Elizabeth from Denver writes, “What’s driving you crazy? Hi Jayson. What’s the deal with cars or buses blocking traffic when they turn? Example: turning from Monaco onto Colfax. Cars getting stacked up, blocking traffic from flowing. Happens often when turning onto 13th from Monaco as well. Is it legal to block traffic flow like that?”
The short answer Liz is no, blocking the through lane on Monaco Street Parkway isn’t legal. However, that area is a unique spot in Denver.
As you know, there is just a small spot of road between the north and southbound lanes of Monaco along Colfax. It is long enough to hold maybe three vehicles. Because it is so small, that space sometimes traps drivers between the north and southbound lanes and there are times a driver might try to squeeze in and blocks traffic in the process. This is especially true for bus drivers, especially for drivers of those articulated RTD buses. They are longer than a normal bus and have a tough time fitting into small spaces.
If there was a queue of drivers in that little space on Colfax and someone pulls up, makes the left on Colfax and blocks Monaco, I think there would be little forgiveness from other drivers. That move is just a driver trying to sneak into a space where they should have waited back on the other side.
MORE: Read more traffic issues driving people crazy
I asked Denver police if this is a problem they run into often. They told me this does occur from time to time around Denver but they aren’t aware of it being a consistent problem. My guess is that there isn’t an officer who would write a citation for this move, especially to a bus driver. And I’m sure unsuspecting drivers feel uncomfortable, sitting exposed out there. I’ve been in situations like that and feel bad when it has happened to me. This is one of those weird situations where a bus driver would be offered lots of leeway. A regular car driver might not get the same courtesy.
Denver police told me if an officer sees this type of violation, they may choose to pull that driver over and either issue a citation or warning. Like most traffic violations, officers have the discretion to cite them or not. The violation in this case would be “Stopped in Traffic.” It is a 2-point violation that can also cost up to $125.00.
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 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 , Google Play or Podbean.