The transportation committee is going to start a new blog section, where we discuss some frequently (or infrequently, depending on how much of a transportation nerd you are) asked questions. For example: when is it ok to turn left on red, why is it illegal to drive a black car on Sunday, and why can’t we move the deer crossing signs to less traveled areas to minimize car-deer collisions?

 

As avid urbanists, we’ve noticed that there are often many circumstances on our Uptown streets the result in confusion, especially when mixed modes of transport interact. Despite our jovial tone above, this confusion can have grave consequences: as of November 8, 72 people have lost their lives on Denver streets. We hope this monthly section can help you become better user of our transportation networks, as well as highlight the critical need for improvements to our streets and infrastructure.

 

Without further ado: 

Q: When I’m driving down an alley, how should I alert pedestrians that I’m coming near the sidewalk?  I know some people honk, but I’m not sure that’s the best way. 

 

 

A: A honk is probably better than nothing, but a better method would be to travel slowly enough that any pedestrians (or darting children or pets) would have enough time to see you coming – and you would have enough time to react. The feeling of not being able to see all of your surroundings in an alley should make you slow down, although it feels ‘unsafe’ for you in the car, this environment is actually safer for all users because it forces you as the driver to slow down! 

 

This is why road design is so important. Wide, straight lanes, clear visibility, and lack of distractions feel safer when you are in the car – but this false sense of security lulls you into traveling at higher speeds. Higher speeds are great when you are on the highway, they are not great when travelling through a city where lots of other road users are present (road users who don’t have two tons of metal protecting them) If you care about street safety, we hope you will join us in asking DOTI and the city of Denver to employ better strategies in their road design, and attempt to eliminate stroads from our city.

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