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Driving You Crazy: Is it legal to make a right on red from northbound Sheridan onto Morrison Road?

You would need to drive past Mississippi a bit in order to do it
Sheridan Morrison Rd
Posted at 4:57 AM, May 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-23 13:15:28-04

DENVER — Joe from Denver writes, “What's driving you crazy? At the intersection of northbound Sheridan & Morrison Rd & Mississippi Ave, there is a stop line right before Mississippi with Morrison just feet past. Is it legal to make a right on red at this intersection onto Morrison? You would need to drive past Mississippi a bit in order to do it.”

That is a tricky spot Joe. Like you said, when you come to a stop in the right turn lane on northbound Sheridan, you are next to Mississippi Ave. Mississippi at that point only allows for eastbound traffic as it is a one way to Zenobia Street.

I spent some time there across several days watching how traffic flowed and according to my observations, about three of every five drivers made that right turn to eastbound Morrison Road. One particular time, a driver was starting to make the right at the same time as someone was turning left from southbound Sheridan to eastbound Mississippi and they almost collided. After some honking, both drivers were on their way, but it shows the one major potential conflict during that movement.

I talked with Sean Towle from the Denver Police Department who said drivers should not be making that turn onto Morrison Road. “It is not legal to make a right turn onto Morrison Road during a red light. It would be legal to turn onto Mississippi, but you cannot cross a street while making a right turn on a red light.”

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Vanessa Lacayo with Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) told me they agree with DPD: drivers are only allowed to turn right onto Mississippi from northbound Sheridan on red. “Because the stop bar is behind the intersection of Mississippi and Sheridan as opposed to Morrison and Sheridan, it is not okay to make a right turn onto Morrison from Northbound Sheridan on red.”

After bringing this issue to their attention, I asked if DOTI would add a "no turn on red" sign for drivers trying to get to Morrison Road. I was told they are going to refer this to their area engineer to take a look.

While officially the turn to Morrison Road is not legal, many long-time residents don’t know that so they will still be making that turn until DPD increases enforcement or DOTI installs a "no right on red" sign. Also, don’t be frustrated waiting behind someone who doesn’t make the turn. While it is legal to make a right on red at most intersections, it isn’t required. I wrote all about how some drivers don’t like to make that right on red in a previous Driving You Crazy story.

Denver7 Traffic Expert Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify or Podbean.