Jan 10, 2023 - News

Denver's streets are deadlier than ever

Data: City of Denver; Chart: Alayna Alvarez/Axios
Data: City of Denver; Chart: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

Denver is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to achieving Vision Zero, its goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2030.

Why it matters: City leaders have taken steps in recent years to make streets danger-free, but traffic safety advocates say the policies haven't gone far enough to have a meaningful impact.

By the numbers: There have been more traffic fatalities in each of the past two years than since at least 2013. Last year, 82 people were killed on roadways. In 2021, the total was 84.

  • As of Jan. 9, at least two people had died in traffic accidents.

The latest: Four pedestrians were struck in a hit-and-run incident on a sidewalk in Lower Downtown Denver on Saturday. Two were seriously injured, and the suspect remains at-large. Police say the alleged crime was intentional.

  • In early December, 34-year-old cyclist Logan Rocklin was killed in a hit-and-run crash at W. 38th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard. A "ghost bike" memorial at the site meant to honor him was struck by a motorist weeks later.
  • Meanwhile, the suspect in the case of Rocklin's death has yet to be found.

What they're saying: "The trends are most certainly going in the wrong direction, and it is not just because of population growth," Jill Locantore, executive director of the Denver Streets Partnership, told Axios.

  • One of the primarily missing policy pieces, she said, is a "major investment in both transit infrastructure and service levels, specifically the bus."
  • Locantore and other advocates are calling for local decision-makers to "significantly" increase the frequency and quality of transit service on the city's deadliest streets and to redesign roads to "prioritize the bus."

Flashback: Denver City Council in 2021 approved a measure lowering the speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph on thousands of residential streets in the name of public safety.

  • Advocates of the speed cap, including the Denver Streets Partnership, say dropping the limit 5 mph significantly increases a pedestrian's survival chances.

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