Traffic Detour Leads To Increased Tension In Lakewood

Neighbors Take To Streets In Effort To Halt Traffic

Regional Transportation District officials are urging motorists and homeowners affected by light rail construction to exercise patience, after an incident Wednesday night in which frustrated homeowners stepped out into traffic that was being detoured through their neighborhood.

"They're putting a mass transit system behind our homes," said Lakewood resident Michelle Amidei. "I think we've all come to terms with that. The part that we're having a hard time with is the construction, the disrespect, the lack of notifying neighbors about what's going on."

Work crews closed Kipling Street at 13th Avenue Wednesday night so they could install girders for the new light rail line. Traffic was supposed to be detoured at Colfax, with only local traffic allowed past the barricades.

Denver Transit Construction Group officials said many other motorists drove through and were then diverted into the neighborhood.

"I want it to stop," Amidei told construction crews after stepping out into the street. "This is not your neighborhood. I don't want 50 cars coming through. Go the other way."

When asked why she did what she did, Amidei responded, "The traffic coming down my street. I had to stop where I didn't have a stop sign to keep from hitting people, because they were going way too fast down a residential street that isn't well lit. And we have a curve at the end of the block."

Kathy Berumer of the Denver Transit Construction Group said, "We have to allow local access when we do a detour."

Amidei said locals could still access the neighborhood off of Colfax.

Berumer said if there are traffic issues residents should call RTD, the Denver Transit Construction Group or police.

"We would encourage people to not get involved in any altercations or to be standing in traffic," Berumer said. "We did call police and they did came in to talk to neighbors."

"After I was trying to help redirect traffic, they brought the police in and finally moved the road block (up) to 14th," Amidei said.

Police did not issue any summons.

Transit officials said the road closure for the girder project was a one night affair.

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