Denver’s gotten more dangerous to walk through in the past two years, report says

Pedestrians on Colfax. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Pedestrians on Colfax. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) colfax; pedestrians; sidewalk; capitol hill; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Pedestrians on Colfax. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The majority of the 51 largest metro areas have improved their pedestrian safety rating since 2014, according to Smart Growth America’s latest report. Not Denver though. 

Perhaps the good news here is that Denver’s Pedestrian Danger Index went up only slightly. The PDI is SGA’s calculation of the share of local commuters who walk to work and the most recent data on pedestrian deaths. Denver’s PDI went up only 0.6 from 2014 to 2016.

So Denver’s PDI is 58.7, which puts us 58th among 104 metros. That’s still above the national average of 53.8, but pretty squarely in the middle of the pack otherwise. At least the 1.23 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people is below the national average of 1.51. Our PDI is higher than average despite a lower than average pedestrian death rate because the PDI incorporates the rate of people who walk, in addition to the rate of pedestrian fatalities. Put another way, a higher proportion of the population walks here, so they’re exposed to more risk.

There’s still time for Mayor Michael Hancock’s pledge to end pedestrian fatalities to improve this ranking, but Streetsblog Denver says his 2017 budget isn’t promising.

Barring executive intervention into the problem, perhaps Colorado Springs’ ranking can inspire Denverites — the city had the lowest PDI of 104 large metros and nearly half as many traffic fatalities as Denver per 100,000 people.