NewsContact Denver7


Contact7 getting results: Belmar crosswalk signals causing problems

Posted at 6:52 PM, Jan 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 21:21:21-05

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Contact7 is getting results after people in Lakewood's Belmar neighborhood said crosswalks are putting people in danger, especially people with disabilities.

Several people reported the signals are too quiet to hear over traffic on busy roads such as Wadsworth and Alameda and too short to get across in time.

Chris Balke is always going places around his Belmar neighborhood, when he can get across the crosswalks.

"Especially in the afternoon, it’s crazy out there on Wadsworth. They’re zooming by you and you can’t hear a thing," said Balke, waiting to cross one busy intersection. "That particular crossing is very long — you got to really start on the first part of it to get going. And if you don’t do that, you’re going to get stuck in the middle somewhere and you’re in trouble."

Sitting next to the button, he could hear the signal, but when he moved to the ramp to be ready to cross, the signal audio was drowned out by traffic.

Several other people in wheelchairs and pedestrians also said the road is often difficult to cross.

"We are powered, and when it says cross and we leave, we barely have time to get across," said Olivette Turbeville, a Lakewood resident who uses a wheelchair. "You can’t hear because there’s so much traffic and it’s so loud, but the timing to get across safely is impossible."

In the area, Balke said, some signals speak out audibly, others don't, and one was spray-painted over weeks ago. Balke said he has been complaining about these issues to the City of Lakewood for months, but got no response, so he reached out to Contact7.

In an email, a Lakewood spokeswoman said the City has been responsive. Months ago, "the City was aware it needed to repair the crosswalk buttons" and did so back in November, the same day Balke called the about problems (repairs had begun before that). The City said they tried to reach Balke, but he did not call them back.

Also, the City said signal volume is automatically adjusted to traffic at ADA crosswalks and that "ADA crosswalk signals can be put in at intersections" (if requested).

Turbeville disagreed about volume levels, but said Lakewood has been making noticeable efforts to upgrade the crosswalk system around Belmar.

"All these lights are new and the signs are new and the cutouts are new. We’re getting there. Really going far," she said. "But it needs to just be timing longer and louder, and problem solved."

Meanwhile, Balke said he heard back from Lakewood traffic engineers for the first time Thursday and is hopeful more crosswalks will be upgraded, but until then, he said, "That’s why I wear the orange jacket and I’ll wave at them to show that I’m there."