DENVER — The worst part of walking in Denver is coming upon a construction zone and not knowing when a car may whip around the corner.
If you don’t know the experience, try navigating Pearl Street at 17th Avenue.
“You have to walk out not only to the curb, but all the way out into the street and crane your neck and try and see if there are cars coming before you cross the street,” said Jill Locantore, executive director of WalkDenver.
Fencing and construction equipment around the multistory building blocks pedestrians’ view of traffic on 17th Avenue and drivers’ view of people crossing the street.
“You just can’t see,” Locantore said. “It’s not safe for anybody.”
WalkDenver recently worked with Denver Public Works, city council members and local business leaders to help update requirements for contractors who block the public right of way.
Last week, Denver Public Works released updated procedures to improve safety for people moving about Denver.
“Now, builders do have to show how they’re accommodating people walking and biking safely around their construction site and they should be required to provide a pedestrian walkway with a canopy to cover if it’s a tall construction site,” Locantore said.
The requirements call for contractors to come up with a traffic management plan for pedestrians, cyclists, scooters, transit riders and drivers.
Denver Public Works will require additional signs and barricades to help pedestrians navigate construction zones.
Pedestrian canopies are now required for new vertical construction taking place beside pedestrian pathways. Contractors must also submit parking plans detailing how their workers will access the construction site.
A spokeswoman for Denver Public Works said the current rules and regulations for construction in the right of way were written in 2008. The city is looking at writing new rules later this year. The process could include a public hearing.
“I hope to see very clear policies that provide direction and mandates to construction sites to provide safe and very convenient access for people walking and biking,” Locantore said.
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