Safety upgrades are coming for Josephine and York Streets. What could that look like?

The area is part of Denver’s “high injury network.”
3 min. read
York Street, where it diverges from Josephine Street at 18th Avenue. June 13, 2024.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Three people died in traffic crashes on York Street in 2023.

That street is part of Denver’s "high injury network," or areas where Denver sees a lot of crash fatalities and serious injuries.

As part of a repaving project this summer, portions of the street will drop down from four to three lanes, with more improvements to come in the next few years.

The changes come under the umbrella of Vision Zero, a commitment to end traffic deaths by 2030. But since Denver made that commitment a few years ago, traffic deaths have reached record highs — a trend that echoes across the country.

But some pedestrian improvements years in the making are getting started this summer. Last week, Denver broke ground on $15.5 million in transportation safety improvements along West Colfax.

And plans are in the works to reexamine other busy, fast-moving streets like 17th and 18th Avenues.

The changes will cover York and Josephine Streets between 47th and 40th Avenues and 18th and Colfax Avenues, and just York Street between 40th and 18th Avenues.

Drivers head north on Josephine Street, where it merges with York Street at 18th Avenue. June 13, 2024.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

So what would changes to Josephine and York Streets look like?

In the short term, the city plans to continue repaving segments of those roads.

In some areas, the city says it might add additional signs and temporary bollards — those sturdy, stout posts that guide traffic.

On York Street, the city plans to remove a car lane in each direction and create a center turn lane for cars. The street will get other upgrades like improved ramps for people with disabilities and reduced crossing distances for pedestrians, along with adjustments to traffic signals.

That repaving will take place throughout this summer, so beware of traffic along York and Josephine streets.

The long-term plan for the corridor is still in the works. 

One option would turn parts of York and Josephine Streets from one-way to two-way streets, and turn a four-lane portion of the street into a three-lane street.

Another option would add a transit lane by shifting a travel lane and widening a portion of the road.

A third proposal would add bike lanes to each side of the road and turn Josephine Street into a bike corridor. 

In addition to the three plans, the city is also considering traffic circles, pedestrian improvements around railroads, added trees and landscaping and bus stop and bus frequency improvements.

The city plans to finalize the designs this summer.

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