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Initiative aims to make streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers

CDOT plans to spend nearly $59 million in Denver Metro region.

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has launched a new plan focused on making streets make sense in areas where people, bikes, and cars often co-mingle.

It's called "Safer Main Streets" and is an initiative Danny Katz, the director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group and chairman of Denver Streets Partnership, said he's been fighting for for years.

"Whether you're walking, biking, rolling, waiting for transit, or driving your own car," Katz said. "Unfortunately, just too many streets just aren't safe right now."

Over the years, Katz said there have been too many people hit by cars on foot, on a bike or on a scooter.

"As of the latest counts, I think we've had 52 people die on just the city of Denver's streets last year," Katz said.

He's been advocating for CDOT to come up with a focused effort on making streets more user-friendly. Katz said he finally got the answer he's been looking for.

"We're really excited about CDOT's new Safer Main Streets Program," Katz said.

Safer Main Streets lists projects from Boulder to Douglas County and dozens of places in between where the state will spend about $59 million in safety mitigations.

"Creating some raised pedestrian crossings so it's clear for everyone where pedestrians are going to be," Katz said. "Making sure signals are in place."

For example, CDOT will spend more than $7.4 million on Federal Boulevard in Denver for better medians and paths for walkers. On West Colfax, CDOT will use $10 million to upgrade lighting, bike access and transit stops.

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The money will be used to control speeds, as well, according to Katz.

"It doesn't make sense to have somebody going 55 miles per hour down Colfax," Katz said. "The likelihood of somebody being killed or being seriously injured by a vehicle goes way up when you start to see speeds above 35, 40, 45 miles per hour."

So far, 30 projects have been identified by CDOT and the Denver Regional Councils of Government. This is part of a bigger 10-year transportation plan.

"These are definitely permanent and they're good solutions," Katz said. "We'll just need more of it over time so we can truly get to a point where our streets are safe for everyone."

RELATED: Shared streets advocate hit and killed while crossing Colfax

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