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Colorado Pedestrian Safety Advocate: Auto-Pedestrian Accidents Will Continue, Roads System Design At Fault

DENVER (CBS4) - In the last 36 hours, the Denver Police Department has reported at least two more auto-pedestrian accidents in Denver, leaving one dead. The first happened on Friday around noon off of Martin Luther King Blvd. and Central Park, and the second happened at 11:30 p.m. at the intersection of Broadway and Speer.

That second incident was fatal.

"I'm heartbroken and deeply saddened every time I hear about one of these fatalities because they are preventable but it is predictable," said Jill Locantore, the executive director of Denver Streets Partnership. "These crashes typically happen on the same streets over and over again, and it's because those streets are designed like highways to move as many cars as fast as possible."

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City data shows that as of March 28, there were at least 15 traffic deaths reported so far this year. Locantore said we'll continue to see fatal auto-pedestrian accidents until we transform the way our transportation system works which entails redesigning our streets to make them more pedestrian friendly.

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"Reclaiming some of that space from cars and reallocating it for dedicated transit lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks, ways for people to get around other than driving that are safer," she said.

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The city of Denver has created a program called Vision Zero which aims  to help address some of these issues. The goal of the program is to have zero traffic related deaths by 2030. Some changes the city has made using this program include revamps to 18th Street, 19th Street, and Lincoln Avenue. Bike lanes were moved and the number of traffic lanes was reduced.

While drivers and pedestrians could be more cautious when on the road, Locantore said ultimately it is the government's responsibility to make streets less deadly.

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"The way the streets are designed, it just puts us in conflict with each other, and it's really unfair to ask individuals to take all the responsibility for their safety when the system is designed to put everybody at risk," she said.

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