‘Crazy wrecks’ prompt neighborhood traffic safety events near Cheesman Park

CHUN will be collecting traffic data on East 13th Avenue


For years, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods (CHUN) focused on the People’s Fair and maintaining the historic property it owns.

But when Team Player Productions took over planning for the festival in in 2017, the neighborhood organization decided to shift its focus back to the community.

Mark Cossin, vice president of community engagement at CHUN, said the switch is an opportunity for the organization to host events on educating the community about area issues.

“The big initiative this year was to get the delegates in each of the neighborhoods to take on a project that was either social in nature or would solve a problem that they felt like they had in their neighborhood,” he said.

CHUN covers a large section of central Denver, from East First Avenue to East 22nd Avenue and from Colorado Boulevard to Broadway. Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park, Congress Park, Uptown and City Park West are all within the boundaries.

Each neighborhood has delegates in the volunteer-based organization. In the new community focus, delegates are deciding focuses should be in individual neighborhoods. In West Cheesman and Cheesman Park, the focus will be on traffic accidents.

East 13th Avenue has been the root of several accidents in the area, Cossin said. The organization is looking at the intersections of North Marion and North Lafayette streets at East 13th. The area is a big draw to pedestrians, because of the access to Cheesman Park.

“When I say traffic issues, I mean lots of crazy wrecks,” Cossin said. “Cars have turned over and they’ve gone into people’s lawns.”

The organization will be partnering with WalkDenver on two events focusing on traffic safety. Cossin said CHUN is hoping to host the events in August, but is still working on permitting with the city. The organization may push the events into September.

For one event, members of CHUN will track the speed of cars with radar at the North Marion and North Lafayette intersections.

But Cossin said he is concerned the organization will not get the full picture since the event is during the day and a majority of the accidents have been happening at night.

“I don’t know if we’re going to see a real issue during the day,” he said. “A lot of these accidents do happen at night when people are just trying to speed home.”

Regardless, Cossin said he hopes the event will draw awareness to pedestrian safety in the area.

The second event will turn the area in front of the Marion Street grill into a mini-park with games. The mini-park area will show event attendees how a sidewalk extension could function. CHUN and Walk Denver will be conducting surveys during the event. The intersections at North Marion and North Lafayette streets will have bulb-out curb extensions. The extensions don’t take up traffic lanes, but they do give pedestrians a little more space to wait in.

WalkDenver is a pedestrian advocacy group that works with communities and city officials to find ways to make areas more friendly to walkers. Jessica Vargas, a project coorinator with WalkDenver, said the organization is aiming to make Denver the most walkable city in the country.

“The more people you bring to the area, the more services you bring to the area you need to figure out ways to get people around,” Vargas said.

The organization helps local communities by navigating the permitting process with the city and providing its expertise on walking solutions. WalkDenver is also working on community projects on West Colfax Avenue and at the clover-leaf intersection at Federal Boulevard and Colfax Avenue.

“There’s very simple, quick inexpensive fixes that could be done,” Vargas said. “This is a quick way to demonstrate what those changes would look like.”


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