Driving You Crazy: What is the value in the light at the end of the I-25 ramp to Lincoln Street?

The light backs up traffic and traps other drivers
Posted at 7:10 AM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 09:10:05-04

Paul from Denver writes, What is driving you crazy? “There is no value to the red light in the middle of the 700 block of S Lincoln - where the I-25 off ramp merges with northbound Broadway to form one-way Lincoln. The light does not pause traffic on Lincoln but alternates highway traffic with Broadway traffic. Ohio St is effectively always blocked in & serves as a literal tourist trap, only out-of-towners don't learn to avoid Ohio. Why not stop Ohio @ Lincoln, let southbound off-rampers wait at a left turn like every other off-ramp, and allow north bound traffic to merge onto Lincoln with obstruction, lessening jams & pollution at the top of Lincoln?” 

I understand your frustration Paul, but there is major value in that traffic light. Without it, I would be reporting about crashes nearly constantly happening right there. I can see how you might think that the light at Broadway and Ohio could hold the traffic long enough to develop a good merge for drivers coming off I-25 onto northbound Lincoln Street, but the traffic coming off the ramp needs to be filtered as does the traffic going northbound on Broadway and Denver Public Works (DPW) agrees.

“The traffic signal at the 700 block of S. Lincoln alternates traffic, so vehicles coming from Broadway and vehicles coming from I-25 can both merge safely onto Lincoln. In addition, the signal also provides a crosswalk, so pedestrians can safely cross the intersection to access the bus stop nearby,” said Heather Burke, DPW Marketing & Communications Specialist.

If traffic was stopped at Ohio then DPW believes traffic would back up more than it already does onto that ramp from northbound I-25. That, in turn, would back up traffic all the way back onto the interstate and we can all agree that would be bad. But I believe you are right that a light there at Ohio and the ramp lane would allow for traffic on Ohio to cross over the end of that I-25 ramp better than it does now. It would also help the few residents get out of their neighborhood right htere on Lincoln Street. I also think your idea of having just one traffic light at Ohio instead of a second one at the Lincoln Street Merge could work IF the traffic lights were programmed in a very specific way to allow traffic to flow smoothly off the I-25 ramp. 

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Meanwhile, my suggestion to DPW would be to restrict drivers from attempting to use Ohio during the morning hours, directing them instead north a few blocks to Center Ave where there is a traffic light at Lincoln Street and another at Broadway. All other times of day drivers could use that intersection at Ohio since traffic doesn't back up like it does in the morning hours.

Incidentally, I drive that way to work every morning and I’ve seen a car coming west on Ohio maybe 10 times in the past 11 years so the problem really is morning rush hour specific. Granted, I come to work at 3:30 in the morning.

The bigger issue for me at that intersection is that little section of asphalt right under the traffic signal at Lincoln Street. It is in terrible shape! The ruts are very deep, creating an uneven transition from the blacktop to the concrete. It almost feels like I'm going to bottom out if I hit one of the ruts the wrong way.  

When I told Heather about this problem she told me the standard line, “Denver Public Works will send a crew to fill the potholes along that small section. I tried to explain the problem wasn't potholes but ruts. I don't think my message was understood. For the future, you can report potholes, ruts or other road problems to DPW by calling 311 or make an online report at DPW says “crews fill potholes within 24 to 72 hours of receiving a report, weather permitting, but most potholes are filled within 48 hours.”

Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 20 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 oniTunesStitcherGoogle Play, and Podbean