By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4)– A parent of elementary students in the Park Hill neighborhood has started an online petition, asking for more safety measures by nearby schools. This comes as traffic has increased on side streets and will only attract more drivers with the Central 70 construction project.

“We are all on the same page and we all come together is really the best way to tackle something this big,” said Blair Taylor, the creator of the petition. “The traffic and the congestion is all over the neighborhood.”

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She says recent accidents involving bicyclists including a child motivated her to create this online campaign. She says traffic during rush hour has also pushed her to this change.org petition. Taylor has proposed flashing lights on busy streets and more crosswalks to help children going to school and walking home.

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“Everybody has the same goal of safety and mobility,” she said. “We’re going to have a real squeeze of traffic coming into the neighborhood.”

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She says further development to the east of the Park Hill neighborhood as well as the I-70 project will only add to the urgency of this issue. They want to address it before a tragedy but have not gotten the response they want from city officials, according to Taylor. She points to 17th, 19th, Montview, and 23rd Avenues as problem spots creating danger zones with more drivers using those roads as alternative to I-70 and Colfax Ave. Her children go to Park Hill Elementary, one of several schools in the area facing the same problem she sees for her students.

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Blair Taylor (credit: CBS)

“It’s only going to get worse,” she said. “Park Hill is a through neighborhood.”

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Denver Public Works (DPW) said in an email to CBS4 that its staff recently attended a neighborhood meeting to listen to community concerns about traffic. Residents provided the department with comments received through a petition, according to city staff.

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“DPW is currently reviewing these comments and prioritizing them based on the concern,” the email said. “In addition, we will also collect traffic data (including during peak travel times) to better understand how people are moving through the greater Park Hill neighborhood.”

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The email goes on to say staff will reach out to community leaders to talk more about improvements for the area and acknowledged that a growing city is leading to more congested streets. But city staff say they are prioritizing improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists in “high-injury networks” as part of the Vision Zero Action Plan and the streets Taylor mentioned are not considered “high-injury” by the city.

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“Safety and mobility, Denver Vision Zero in itself says everyone should be able to travel safe no matter what mode of transportation,” Taylor said.

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She has lived in the neighborhood for almost 10 years say and the last half of that time has shown her the need to address congestion in Park Hill. She worries about the quality of life families near those streets will experience given the direction traffic is taking near her home and school.

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“We have the amenities and it’s so wonderful and great but if we can’t get to them then it’s really sort of pointless,” she said. “Nobody wants to have to drive three blocks to school.”

LINKS: Traffic Calming Petition | Denver’s Vision Zero

Shawn Chitnis reports weeknights for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Email him story ideas at smchitnis@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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