Denver gets millions for intersection upgrades, including four on Federal

CDOT has promised about $4.5 million to upgrade a total of nine intersections around Denver.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The city of Denver has secured millions of dollars to install new traffic signals and other upgrades at a series of problematic intersections, including several on Federal Boulevard.

“These are all going to be major intersection rebuilds,” said traffic engineer David DiGiacomo, an engineer for the city.

The upgrades are happening because the city was unusually successful in the yearly ritual of asking for money from the Colorado Department of Transportation. CDOT has promised about $4.5 million to upgrade a total of nine intersections around Denver.

And the winners are:
  • Federal and 38th Avenue
  • Federal and Kentucky Avenue
  • Federal and Mississippi Avenue
  • Federal and Jewell Avenue
  • Colorado Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • 5th Avenue and Broadway
  • 5th Avenue and Lincoln Street
  • 7th Avenue and Josephine Street
  • 7th Avenue and York Street
The changes:

The designs aren’t finalized yet, but they will partially focus on reducing crashes for left-turning vehicles. That will mostly affect vehicle crashes, and not so much the pedestrian deaths that have made Federal notorious.

Currently, most of the intersections give drivers a protected green left arrow, but that arrow disappears and is replaced by the standard green ball. In other words, people get into crashes as they try to make left turns in front of oncoming traffic.

The new signals will try to change that by giving each lane their own signals. If you’re in the left turn lane, you’ll only be allowed to proceed during a special protected green arrow.

“My thinking was that we’d be making these either left-on-green-arrow only, or left-on-green-arrow during certain times of day,” DiGiacomo said.

That means no one should be turning left across oncoming traffic — unless you’re one of those fools who tries to squeeze in when the stupid arrow is obviously red.

The rebuilds also will include pedestrian ramps that improve accessibility. Design and construction may take a couple years — no timeline has been published.

The city also has been pursuing other improvements on Federal Boulevard. Most recently, some signals were changed so that they always include a walk phase, whether or not somebody presses the button.

The city also is ready to start rebuilding about 0.6 miles of Federal from West 7th Avenue up to Lakewood Gulch, which will include a new lane, new lighting, raised medians and sidewalks.