Traffic Update: Denver Explores Installing Large Roundabout at CPB and MLK

roundaboutThe traffic on Central Park Blvd. and Martin Luther King Blvd. continues to increase, and this becomes more and more evident as accidents on the corner pile up and traffic continues to congest, especially during peak hours. “If you are near that corner around 5PM, bring a book,” says resident Steve Mason. “It is ridiculous how long you have to wait. Plus, there are people who don’t understand the rules of turning onto a one way, so that makes the wait even more painful.”

Of course, other times during the day, drivers try to speed through yellow or even red lights at the corner in fear of being trapped there another six minutes. Which, of course, has been the cause of several accidents. “I see people texting and missing the second light all the time,” says resident Luke Johnson. “I’m actually surprised there aren’t more accidents.” One of the reasons there aren’t more accidents at MLK and CPB, is that those drivers will sometimes get into accidents at MLK and Quebec before getting to Central Park Blvd.

Due to the increased traffic danger and frustrations of drivers, Denver traffic engineers are exploring the possibility of constructing a large roundabout to control traffic flow, and mitigate long waits. “This is in the very early stages,” says Denver traffic engineer Ryan Nielson. “We are studying the traffic patterns and looking at the success and failures of other large roundabouts around the country.” Nielson says that a roundabout may help with flow but also help people pay attention more at the busy corner. “When people see a roundabout, they don’t want to mess it up,” says Nielson. So, they are more likely to pay attention, put their phones down, and focus. This may make it safer than the lights where people aren’t looking around or as focused.”

Nielson goes on to say that if a roundabout is installed, it won’t be a typical roundabout. “We are looking at plans of putting a playground and a pool in the middle of it,” says Nielson. “We want to keep a Stapleton feel to the intersection.” The exploratory team will have their recommendations on the subject by late summer of 2015. “If we see a major benefit to constructing the roundabout, we will do it. But again, we are very early in the process.”

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