Walk this Way: How to Make Your Denver Neighborhood Safer for Pedestrians

Have you ever tried to cross the street to get to your favorite neighborhood coffee shop, only to end up running for your life to avoid death by SUV? 

That's what was happening to pedestrians in the Park Hill neighborhood near Holly and Montview Boulevard before the new crosswalk was installed. It even has a "refuge island" in the middle, handy for those occasions when motorists choose to ignore the crosswalk or don't understand the law. 

According to Adam Jadun, Staff Engineer for Districts 8 and 10, "Drivers are supposed to stop when they see pedestrians within the crosswalk. But, as we all know, there are many distracted drivers out there, so I would not advise stepping into the street without confirming that it is safe to cross. My advice is always to make eye contact with the driver, confirming that they are slowing to a stop prior to entering the crosswalk.  If residents have concerns with drivers failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, they can contact the Neighborhood Enforcement Team at 720-337-1030 to request additional enforcement."

So how did the new Montview crosswalk come to be? A concerned resident contacted 311, the City's help center.  "Using the 311 or PocketGov service documents the case in our database, so that we can better track the issue and organize our work," Jadun explains. "When a resident contacts 311, the case is then routed to the correct department, and if it is transportation related, the case is assigned to the Area Engineer. The Area Engineer will then review the information given and address an issue if it is warranted. Area Engineers are able to make changes to pavement markings, signal timing, and signs. If the resident would like to be contacted back, they can let the 311 operator know, and they will be contacted with the results of the traffic study."      

Jadun adds, "The median islands at Holly and Montview are an example of a 311 case coming in and our division recognizing that there was a need for a larger project to address a safety issue. Residents can reach out to their council offices or neighborhood association and request a public meeting to discuss traffic issues in the area if they would like. We will occasionally attend these meetings throughout the year to discuss issues within the community."   

If you'd like to delve into the actual process of how city planners and engineers determine which treatment is best for pedestrian safety and efficient function for all users, take a look at the City and County of Denver's Uncontrolled Pedestrian Crossing GuidelinesThis manual is used when a specific location is being considered for a marked crosswalk, whether it's due to suggestions from the public, new development or observations by staff. 

The procedure for requesting a traffic light or sign is similar, although the public cannot request that a traffic signal be installed at a specific location; they may only request a traffic study that may lead to a new signal or signage. The Transportation and Mobility Department has a helpful FAQ page, which not only has information on requesting research for traffic signs and signals, but also how you can ask for other signs, such as a "Children Playing" or memorial sign.  

More resources: 

  • Streetsblog Denver publishes news and commentary about safe biking, effective transit, and walkable development in the Mile High City. Check out their Facebook page for up-to-the-minute news about street safety.    
  • The Neighborhood Transportation Management Program (NTMP) is a new program from the City's Public Works Department, and it gives residents a voice in developing local transportation and mobility priorities and projects. Here's a summary of the current project.    
  • Working toward its vision of making Denver the most walkable city in the country, WalkDenver has the latest on the status of sidewalks around town as well as a number of projects to support the city's Vision Zero Action Plan. Or, walk the walk by signing up for Project Shift, a 7-month program that allows participants to become champions for active transportation options.    

Questions? Ask Reference Services or call 720-865-1363 today!

Written by Lisa on October 22, 2018

Comments

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Great information! I'm glad Denver is concentrating on making our streets more friendly to non-drivers.

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There's definitely lots going on - it's hard to tell whether the electric scooters are making things worse or better!