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HomeLocal NewsColoradoLane reduction project beginning for Denver's York Street in July

Lane reduction project beginning for Denver’s York Street in July

DENVER — The first phase of Denver’s Vision Zero York/Josephine Corridor project is set to begin next month.

“Vision Zero program is to reduce serious and fatal crashes across the city by 2030, down to zero,” said Mike King, principal transportation planner for Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI).

Right now, York has two lanes of traffic in each direction.


Denver Department of Traffic and Infrastructure

Existing traffic orientation of York Street

After the changes are complete, York will have one lane in each direction with a middle left turn lane.


Denver Department of Transportation and Infastructure

Updated traffic orientation for York Street

“Everyone knows if you’re in Denver, you’re in traffic. But making it worse doesn’t seem like it should be the thing to do,” said Robin Fender, who has lived by City Park near York Street for more than two decades.

She and other neighbors are concerned the reduction in lanes will greatly impact people’s commutes. The city, on the other hand, said the change is necessary.

“York Street is actually on the High Injury Network, which is where 50% of our serious and fatal crashes occur but only make up about 5% of our city streets,” said King.

According to King, there were three deadly crashes and four serious bodily injury crashes on that stretch of road last year.

King said the main contributor to those crashes was speed. While Denver7 crews were along York on Thursday afternoon, there were several cars going well above the 30 mph speed limit.

“When you have two lanes [in one direction], that person that wants to hit 55 miles an hour on a two-lane street or a four-lane street can go around the people that are going the speed limit. Now, the people that are going the speed limit truly set the speed on the street,” said King.

“If you want to curb people’s behavior, then start penalizing them for what they’re doing,” said Fender. “Put some photo radars on and people will go a little slower.”

Lane reduction project beginning for Denver’s York Street in July

Another concern is the possible traffic backup on York St. as a result of fewer lanes. The other main thoroughfares nearby are Colorado Boulevard to the east and Downing Street to the west. Fender is worried frustrated drivers might cut through the neighborhoods to get to those other streets.

“It’s just going to make more traffic through the neighborhood because commuters are just going to find their commute, right? And Google Maps is going to tell you, [York] is all red,” she said.

King insists that traffic volume studies were done on York St. and even with the reduced lane, the new traffic orientation will be enough to keep drivers on York. He added that the addition of the left turn lanes will also help the flow of traffic.

“Right now, your innermost through lane is also operating as a left turn lane. That causes rear-end crashes because people stop to make a left, sometimes quickly and abruptly, and the person behind them isn’t paying attention, isn’t expecting it, causing a rear-end crash. Adding that two-way left turn lane moves those left turning vehicles out of that through lane,” he said.

The updates will happen in conjunction with the re-paving of York St., which already began in May. For more information on the project, click here.

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