New reports and videos demonstrate the value of community-led pop up traffic calming

by Jessica Vargas on October 3, 2019

Image: Three people cross Colfax Ave while a flagger stops traffic for them during the annual Tasty Colfax event on July 23.

This past summer, WalkDenver partnered with neighborhoods all over Denver to host pop-up traffic calming demonstrations as part of the City’s Vision Zero Community Program. The first to be completed was the Silverman Park pop-up in the Montbello neighborhood in June. This successful demonstration of a community-driven traffic safety idea was followed by two more pop-up projects in July. 

Tasty Colfax

The Tasty Colfax is an annual restaurant and pub crawl that brings large numbers of people walking, rolling, and riding to E Colfax Ave between York and Colorado Blvd. Anyone familiar with trying to navigate Colfax outside of a car knows how difficult and at times dangerous it can be. Long distances between designated crossings mean many people have to cross Colfax where there is no protection for anyone on foot or bike, or go far out of their way to reach a safer crossing point.

That’s why members of Capitol Hill United Neighbors and the Tasty Colfax organizers wanted to repurpose some street space along Colfax into space for people during this year’s event on July 23. Between Madison and Munroe Streets, we used colorful painted tires and traffic drums to transform the center turn lane into a temporary median and provide a mid-block crossing location. 

During the demonstration, average vehicle speeds dropped by 8 mph and the percentage of drivers traveling over the speed limit fell from nearly half to just over one-tenth. 88% of people surveyed during the event said they regularly travel Colfax on foot – but with an average safety rating of 3.2 out of 5, it was clear that most respondents felt pedestrian safety and comfort on Colfax could be improved. You can download the full report [PDF] to learn more about the results of our data collection and be sure to check out the video of the event!

Yale Avenue

Our next pop-up traffic calming project took place at the intersection of Yale Avenue and S Clermont Drive in southeast Denver, one of the few signalized crossings on Yale located in proximity to homes, transit, and local neighborhood destinations, including grocery stores, restaurants, shopping, and a library. Narrow sidewalks, unsafe vehicle speeds, and short crossing times often discourage residents from walking to these nearby amenities.

On July 27, we partnered with the University Hills North Community RNO, the University Hills Neighborhood Association, and Councilwoman Kendra Black to demonstrate simple design changes that could improve walkability including a median down the center of Yale, curb extensions on Clermont, sidewalk extensions and a pop-up bus shelter. Local residents surveyed both at the demonstration site and the nearby University Hills Plaza farmers’ market showed enthusiastic support for improving traffic safety on Yale. 99% said they wanted to see more crosswalks on Yale, while 93% agreed they’d like to see more medians, pedestrian islands, and curb extensions.

You can download the full report [PDF] to learn more about the results of our data collection and be sure to check out the video of the event!

Image: A driver takes a right around the curb extension set up at a crosswalk on S Clermont Dr. 

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