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Driving You Crazy: Why is the stop sign at 48th & Picadilly so far back from the intersection?

If you stop behind the stop sign, you have to stop again when you get up to where all the other cars can see you.
48th & Picadilly
Posted at 5:06 AM, Apr 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-23 08:53:17-04

Kelly in Green Valley Ranch writes, “What’s driving you crazy? There is an intersection on 48th Avenue at Picadilly Road that could use some attention. When traveling westbound on 48th Avenue, there is a stop sign. The intersection is a 4-way stop but the stop sign is about 30 feet back from the true intersection. So, if you stop behind the stop sign, you have to stop again when you get up to where all the other cars can see you. It wouldn't take much effort to move that stop sign closer to the true intersection and I have to believe it would make it safer. I always appreciate your effort and attention.”

This is a situation where infrastructure and common sense aren’t talking to each other. Green Valley Ranch and the area around Denver International Airport is growing like crazy. Some of the infrastructure is in place but it isn’t totally built out everywhere. This is the case at 48th and Picadilly. It might not look like it from the ground level, but from above, you would see that Picadilly in this area is only half finished. The plan is to eventually make Picadilly a divided, six-lane roadway, but for now, it is just one lane northbound and one lane southbound using what will eventually be just the southbound lanes.

When the westbound 48th Ave. stop sign was installed, the workers plunked the sign in the place where the eventual northbound lanes will be, as if the divided northbound lanes were already in place instead of putting it in the more practical place — 90 feet farther west where traffic flows. When I went out to take a look, I thought that the painting crew must not have been in contact with the stop sign placement crew because the stop bar painted on westbound 48th was placed where the current lanes of Picadilly pass 48th Ave — not back at the stop sign.

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I asked the City of Aurora if they could move the stop sign closer to where the cross traffic actually passes 48th Ave. Traffic Manager for Aurora Carlie Campuzano told me, “The pavement markings will be evaluated for potential improvements and modifications, but the stop signs will remain in their current locations. Staff have reviewed the last year of crash data and did not find any reported crashes at this intersection.”

I saw, firsthand, one of the problems with leaving the sign where it is. I watched as a driver stopped at the sign and accelerated pass the stop bar and through the intersection. Fortunately, there wasn’t a collision.

I was told all of the intersections along Picadilly Road in this area are in this temporary configuration until the widening occurs. However, I saw the stop sign at 44th Pl. and Picadilly next to where the traffic flows, not farther back like at 48th Ave.

The City of Aurora told me the Picadilly widening project south of 56th Ave. is within the Aerotropolis Regional Transportation Authority. That agency will be doing the planned road widening between 38th Ave. and 56th Ave., and is still in the final design phase of the project. I reached out to several members of the Aerotropolis Regional Transportation Authority for an update to the work schedule, but none of them ever got back to me. Once the roadway is widened, the stop sign at 48th and Picadilly will be removed and replaced with a signalized intersection. The City of Aurora said a timeframe for final construction is not available at this time and will be driven by adjacent development.

Until then, if you are going west on 48th, Campuzano told me, you will only need to stop at the stop bar painted on the road — where Picadilly crosses 48th Ave. If you choose to stop at the sign, that is your decision. I would be surprised if an officer wrote you a ticket for slowly rolling past that stop sign as long as you come to a complete stop at where traffic is flowing on Picadilly. But I’m not an officer, so do what you feel comfortable with.

Why is the stop sign at 48th & Picadilly so far back from the intersection?

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 award winning Driving You Crazy podcast on any podcast app including iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Podbean.