Ryan from Denver writes, “What's driving you crazy? The intersection of southbound Grant as it crosses Speer needs better markings. I've almost been hit several times while driving in the middle lane by the driver in the left lane. Why doesn't the city use better hashed markings across Speer to guide drivers better? It's driving me crazy!”
This is an intersection and movement that is dear to me. That section of Grant was part of my normal route home when I used to leave the TV station after work. That is before I started broadcasting from home. I would take Grant, that runs one way southbound across Speer, and then make a left before turning right on Logan.
There are three lanes on Grant that meet Speer. The right lane allows you to go right on northbound Speer or continue south over the bridge and stay on Grant. The center lane allows you to make a left on southbound Speer. The left lane is a bit tricky because you can go left on 5th Avenue, just before the traffic on northbound Speer crosses Grant, or you can cross over the bridge and make the left on southbound Speer. What frequently happens is that the driver in the left lane crosses over northbound Speer and thinks the center lane is the continuation of the left lane. That sends the confused left lane driver into the lane designed for the middle lane driver and often causes conflicts or near collisions.
I think the problem really lies in the angle the driver in the left lane is positioned in as they are about to cross over the northbound lanes of Speer. Cherry Creek flows between that section of north and southbound Speer Boulevard. That part of the creek flows northwest rather than true west. It’s enough that the city had to construct the bridge over the creek a bit offset from true north/south. Most streets in Denver, except for downtown, run due north-south-east-west.
Grant, like all other north-south streets in Denver, runs true north and south. So, the driver on Grant is facing due south. Then they have to turn a bit to the right to cross that offset bridge and that makes the driver point towards the center lane so naturally the driver wants to go there when in actuality they should stay in the left lane. That causes the driver in the center lane some angst as that left lane driver gets ever closer, sometimes nearly hitting the center lane driver. I say all of this as one who has experienced it more times that I can count. The funny part is how outraged the driver on the left is each time this happens thinking the center lane driver did something wrong.
When I asked the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure about this problem they told me “there is a large private construction project happening at this intersection. Once construction wraps-up early next year, DOTI will take another look at the street markings at that intersection to determine if they need to be enhanced.” The large building project is more on southbound Speer and on Logan just south of Speer than it is at this part of Grant Street.
I agree with you, Ryan, that properly painted dashed lines would go a long way in helping to solve this problem. Let’s hope DOTI follows up with their promise and takes another look at this movement this winter and makes the needed safety improvement that could save the side of our cars from getting hit by those weary left lane drivers.
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.