A Vision Zero Checklist for Mayor Hancock

Last year, 57 people were killed in traffic on Denver’s streets, and hundreds more suffered life-altering injuries. What is Mayor Michael Hancock’s plan to reduce the death toll?

Mayor Michael Hancock.

Four months ago, Hancock declared his intention to bring traffic deaths in Denver down to zero, but his Vision Zero plan is still in development and specifics remain in short supply. One thing that’s certain, however, is that Hancock will have to devote resources from the city budget to engineer streets for calmer traffic and safer walking and biking.

Denver’s Vision Zero Coalition, a group of safe streets advocates, has laid out a list of 2017 budget priorities for Hancock and the City Council.

More from WalkDenver, which manages the coalition:

Government budgets are often referred to as moral documents, a reflection of where our priorities and values lie as a community. For many years, government spending on transportation has valued moving vehicles at high speeds over community livability, with deadly consequences — upwards of 38,000 Americans died in traffic crashes in 2015.

Here’s what the coalition wants the 2017 budget to fund:

  • A staff position to prioritize Vision Zero street safety projects, measure progress, and maintain transparency.
  • Increased use of photo red light and photo speed enforcement.
  • Initiatives to train drivers working for commercial fleets.
  • Implementation of neighborhood traffic calming projects, which should be identified through an analysis of neighborhood streets this year.
  • New and upgraded pedestrian crossings on Colfax, where five people were killed while walking last year; north-south bike infrastructure and traffic calming on Perry Street, Lowell Boulevard, Knox Court, and Irving Street.
  • Pedestrian-first street designs around schools, with high-quality sidewalks, narrower car lanes, street lighting, and street trees. The streets and schools most in need of these improvements are: Virginia Avenue at Munroe Elementary; 35th Avenue at Smith Elementary; 47th Avenue, Columbine Street, and Clayton Street at Swansea Elementary; Alameda Avenue and Tejon Street at Valverde Elementary.

In Denver’s strong-mayor form of government, Hancock sets the budget while City Council members tweak it. The budgeting process is long and lasts until next April. Until then, you can support the Vision Zero Coalition’s budget requests by contacting the mayor’s office or by emailing your council member.