Neighbors call for traffic changes following deadly crash in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood

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DENVER, (KDVR) — At the intersection of 32nd and Lowell in Northwest Denver, flowers are piling up on the Northwest side of the intersection.

The memorial continues to grow, following a Saturday crash that killed a Denver man and sent his young daughter to the hospital.

According to Denver Police, 49-year-old Patrick Layden crossed a double yellow line and passed a vehicle before entering the intersection, running a red light and hitting a car. The force of the impact sent both cars further west down Wes 32nd Avenue, hitting seven parked cars. 

Brad Brubaker was killed in the crash, and his daughter was hospitalized with critical injuries.

“Seeing that type of carnage on this block was surprising and horrible,” said David Chen. “My kids are with me on these streets, and it’s terrifying this could happen. Something needs to change.”

Chen and the Denver Bicycle Lobby led a push in 2020 to close this stretch of 32nd to motor vehicle traffic, a request that was ultimately rejected by the city.

He says Saturday’s crash speaks to the need for lower speeds along the corridor.

“We can do a lot just by street design to mitigate that risk,” he said. “Speed kills.”

District One Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval says she’s received a number of calls from constituents since Saturday and is asking Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) to re-examine potential improvements at the intersection.

“I don’t know if those types of mitigation would have helped, but it is an area that is heavily utilized,” she said. “I’ve requested them to look into it and I’ve asked them for an update.”

A spokesperson for DOTI says the city made substantial improvements in the area in the Fall of 2019, including replacing nearby traffic signals with four-way stops, installing bulb-outs and adding flashing beacons to help pedestrians cross safely.

DOTI says this is the first fatal crash at 32nd and Lowell on records dating back to 2013.

A spokesperson says the city will not be considering speed humps, saying the high vehicle volumes would not make that an appropriate treatment. However, they will be reviewing DPD’s crash investigation to see if additional safety improvements are warranted.

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