vision Zero commitment is supported by an investment of $750,000 in Mayor Hancock’s 2016 budget for planning, enforcement and education.

“Transportation-related deaths are preventable,” Mayor Hancock said. “Today, in declaring Denver as a Vision Zero city, we commit to taking a bold approach to creating safer, better streets for people moving throughout our city. We will focus on protecting our transportation system’s most vulnerable users and call upon our partners and the public for their support in eliminating traffic deaths and creating the safest roadway system possible.”

The city began laying the groundwork for its Vision Zero commitment last year by conducting a bicycle crash analysis that led to a multi-faceted, multi-agency Bicycle Safety Action Plan, both of which were released as part of today’s announcement. This year, the city will undertake a pedestrian crash analysis to further enhance its safety plans and guide future transportation system improvements.

The city today also launched a new user-friendly data dashboard that provides information on crashes in Denver over the past three years. Dashboard users can explore crash trends by time, location, mode of transport, road condition, and other factors that contributed to specific crashes. The open data not only will help the city and partners focus on eliminating traffic-related deaths, but also provide the community with information to make smart decisions while traversing the city.

“Everyone deserves to be safe on Denver’s roadways. While Vision Zero may be considered an audacious goal, it is the right goal,” said Crissy Fanganello, Director of Transportation for Denver Public Works. “Our streets are our most public places, and while they serve an important role of moving people and goods, they are also part of our community, our neighborhoods, and thus our home. We all want a safe home, and I look forward to achieving Zero together.”

Denver will work in coordination with the Denver Vision Zero Coalition, a group formed late last year by organizations including WalkDenver, BikeDenver, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation and the Mayor’s pedestrian and bicycle advisory committees.

“Today’s public commitment to Vision Zero is an important milestone,” said Joel Noble, a member of the Vision Zero Coalition. “We look forward to working closely with the city across all departments and agencies to make this ambitious and ultimately moral goal a reality.”

Two Denver departments closely touched by the harsh realities of traffic-related injuries and fatalities also joined the call for Vision Zero today, with the Denver Police Department emphasizing its focus on enforcement and education.

 

“One traffic fatality or injury crash is one too many, and yet, sadly, 57 people lost their lives in traffic crashes last year,” said Denver Police Chief Robert White. “The Denver Police Department is committed to reducing these numbers alongside our city and community partners.”

At Denver Health, the Vision Zero initiative comes with the hope that more families and individuals will avoid a trip to the emergency room as a result of the city’s efforts.

“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.”

Specific actions planned for 2016 will focus on street design, enforcement, education and community partnerships, including:

Denver Police Department

  • Provide distracted driving education, as well as enforcement programs
  • Provide pedestrian safety education efforts including proper use of crosswalks  
  • Conduct focused DUI enforcement with saturation patrols and check points  
  • Provide committed speed enforcement in school zones
  • Use social media for targeted motorist and pedestrian safety messages
  • Use traffic grants to enhance policing efforts

Denver Public Works

  • Lead the development of the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan
  • Continue to expand the city’s bicycle network, adding 15 miles of new bike lanes and 2-3 protected bike facilities downtown, providing safer, more comfortable places for people to ride
  • Launch the Denver Moves: Pedestrian and Trails planning effort to prioritize implementation of short- and long-term improvements, develop funding strategies, and deliver a safe, cohesive, and connected system for people on foot 
  • Study crashes involving pedestrians and bicycles to guide future transportation system improvements
  • Install enhanced crosswalks at eight more Denver intersections, for a total of 11 intersections citywide
  • Launch the Denver Moves: Transit planning effort to identify priority transit corridors and near- and long-term strategies for improving transit in Denver
  • Complete the 35th/36th Street pedestrian bridge and new sidewalks to improve connectivity and provide people safer access to new RTD transit stations
  • Reduce the percentage of traffic signals that are beyond their useful life
  • Reconstruct Brighton Boulevard from 29th to 44th to make it safer for all users, adding new concrete pavement, sidewalks, a bike facility, street lighting and upgraded traffic signals
  • Continue studying the Broadway/Lincoln Corridor to make it a safer place for all travelers
  • Study a 9-mile stretch of Federal Boulevard, looking at safety, aesthetics, and how the roadway operates from the perspectives of people who take transit, walk, bike and drive
  • Continue producing a mobility newsletter to inform the public about transportation and mobility improvements

Denver Environmental Health

  • Provide bicycle and pedestrian education to children, parents and school staff through Denver Safe Routes to School
  • Grow the Community Active Living Coalition to perform community assessments of bicycle, pedestrian and transit safety around schools and recreation centers
  • Assess neighborhood-level multimodal conditions in Health Impact Assessments to inform neighborhood plans
  • Create data-driven assessments of high-need areas for public infrastructure improvements to improve health
  • Continue to support residents conducting walking audits to gather data about sidewalk and intersection conditions using the WALKscope application
  • Continue to support residents organizing community walking trips to share positive pedestrian experiences and foster conversations around areas for improvement

Denver Health Medical Center

  • Raise awareness of the effects of impaired driving through the Lead and Seed program in Montbello
  • Provide detoxification services and transitional treatment for substance-dependent men and women
  • Offer car seat checks at community clinic locations
  • Provide bicycle helmets to children who otherwise do not have access to them

For additional information and how to get involved, go to Denver’s Vision Zero web page.