By Lauren Collins, Community Engaged Fellow
Federal Boulevard is the second deadliest street in Denver for traffic fatalities and takes the lives of people walking, bicycling, taking transit, riding a motorcycle or driving every year. Vision Zero Denver is an initiative with the goal of making traffic-related deaths and serious injuries nonexistent in Denver by 2030. To better understand how residents experience traffic safety in the area, the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL), the City of Denver, and the Vision Zero Coalition collaborated to deliver a series of photovoice workshops to residents of the Federal Boulevard corridor. Through photography, these participants shared things they love about their community along Federal Boulevard, as well as things that make them feel unsafe.
All 17 of the participating artists share a love for Federal Boulevard and documented this through photos of art, neighborhood structures, parks, and restaurants that run along Federal Blvd. One of the artists, Yara Vaneau, summed it about best when she said that she cares about the “vibrancy and creativity that permeate Federal Boulevard. Even though it seems chaotic and ugly, once you slow down and pay attention there are a lot of interesting and beautiful bits.”
All of the artists came from different backgrounds but share one thing in common: they all live, work, or play in the Federal Boulevard corridor. As Artist Sandy Foushee said, “when cities care enough to have safe, functional pathways, such as roads and sidewalks, they not only create connections between physical places, they also foster connections and hope between residents. People who feel hope, can go on to create pockets of beauty and connections between each other”.
To conclude these workshops, a Vision Zero Community Forum was held on May 12, 2018. Forum attendees heard from local leaders about implementing community programs that will ultimately help ensure safety along Federal Boulevard and around Denver. This is the second series of photovoice workshops that CCESL has run in partnership with the City. CCESL will continue the photovoice workshops this summer with a program targeting teens in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood.