Montbello pop-up demonstrates how to slow cars and increase safe access to Silverman Park

by Jessica Vargas on August 9, 2019

With just tires, beach balls, and painted roofing paper, a pop-up traffic calming event in the Montbello neighborhood demonstrated how to provide safer access to Silverman Park, particularly for people walking and biking. The temporary addition of a traffic circle, curb extensions, and crosswalks at the intersection at Andrews Dr & Tulsa Ct reduced overall speeds from an average of 26 mph to 20 mph and the percent of drivers traveling over the speed limit near the park from 58% to just 9%. The vast majority of visitors to the park who responded to a survey said the street redesign made them feel safer, and they would be more likely to walk to the park if the designs were installed permanently.

Left: The intersection as it currently exists. Right: The set-up during the pop-up demonstration.

Montbello Walks, Montbello 20/20, Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore, and WalkDenver cohosted the pop-up demonstration as part of the Vision Zero Community Program. Residents and community organizers chose this particular intersection because it is the main entrance to the park and can be difficult to cross on foot, bike, or even in a car. Andrews Drive is an east-west street with two wide lanes in each direction that are separated by a drainage canal, further widening the distance people walking and biking need to cross. There is no marked crosswalk or stopping point for cars for a half-mile in either direction, so drivers frequently speed through the intersection above the 25 mph speed limit. 

Speed management is a critical component of Vision Zero because it is one of the most influential factors in crash severity and frequency. Research quoted in the City’s own Vision Zero Action Plan found that if a person walking is hit by a car traveling at 30mph, there is a 40% likelihood that person will be killed or seriously injured. In a neighborhood like Montbello with a high population of children and seniors, that percentage is likely higher. Unlike schools, community destinations like public parks, libraries, and recreation centers do not have lower speed limits, even though they are places that children and seniors frequently walk to at all times of the day. The treatments demonstrated during our pop-up could be quickly and easily installed as a way to respond to neighborhood concerns about speeding and pedestrian safety near the park. 

You can download the full report [PDF] at the WalkDenver website and be sure to check out the video of the event at our Vimeo page!

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