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What's Driving You Crazy?: Why isn't the intersection of E. 2nd Avenue, Abilene Street a 4-way stop?

Posted at 5:15 AM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 08:33:32-05

Tracy from Aurora writes, “What's driving you crazy? The intersection of 2nd/Blackhawk at Abilene isn’t a four way stop. There’s a “stop here when flashing” sign to warn of the upcoming train tracks for drivers on 2nd, but the folks traveling on Abilene don’t realize that. Otherwise, the traffic doesn’t stop. I’ve been through there several times when Abilene drivers stop and then pull out thinking the oncoming traffic is going to stop...of course they don’t and road rage ensues. There should either be an all-way stop OR a sign warning that cross traffic does not stop.”

That is a tricky interchange, Tracy, because of the light rail tracks and light rail station on the east side of the intersection. That interchange allows traffic to keep flowing on E. 2nd Avenue and will never be an all way stop because it is illegal to stop on any rail tracks. Given the rail alignment and intersection configuration, drivers on westbound 2nd Avenue would have to break the law, face a significant safety risk or have to stop well before the intersection if the intersection were a multi-way stop.

Carlie Campuzano, Aurora’s traffic manager, tells me they will eventually be installing an overhead traffic signal here.

“The intersection has always been planned for signalization in the ultimate condition once traffic reached sufficient levels to warrant installation of a traffic signal. The City has conducted an updated signal warrant analysis and the intersection does meet the necessary conditions to be considered for signalization,” says Campuzano.

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Putting a signal up here is a bit more complicated and involved due to the light rail component. The design and construction of a traffic signal requires the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to start the process of identifying needed modifications to the rail crossing.

“City staff have reached out to the PUC to start the necessary process so that we will be able to proceed with detailed design of the traffic signal and necessary modifications to the rail crossing,” says Campuzano. “We have also met in the field with the PUC and have prepared a draft signal plan for their review. Pending advancement of the PUC process as well as identification of overall cost and available funding, we would anticipate construction of the traffic signal to start at this intersection in the next year or so.”

While they wait for the signalization process to be complete, the city installed a “cross traffic does not stop” sign to the stop sign assembly for the northbound approach in hopes to make the intersection safer.

Denver7 traffic anchor 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, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes , Stitcher , Google Play or Podbean.