DENVER -- Judy from Denver writes, “What’s driving you crazy? Going to Kaiser's Franklin Building on 17th street going east, the city street signs are impossible to read till you are right on them. I have to turn left on Franklin and 17th and have missed my turn because the street sign was blocked my tree limbs. Why don't they trim the tree limbs blocking the street signs and make them bigger. The suburbs have much better street signs.”
I have had that same problem on some downtown streets too, Judy. Some of the overgrown, old growth trees have branches that stretch out over the roads and when they are full of leaves it is even tougher to see some road signs.
Just looking at the two pictures attached to this story of the area you are taking about, you can see the large tree on the north side of 17th just before Franklin that blocks the view of the overhead street sign until you are right up at the intersection.
“We are also always working to ensure our street signs are highly visible for commuters. If we notice a tree starting to obscure a traffic signal or street sign, we will work with the City’s Forestry Office to proactively trim the branches,” says Heather Burke, Denver Public Works Marketing & Communications Specialist.
Heather tells me your visibility problem specifically at 17th and Franklin comes down to the city choosing to work around nature.
“Trimming the branches at that location will damage the health of the tree. We are in the process of installing a second “Franklin Street” sign for the right traffic mast pole at this intersection,” Burke said.
Denver Parks & Recreation’s Forestry Office is responsible for trees in public parks, parkways and other public property. Denver’s street trees are under regulation of the City Forester, but their maintenance is a responsibility shared by adjacent property owners.
Denver Public Works follows the federal standards listed in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices which determines the appropriate size of a street sign, so it is visible and consistent throughout Denver. Public works believes after they install the second Franklin sign you should not miss your turn again.
Denver7 traffic reporter Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 20 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 and Twitter or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast.