As traffic fatalities in Denver continue to be a growing issue, the city announced Wednesday that it is recommitting to its 2017 Vision Zero plan that aims to eliminate traffic deaths by 2030.
Since 2017, the city, in part, has implemented more than 137 miles of new bike lanes, 88 miles of sidewalks, additional safety signage, reduced speed limits along several dangerous stretches of road and more. But the numbers serve as the biggest indicationthat the plan, so far, has not gone to plan. The rate of serious injuries and fatalities has risen considerably since the campaign was launched.
The Denverite reports that in 2022, 84 people died on city streets, and 386 crashes resulted in serious injuries.
The city's updated plan, which is anticipated to take six years to implement, includes prioritizing more infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists, greater safety improvements in areas where traffic incidents are most prevalent and reduced speed limits across more sections of the city.
While the plan sounds good on the surface, Denver Streets Partnership hopes new city leadership prioritizes funding for the plan, which will need significant money and resources to accomplish.
"We're joined with community members and advocates calling on the city leadership, particularly the new mayor and city council, to significantly increase the amount of funding for traffic safety projects and public transit," said Molly McKinley, the policy director for the organization.
The organization demonstrated along Federal Boulevard and 36th Ave. Thursday, where 32-year-old Ainsley O'Niel was struck and killed by a car while riding her bike just six months ago.
"I came here for the first time yesterday," O'Niel's mother, Cindy Stepp, told Denver7 Thursday while attending the demonstration. "I don't ever imagine I'll be the same. I keep trying to find the new normal, and I don't know what that's going to look like."
It's a kind of pain Stepp hopes other families never have to experience.
"If we can keep one person from this struggle, I'm all in," the mother said. "I just want people to be careful. Slowdown."
In a statement to Denver7 News, the city's department of transportation said in part,
"Denver remains committed to making streets safer for all with an updated action plan that prioritizes vulnerable road users, focuses investments on the high injury network, builds out our multimodal network, improves street design and explores the use of advanced technology. Since 2017, Denver has made significant investments in infrastructure and we are seeing progress in those areas. We know we still have more work to do. A single life lost on our streets is unacceptable and preventable. To implement the plan we are prioritizing funding and staffing connected to each of the actions we've laid out, and have identified additional projects through our Denver Moves Everyone plan to focus on making our city streets safer for all."