If you’ve driven on S. Emerson or S. Washington Streets, between I-25 and Speer, you know that these one way streets, with a speed limit of 30 mph, tend to be a “quick” way to head northbound (S. Emerson St) or southbound (S. Washington St) through the WWP neighborhood. Residents living on S. Emerson and S. Washington Streets seem to, overwhelmingly, feel that they would like these streets made back into 2 way streets. This debate has gone on for some time now between Public Works and residents that have live on these streets; some for decades. The Denver Public works has come up with a plan that involves taking out stop lights, between I-25 and Speer, replacing them with 4 way stop signs and adding extra stop signs (every 2 blocks), along with creating a designated bike lane on both streets. All done while keeping these two streets in their current one way configuration. This will be great short-term remedy for calming traffic and easing congestion on these narrow, neighborhood streets.
Having attended the West WashPark Neighborhood Association meeting some months back, with other residents living on these streets, we all got to hear from and speak with Councilman Nevitt and representatives of Public Works. At which time, we heard the explanations of the plan, timetable implementation of the plan and were asked our opinions and suggestions on the plan. It was unanimous among the residents that this plan was a fair and acceptable short-term fix for a long-term hope of a 2 way street conversion.
Here’s the way the plan will change S. Emerson and S. Washington Streets from I-25 to Speer:
1. A formal posting process by Public Works for the street lights must be implemented for 30 days.
2. The speed limit on both S. Emerson and S. Washington St. will be reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph.
3. All stop lights on both streets will be replaced by 4 way stop signs except for stop lights at intersections of Speer, Alameda and Buchtel.
4. There will be a 4 way stop sign every 2 blocks between Speer and I-25 on both streets.
5. Both S. Emerson and S. Washington Street will be designated bicycle streets by Public Works, (which will be striped with a bike lane after re-surfacing next summer).
6. Four way stop signs may be added by Public Works at the intersections of S. Emerson and Ohio St and S. Washington and Ohio St. to aid in higher pedestrian traffic at those intersections.
7. Public Works will re-evaluate the conversion back to 2 way streets after 5 years.
The formal posting of signs has already been done, see picture above. Stop lights, between Alameda and I-25, are planned on being removed from January into February and replaced with 4 way stop signs. (The process can be delayed a bit with snowstorms as the teams that take down these signs are also the teams that the plow our streets). The stop lights between Speer and Alameda are planned for removal February into March, to be replaced with 4 way stop signs. And again, these changes will not change the one way traffic flow of S. Emerson (north) and S. Washington (south) streets for at least perhaps 5 years .
Please keep these changes in mind as you travel on S. Emerson and S. Washington Streets in the future. The addition of bikes lanes to these streets is a particularly great step in helping bike commuters get to their destinations a bit safer and less hassle free. As a cyclist, I implore you to keep bicyclists safety in mind when travelling on, parking on or pulling out on to these two streets, or any street you travel that facilitates bicycle travel for that matter.
I’d like to thank the WWPNA for their diligence in making this transition come to fruition. I did use much of their editorial from the January – March 2010 newsletter as the facts for this post.
If you have any questions about this plan, please feel free to call or email me.
Kirk A Hartshorn email@example.com 720-244-5454 RIDE ON!
Perry & Co www.perryandco.com