With 81 pedestrian deaths this year in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Transportation is issuing a call to action for pedestrians and drivers alike.
As part of a new program, CDOT placed neon pedestrian figures -- or "neon navigators" -- at busy intersections along critical corridors throughout the Denver metro area, aiming to promote pedestrian safety in the state.
CDOT Traffic Safety Manager Sam Cole met with CBS News Colorado to discuss the program's implementation. "You shouldn't have to risk your life just to cross the street," he said.
"We've seen a big uptick in the number of pedestrians killed on our roads this year. We are actually about 12% from where we were last year."
In 2022, Colorado saw a record-breaking 115 pedestrian deaths.
CDOT is hoping to stir the conversation around pedestrian safety. Denver and Aurora are key areas where pedestrian fatalities happen the most. The neon navigators were strategically positioned at popular pedestrian intersections including Wynkoop Street and 18th Street near Union Station, Federal Boulevard & Howard Place, and Broadway and 6th Avenue in Denver. In Aurora, the installations were located at E. Montview Boulevard & Ursula Street and E. 16th Place & Victor Street.
These intersections were selected because they are among the highest-density corridors for serious-injury and fatal crashes, according to data collected and analyzed by the Denver Regional Council of Governments and the City and County of Denver.
"This isn't a permanent plan for our roadways, this is about attracting attention just for today, said Cole.
He's urging awareness going forward.
"Drivers, you're behind the wheel of a two-ton machine. You have to slow down and use caution. And pedestrians, you need to look up, stay off your phone, and cross carefully. Infrastructure changes can take a long time, but your behavior can change in an instant. That's why we hope some people rethink their behaviors after seeing these little guys."
The highest counties for pedestrian fatalities this year are:
• Denver County (19)
• Pueblo County (11) *up 175% from this time last year (4)
• Adams County (9)
• El Paso County (9) *up 125% from this time last year (4)
• Arapahoe County (8)
• Jefferson County (8) *up 166% from this time last year (3)
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month, and CDOT plans to continue educating through the month
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