CDOT Shines Light on Pedestrian Safety with Glow in the Dark Sidewalk Chalk Art

April 19, 2018 - Fred Estrian meets pedestrians where they are with an eye-catching reminder


DENVER — Beginning today, pedestrians around Denver will be greeted with an important safety message as they get ready to cross busy intersections. As part of their pedestrian safety campaign, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has installed glow in the dark sidewalk chalk art in high-foot traffic areas throughout the city to shine light on the importance of putting your phone away before entering a crosswalk.

The chalk art is provided by Fred Estrian, CDOT’s life-size walk signal man with a passion for protecting Colorado road users. Fred’s message reads “Stow your phone before crossing,” and weather permitting should be visible through early May. The chalk art images can be found in 100 locations within Denver’s city limits, including the 16th Street Mall, Cherry Creek, Civic Center Park, Colorado Convention Center, Coor’s Field, the Highlands, Larimer Square, Lower Downtown (LoDo), the Pepsi Center, Union Station and more.

“With temperatures heating up and the Rockies season now in full swing, we expect heavier foot traffic in these already bustling parts of town,” said Sam Cole, safety communications manager at CDOT. “We wanted to take to the sidewalks – literally – as a way to meet pedestrians where it matters most with a safety message they can’t miss. By coating the chalk art installations with a glow treatment, we’re able to reach daytime pedestrians and late-night bar crawlers alike.”

This latest initiative is part of CDOT’s 2018 safety campaign, which also targets drivers to use caution around pedestrians. The campaign features guidelines and safety tips from “Captain Fred Estrian,” a spoof on an airline captain, in the form of radio PSAs, social media ads and billboards. Radio spots imitate pre-flight safety demonstrations, providing tips such as, “pedestrians, when I turn on the walk sign, you are free to move about the crosswalk,” and “drivers, stop before the crosswalk, it’s a no-car zone.” Print and social media ads emulate airplane safety manuals and include important safety tips aimed at drivers, such as “make eye contact before take off,” and “slow down, look around, save a life.”

Pedestrian fatalities are a growing concern in Colorado. In 2017, there were 93 pedestrian fatalities statewide, up 11 percent from 2016 and 45 percent from 2015. What’s more, pedestrians represented 14.4 percent of all traffic fatalities in Colorado last year. CDOT’s pedestrian safety campaign aims to promote the importance of using crosswalks and encourage drivers to always yield to pedestrians.

For more information about Colorado’s pedestrian laws and to view campaign materials, visit the CDOT website.