By Marissa Armas

(CBS4) — On Saturday, Denver’s Westwood neighborhood celebrated its second annual Cinco de Mayo event to honor and recognize the contributions of the Mexican-American community.

“We really try hard to have events like these that really preserve the cultural identify of this community,” said Damaris Ronkanen, the Cultura Chocolate owner and founder of Hecho en Westwood.

But along with the festivities, there was also a push to discuss accessibility for those who live on or near Morrison Road in southwest Denver.

(credit: CBS)

“Morrison road has often been very dangerous,” Ronkanen said. “Last year, a car actually ran right through the plaza here on the campus, and you know, we’re just trying to make this neighborhood safer.”

Morrison Road is a highly trafficked corridor with several businesses. From January 2018 to September 2021, there were at least two deaths along the stretch and 14 serious injuries.

Jill Locantore, the executive director of Denver Streets Partnership, said the road’s current design makes it one of the most dangerous in the city, but recent changes are making it more pedestrian-friendly.

“The city used paint and bollards basically; these white posts to mark out additional space for pedestrians and restrict this space for cars,” Locantore said. “The cars can go through, but they just have to go a little slower when they’re going through this intersection.”

The posts will eventually be replaced with something permanent. And while this busy road has seen several additions over the years, it’s going to see more with hopes of making it more inviting for people walking, doing business and driving in the neighborhood.

“If we’re willing to adjust to these relatively minor changes to the streets, it makes it safer and less likely that people are going to be seriously injured or killed,” Locantore said.

Marissa Armas