Aurora plans massive overhaul to its traffic signal timing

Our Colorado: How signal time will save time
Posted at 2:40 PM, May 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-08 11:48:45-04

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AURORA, Colo. -- If your commute is driving you nuts, you're not alone.

The city of Aurora is undergoing a monumental traffic light retiming and redesign.

The city has hired an engineering firm to study and change the timing at nearly all of its 300+ traffic signals.

The study and redesign is being completed by Stantec and should be implemented by this time next year.

"They're not timed well and then some cross streets should have a stop that don't," said Isaiah Barnes, who has lived in Aurora his entire life.

"My problem is the timing all the way from Chambers over to Potomac," said Aurora resident Jennifer Durousseau.

Aurora is addressing the issue head-on.

"Commuters are experiencing more and more delays on city streets especially when at traffic signals," said Freddy He, traffic engineer and project manager with Stantec Engineering.

The city has hired Stantec to study and retime the lights.

"Right now, we have crews doing travel runs and we also have cameras set-up to capture volume. We're going to devise and design the optimal signal timing plans," said He.

It’s been 9 years since the last time this was done. Since then, the population of Aurora has increased by more than 50,000 people.

Denver7 traffic guru Jayson Luber says the lights are currently timed for what Aurora was 10 years ago, not what it is today.

"They need to do it as often as we are growing,” Luber said. “We are growing at an exponentially fast pace."

Light rail is part of the problem. Although a major benefit to Aurora in terms of transit options, it's also adding pressure points to traffic patterns.

"Whenever there's a train - it obviously blocks a lot of the traffic in its path," He said.

"I get confused with the light rail, like - 'Can I turn here? Can I drive on this part?" Barnes said.

"And I'll be stuck with nothing going on, but a train," said Durousseau.

"What they're trying to do is find a balance,” Luber said. “A balance between pedestrians, bikes, trains and cars. That's what all public works departments are trying to do. Find a balance for everybody."

“And make it safer," He said. "Helping save people's lives and making people's lives better."

The project is relatively cheap when comparing costs to benefits. It will cost the city just $600,000. Much cheaper than widening roads.

“The City of Aurora, as well as the entire Denver metro area have been going through this tremendous growth with rapid population increases and economic growth,” He said. “And this growth is putting tremendous pressure on the city streets.”

The new timing should be in place by this time next year.