A huge thank you to all the Denver residents, students, elected officials, community leaders, and advocates who came together on a beautiful, sunny Valentine’s Day to show their love for safe streets! The Denver Vision Zero Coalition once again organized a festive multi-modal Love-In event, with bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders meeting in front of Union Station at 11:00 am and traveling together (along a different route for each mode) to the steps of the City and County building. This year’s event was the official launch of the Safe Speeds for Denver campaign that calls upon the City and County of Denver to take actions to address the inherent dangers of unsafe speeds.
WalkDenver Associate Director Jill Locantore kicked off the rally with some important words about why everyone was gathered together: “No one should have to die, just trying to get around our city. Even one death on our streets is unacceptable, when we have the knowledge and the tools to prevent traffic crashes from resulting in tragedy.”
The enthusiastic audience, which included Mayor Michael Hancock, were treated to a poem entitled “Sincerely Safe Streets,” composed and read by Sedona Allen of Denver Public Health’s Youth Team. Following this “ode to Vision Zero,” Sedona presented the mayor with the Safe Speeds petition signed by more than 900 people in support of safer street design changes in the city. Second-grade students from Downtown Denver Expeditionary School delivered Valentine’s cards from residents all over the city to the mayor.
Denver residents were also in attendance to support Dee Bridgeman, who survived serious injuries in a hit-and-run crash while crossing Colfax on her walk to school at East High four years ago. She too had a message for the mayor about the need to make changes for safer speeds on Denver streets: “Mayor Hancock, I would dearly want you to make our busy city streets safer. I don’t want what happened to me ever happening to anyone, ever.”
Mayor Hancock then had the opportunity to address the crowd, followed by Denver City Council Members Paul Kashmann (District 6), Kevin Flynn (District 2), Stacie Gilmore (District 11), and Jolon Clark (District 7), all of whom expressed their commitment to safe streets and their hope that the city will see significant changes this year towards making Denver a safer and more multi-modal place to travel.
Decades of research have found that drivers that speed is a top contributing factor in car crashes. Additionally, drivers traveling at higher speeds are less likely to see someone walking or biking, are less likely to yield, have less time to stop, and if a crash occurs, it is much more likely to be fatal.
The Safe Speeds for Denver online petition asks the Mayor to:
Commit to implementing an annual program that funds safe speed projects throughout the City, starting with the 2018 budget;
Test the effectiveness of various street design treatments for safe vehicle speeds through demonstration projects on residential, main street and mixed use streets (two or more of each), implemented in 2017; and
Adopt formal guidelines in 2018 to guide safe speeds on streets throughout the City, based on the outcomes of the demonstration projects.
The text from this article was cross-posted from our partner, WalkDenver. View the original post here.