Blocked Sidewalks at Denver Construction Sites Could Improve

The policy tweak is a step in the right direction, but deeper changes are needed — and coming.

A pedestrian comes to a closed sidewalk at a construction site on 19th St. near Wewatta on Mar. 27, 2019. Photo: Andy Bosselman
A pedestrian comes to a closed sidewalk at a construction site on 19th St. near Wewatta on Mar. 27, 2019. Photo: Andy Bosselman

Navigating around construction sites may soon get easier for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders.

Today the Department of Public Works updated the requirements construction companies must follow when their worksites block sidewalks, alleys and roads. The changes clarify existing policies about when pedestrian canopies, barricades, signs and “provisions for pedestrians” will be required, which DPW officials expect will improve safety for all road users, especially pedestrians.

“… all modes [of transportation] will be provided safe and convenient access around a project site, including pedestrians, people on bikes and scooters, transit riders, and drivers,” wrote Heather Burke, a spokesperson for DPW, in a statement.

But the changes are a just a tweak to existing policies. Safety advocates say the city needs to make bigger changes — which are coming.

A group of pedestrians waits to cross the street near a sidewalk closed at a construction site near Union Station on Mar. 27, 2019. Photo: Andy Bosselman
A group of pedestrians waits to cross the street near a sidewalk closed at a construction site near Union Station on Mar. 27, 2019. Photo: Andy Bosselman

“This is a great step in the right direction,” said Jill Locantore, executive director of WalkDenver, in an e-mail. “[It] appears to be an effort by the City to do a better job of deploying current construction detour policies.”

But the underlying rules also need to be improved, she said, citing how current policies do not give clear direction to contractors about what exactly it means to “provide safe and convenient access.”

Locantore says the city is in the process of working on such a policy update.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

CDOT Purina Wed 6:30 am

Friday’s Headlines

|
I-70 traffic viewed from the Purina plant on Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. Image: CDOT From Streetsblog Why is Denver still expanding I-70? The move to tear down I-980 in Oakland shows that forward-thinking officials elsewhere get it: The problems associated with mega-motorways in urban neighborhoods outweigh the benefits. (Streetsblog Denver) Other news City workers clean […]