Groups hope art in crosswalks will make Colfax safer for pedestrians

DENVER -- As part of an ongoing effort to make Colfax Avenue safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, volunteers are painting murals in the streets.

Dozens gathered Sunday to paint the crosswalks at Raleigh and Perry Street.

Local business improvement districts teamed up with Denver Arts and Venues to get the money for a way to make the street safer.

"When we reached out to stakeholders, they tell us that crossing Colfax is one of their biggest concerns," said Anne Kuechenmeister, the director of the Bluebird Business Improvement District.

Murals have already been painted in four other crosswalks on Colfax. 

These intersections were chosen because they were areas were there have been accidents. 

"What you see is people slowing down. People stopping to look. Vehicles going slower. It really highlights the area and draws attention to it. Where before it was nothing significant, it was a pass-through," said Kuechenmeister.

Painting the crosswalks was just one of many ideas the business improvement districts are exploring. 

They are discussing curb extensions that make the crossing distance shorter for pedestrians and also help vehicles see pedestrians at intersections. 

Consistent on-street parking could provide a buffer for people walking on the street, Kuechenmeister argues.

Median islands were also being discussed as a way to give pedestrians a place to stop.

"A lot of times you see people crossing Colfax and they're stopping in the middle. Kind of the 'colfax frogger.' So how can we take that situation that is happening and create better safety around that?" said Kuechenmeister.

The cost for the crosswalk project is $20,000. Some of the funding came through a Denver Arts and Venues grant. The rest of the money came from the Business Improvement districts. 

The districts hope to make more improvements in 2017 with curb extensions and/or pedestrian lights.

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