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Another Deadly Hit & Run In Denver Raises Questions About Street Safety

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver police are searching for the driver involved in a fatal hit and run on Broadway over the weekend. A woman was trying to cross the busy road near 10th Avenue when she was struck.

Rebecca Fetterolf and Adam Rhodes witnessed the hit and run.

"I didn't realize a pedestrian was hit. I didn't know what was hit. The car continued to accelerate, it didn't hit the brakes at all," Rhodes said.

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(credit: CBS)

The two say it happened around 2 a.m. on Saturday.

"For such a highly foot-trafficked area, it's really dangerous," she said.

There have been several similar crashes across Denver streets in a matter of weeks brining new attention to an issue the city recognized years ago. In 2017, the mayor launched the city's Vision Zero campaign.

"By 2030 our goal is to have zero traffic deaths," he stated in the State of the City address that year.

So far in 2021, the number of traffic related deaths is at 56.

We asked Jill Locantore, Executive Director of the Denver Streets Partnership, about the city's goals.

"Where are we at when it comes to that campaign?" CBS4 reporter Karen Morfitt asked.

"The city is falling behind," Locantore said.

Her group advocates for safer streets for everyone and says building the right infrastructure would be a step toward their goal and gave just one example of a fix that could help.

"It's pretty basic. It's things like sidewalks. There are 40% of Denver sidewalks that either don't have a sidewalk at all, or it's so skinny a person in a wheelchair can't fit or a parent with a stroller can't fit, and they are forced to walk in the street," Locantore said.

Of course, she says the number of vehicles on the road is likely a factor. She says during the pandemic the number of serious crashes dipped down.

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(credit: CBS)

"We think part of the reason it fell in 2020 was because fewer people were out driving and you know let's face it it's cars are the cause of most fatal crashes," she said.

Exactly what happened on Broadway is still under investigation, but Locantore says any life lost is a clear indication that more change is needed.

"We still have a long way to go," she said.

The city's Vision Zero action plan includes several goals to help lower traffic crashes in the city and already they have made changes to traffic patterns in some areas, timed stoplights with slowing drivers down in mind and added miles of bike lane across the city.

CBS4 reached out to the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to find out more on the work that has already been done as well as the focus now as we approach the 2030 deadline.

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