Vision Zero is a compelling and inclusive safety campaign for cities to pledge to the goal of zero transportation deaths. I strongly believe this is a cause the everyone from daily bike drivers and pedestrians to bicycle industry and advocates. Transportation deaths affect everyone, not just cyclists and fear is preventing many people from biking on public roads.

Vision Zero is a multi-national road traffic safety project that aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic.

The Vision Zero movement brings in many different aspects of public safety and health to create the change we need. For the first time, I’m seeing planners, police, Safe Routes to School, emergency medical providers, and bike – walk and environmental non-profits all working together towards the goal of keeping people safe on the city’s streets.

Why should you care about Vision Zero?

If you are reading this, you probably are interested in biking somehow. I’m a large supporter of growing the biking pie and in order to grow the number of cyclists on our roads, we need to make it safer. Pretty straightforward, right?

Vision Zero Denver

As a citizen of Denver, I have been following the movement closely here. Denver signed the Vision Zero commitment in December 2016 with the following goals that covered multiple city departments from the police, public works to environmental health.

Denver Police Department

  • Provide distracted driving education, as well as enforcement programs
  • Provide pedestrian safety education efforts including proper use of crosswalks
  • Conduct focused DUI enforcement with saturation patrols and checkpoints
  • Provide committed speed enforcement in school zones
  • Use social media for targeted motorist and pedestrian safety messages
  • Use traffic grants to enhance policing efforts

Denver Public Works

  • Lead the development of the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan
  • Continue to expand the city’s bicycle network, adding 15 miles of new bike lanes and 2-3 protected bike facilities downtown, providing safer, more comfortable places for people to ride
  • Launch the Denver Moves: Pedestrian and Trails planning effort to prioritize implementation of short- and long-term improvements, develop funding strategies, and deliver a safe, cohesive, and connected system for people on foot
  • Study crashes involving pedestrians and bicycles to guide future transportation system improvements
  • Install enhanced crosswalks at eight more Denver intersections, for a total of 11 intersections citywide
  • Launch the Denver Moves: Transit planning effort to identify priority transit corridors and near- and long-term strategies for improving transit in Denver
  • Complete the 35th/36th Street pedestrian bridge and new sidewalks to improve connectivity and provide people safer access to new RTD transit stations
  • Reduce the percentage of traffic signals that are beyond their useful life
  • Reconstruct Brighton Boulevard from 29th to 44th to make it safer for all users, adding new concrete pavement, sidewalks, a bike facility, street lighting and upgraded traffic signals
  • Continue studying the Broadway/Lincoln Corridor to make it a safer place for all travelers
  • Study a 9-mile stretch of Federal Boulevard, looking at safety, aesthetics, and how the roadway operates from the perspectives of people who take transit, walk, bike and drive
  • Continue producing a mobility newsletter to inform the public about transportation and mobility improvements

Denver Environmental Health

  • Provide bicycle and pedestrian education to children, parents and school staff through Denver Safe Routes to School
  • Grow the Community Active Living Coalition to perform community assessments of bicycle, pedestrian and transit safety around schools and recreation centers
  • Assess neighborhood-level multimodal conditions in Health Impact Assessments to inform neighborhood plans
  • Create data-driven assessments of high-need areas for public infrastructure improvements to improve health
  • Continue to support residents conducting walking audits to gather data about sidewalk and intersection conditions using the WALKscope application
  • Continue to support residents organizing community walking trips to share positive pedestrian experiences and foster conversations around areas for improvement

Denver Health Medical Center

  • Raise awareness of the effects of impaired driving through the Lead and Seed program in Montbello
  • Provide detoxification services and transitional treatment for substance-dependent men and women
  • Offer car seat checks at community clinic locations
  • Provide bicycle helmets to children who otherwise do not have access to them

Vision Zero Denver’s Action Plan

In July of 2017, Denver released their Vision Zero Action Plan. You can read it here. As of writing this, the action plan has lead to some on-street planning changes but we need funding first, which was just passed in early November. I will update this article as plans take action so you know what is working and not working in our Mile High city of Denver, Colorado.

Get Involved

Cities across the United States are at different stages of their involvement. View the Vision Zero city map here and get involved or start advocating for a commitment from your city! Are you involved with Vision Zero in your city? Let us know how it is working!

Featured Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

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