Amsterdam from Denver writes, “What’s driving you crazy? Hey Jayson, we've been attempting for several years to get a crosswalk painted at W. 14th St & Irving, it's in a school zone. Can you ask the City of Denver why they won't paint one at this very busy intersection?”
I did just that Amsterdam. I took your question to Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI). Let me first explain how 14th Ave meets Irving Street at two places south of Colfax. When I went out to look at the issue, I saw what you are talking about. I saw there are two missing painted crosswalks at the northern intersection, the one across 14th and the one across Irving Street, and one missing crosswalk at the southern intersection across 14th.
DOTI tells me they are currently reviewing adding a new crosswalk across 14th Avenue at both the north and south connection to Irving Street. After that initial review process, traffic engineers will decide if they believe a crosswalk is appropriate. The odds seem pretty good that it will be approved. If the final approval is given, I’m told the installation process can take up to 12-16 weeks so look for some action possibly this summer.
When it comes to the placement of crosswalks in the city, DOTI tells me they have developed a set of guidelines to determine when and where they believe a crosswalk is appropriate. Some of the criteria include:
• What, if any, traffic control exists at the intersection? Is there already a stop sign or traffic signal there?
• During an average day, how many people cross the street?
• What is the proximity to vulnerable user destinations like schools, parks, or hospitals?
• What is the pedestrian-involved crash history at that intersection?
• What is the distance to nearest already enhanced crossing?
Regarding the missing pedestrian crossing across Irving Street at 14th, while the city tells me that you can cross Irving there at 14th without the painted crosswalk, they would prefer you walk either 300 feet to the north or 250 feet to the south.
“We enhanced two pedestrian crossing locations directly north and south of this specific location where it is much safer for people to walk across,” says Vanessa Lacayo with DOTI. “Not only is there a painted a crosswalk at the southern 14th and Irving intersection, but this intersection is also an all-way stop for drivers, giving people walking more visibility as drivers come to a complete stop.”
Walking just north of 14th to the Colfax and Irving intersection, I saw a timed pedestrian signal that made crossing the street much safer. Walking south, I saw the three-way-stop that made that intersection easy to cross.
I’m told as part of those DOTI guidelines, they dissuade the installation of pedestrian crosswalks within 300-feet of where one already exists. In this case, there are two other crosswalks within 300 feet of your intersection so they probably won’t put in markings across Irving Street at the northern 14th Ave intersection.
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, iHeart Radio, Spotify or Podbean.