Feb 7, 2023 - News

Denver's plan to — finally — change speed limit signs

This GIF shows a speed limit sign slowly ticking up until a skull and crossbones appear

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Denver will begin replacing street signs this year as it implements a law lowering speed limits on residential streets to 20 mph.

Driving the news: The new signs come more than a year after the Denver City Council voted in December 2021 to change residential speed limits in the city from 25 mph to 20 mph.

Why it matters: Advocates who supported the measure said the speed reduction significantly increases a pedestrian's survival chances if hit by a car.

What's happening: The city spent all of 2022 taking inventory of signage throughout the city, transportation department spokesperson Vanessa Lacayo tells Axios Denver.

  • Lacayo said the city's transportation department — which is overseeing the sign changes — will bring a contract in the coming months to Denver City Council that would pay for sign fabrication, removal and replacement.
  • Transportation department spokesperson Nancy Kuhn tells Axios Denver the contract for the work is not yet finalized, but it will be "upwards of $2 million."
  • There are about 3,500 signs that will need to be replaced — a process Lacayo said could take between three to five years to complete.

Between the lines: In addition to replacement, the city also plans to reduce the number of signs to about 2,000.

  • Gateway signs will be installed instead, which will inform drivers entering Denver from highways of the city's speed limit.

What they're saying: "While we know most fatal and serious injury crashes are happening on our arterial and collector streets as opposed to the local streets, we think this will have a positive impact," Lacayo tells Axios Denver.

Zoom in: The speed reduction aligns with the city's Vision Zero program, which seeks to eliminate traffic deaths on city roads.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct Nancy Kuhn's name.

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