Driving You Crazy: When will the City of Denver install more left turn arrows at traffic lights?

Viewer: Turn arrows would cut back on idling
Posted at 9:13 AM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 11:54:25-04

Lisa from Ken Caryl writes, “Denver loves to brag about B-cycles and being green, but the time that commuters spend in cars idling at intersections is staggering, and left turn arrows would greatly help this. Example, Monaco and Yale. Turning north onto Monaco from eastbound Yale, there is an arrow. However, turning south onto Monaco from westbound Yale there is not. What could possibly be the explanation for that?  Another example is numerous places along Monaco, where it is divided, such as MLK and Monaco. People can't turn left, because there's too much oncoming traffic, so the line backs up, and then affects traffic coming through, trying to cross the other part of the divide in Monaco. Quebec and 8th is another example of an intersection that needs an arrow.”

Lisa, I have some good news for you. Next year, Denver Public Works will rebuild the traffic signal at Monaco & MLK, which includes adding a left turn arrow. In addition, flashing yellow arrows will be installed in the eastbound and westbound directions. 

Heather Burke, Marketing & Communications Specialist for Denver Public Works, told me they are looking at the signals at Monaco & Yale and Quebec & 8th but are not going to change for now.

“When Denver Public Works studies a signal, we look at accident history and traffic volume, determine if there would be safety benefits to adding a left turn arrow, and take traffic delays into consideration,” Burke said.

MORE: Read more traffic issues driving people crazy

Denver Public Works is currently studying dozens of other traffic signals in the city, to see which signals would be good candidates for left turn arrows. Burke told me depending on the intersection, left turn arrows can sometimes make the wait times longer.

“Denver Public Works must find a balance between adding a left turn arrow for minor vehicle movements (left turners) and not cause more overall delays for other major movements at an intersection,” said Burke.

Burke adds that the goal of Public Works is to always strike a balance and keep traffic moving in all directions. I, incidentally, also hope that traffic keeps moving in all directions all the time.

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 about 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