Eyes on the Street: City Installs in-Street Pedestrian Crossing Signs Near Wash Park

A pedestrian crosses E. Mississippi Ave. at S. Columbine St. shortly after an in-street pedestrian sign was installed Aug. 23. Photo: Andy Bosselman
A pedestrian crosses E. Mississippi Ave. at S. Columbine St. shortly after an in-street pedestrian sign was installed Aug. 23. Photo: Andy Bosselman

The Department of Public Works installed in-street pedestrian signs at the crosswalks of two intersections on East Mississippi Avenue in the Washington Park neighborhood this morning.

The signs went up three weeks after Mayor Michael Hancock promised to boost street safety at 24 locations around the city within three months. His move followed the deaths of two bicyclists last month, which added to a quickly rising rate of traffic fatalities that could reach the highest level in over a decade.

“We have 55 people who have died on our streets this year,” said Nancy Kuhn, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Works while standing near workers who were installing the signs this morning. “A lot of them have been people on foot, a lot of them have been on motorcycles.”

The in-street signs encourage drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Kuhn says they are ideal for East Mississippi Street, where many pedestrians cross two lanes of traffic.

Screen Shot 2019-08-23 at 1.42.25 PM

“This particular sign, this treatment, is for this type of intersection,” said Kuhn. “It has one lane of traffic in each direction. It tends to have a parking lane. And it’s a place where we have high pedestrian activity.”

Streetsblog noted that installing four signs in two intersections took roughly half an hour. Kuhn says the cost to the city totaled around $1,250. Given how fast and inexpensive these treatments are, a reporter asked: Why haven’t things like this been installed in more places around the city, especially along its high-injury corridors?

“It may look fast to you, but there is a process,” Kuhn said. “We don’t just throw stuff in the streets without making sure it’s going to be done well, and safely. There’s often some type of planning process, definitely a design process.”

Workers install an in-street pedestrian sign in a crosswalk on E. Mississippi Ave and S. Josephene St. Photo: Andy Bosselman
Workers install an in-street pedestrian sign in a crosswalk on E. Mississippi Ave and S. Josephene St. Photo: Andy Bosselman

Public Works officials are picking up the pace now, and it won’t slow down in the coming years, they say.

“”We’ve got a lot we’re working on and we’re getting things out more quickly than we ever have,” says Kuhn. “It’s going to continue, our pace is going to increase.”

The Department of Public Works plans to install permanent and temporary traffic calming measures across the city in coming years. Though few specific plans are in place, one of the Denver’s most dangerous streets, East Colfax, will see big changes soon. The city will install safety treatments like paint and plastic posts at 12 intersections, which will be designed to slow traffic and ease the stress of crossing for pedestrians.

“I think we’re making amazing progress, especially with our plans along East Colfax,” said Kuhn.

On February 17, 2016, Mayor Hancock made a Vision Zero pledge to end all traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030.

The crosswalk at E. Mississippi Ave and Columbine St. this morning before crews installed in-street pedestrian crossing signage. Photo: Andy Bosseman
The crosswalk at E. Mississippi Ave and Columbine St. this morning before crews installed in-street pedestrian crossing signage. Photo: Andy Bosseman
A worker prepares to install in-street pedestrian signage. Photo: Andy Bosselman
A worker prepares to install in-street pedestrian signage. Photo: Andy Bosselman
A worker drills holes in the pavement before installing in-street pedestrian signage. Photo: Andy Bosselman
A worker drills holes in the pavement before installing in-street pedestrian signage. Photo: Andy Bosselman
Workers prepare to install a second in-street pedestrian sign on E. Mississippi Ave. and S. Josephine Street Aug. 23, 2019.
Workers prepare to install a second in-street pedestrian sign on E. Mississippi Ave. and S. Josephine Street Aug. 23, 2019.

 


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