RTD's R-Line through Aurora, set to open this winter, takes a unique path through the city. That path is cause for concern when it comes to safety.
In many locations along the new 10.5-mile stretch of track, the train will travel next to or cross vehicle traffic. These are called "at-grade" intersections in traffic terms.
Ten of the 20 at-grade intersections are compacted in one area around the town center at Aurora shopping mall. Many of the intersections don't have stop gates to warn drivers that a train is coming.
"The landscape of Aurora has changed," said RTD spokesperson Lisa Trujillo. "We want motorists to be very careful when navigating through the intersections."
The at-grade intersections include:
- Abilene Street and Exposition Avenue (traffic signal only).
- Exposition Avenue and Blackhawk Street (traffic signal only).
- Exposition and Town Center at Aurora access (traffic signal only).
- Exposition Avenue and Sable Boulevard (traffic signal only).
- Sable Boulevard and Centrepoint Drive (traffic signal only).
- Sable Boulevard and Alameda Avenue
- Sable Boulevard and commercial access
- Sable Boulevard and Bayaud Avenue
- Sable Boulevard and Ellsworth Avenue (traffic signal only).
- Ellsworth Avenue and Target shopping mall
- Abilene Street and Highline Canal trail crossing
- Abilene Street and 4th Avenue
- Fitzsimons Parkway and 17th Avenue
- Fitzsimons Parkway and 17th Place
- Fitzsimons Parkway and Toll Gate Creek Regional Trail
- Fitzsimons Parkway and Sand Creek Trail
- Fitzsimons Parkway and Sand Creek Park parking lot
- Peoria Street and 30th Avenue
- Peoria Street and 31st Place
- Peoria Street and 33rd Avenue
RTD said Aurora will have the most at-grade intersections than any other metro area city with light rail.
RTD is asking Aurora residents to start familiarizing themselves with the signage that is already up. That includes signals, striping on roads and lights.
Most importantly it's up to drivers and pedestrians to keep themselves safe.
"We want people to be aware of their surroundings," said Trujillo. "Don't try to beat the train... obey traffic signals and don't do things that distract you while you're driving."
The intersection at Sable and Ellsworth north of Alameda will be closed through early June so crews can put up the wiring that will power the trains through the intersection. The closure will last an estimated four weeks. RTD asks drivers to use Abilene and Chambers as detours.