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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Request a New Traffic Signal?

Denver Public Works continually reviews and evaluates traffic signal needs citywide. Generally, the public cannot request a traffic signal be installed at a specific location; however, they may request a traffic study that may lead to a new signal or signage.

Traffic signals can decrease accidents, improve traffic flow, and be an asset to a neighborhood or community. However, the installation of a traffic signal is not always the best solution for reducing congestion, collisions, or overall vehicle speeds. In some instances, we might see more accidents or more severe accidents after traffic signals are installed.

Traffic engineers consider the following questions in determining where to place traffic signals and signs:

  • Are there so many cars on both streets that signal controls are necessary to clear up the confusion or relieve the congestion?
  • Is the traffic on the main street so heavy that drivers on the side street will try to cross when it is unsafe?
  • Are there so many pedestrians trying to cross a busy main street that confusing, congested or hazardous conditions result?
  • Are there so many school children trying to cross the street at the same time that they need special controls for their protection? If so, is a traffic signal the best solution?
  • Are signals at this location going to help drivers maintain a uniform pace along the route without stopping unnecessarily?
  • Does the collision history indicate that signal controls will reduce the probability of collisions?
  • Do two arterials intersect at this location and will a signal help improve the flow of traffic?
  • Is there a combination of the above conditions which indicates that a signal will be an improvement rather than a detriment?

To help answer these questions, engineers compare the existing conditions (road classification, volume, pedestrian activity, etc.) against nationally accepted minimum guidelines. These guidelines, called "Warrants," are established in the Federal publication of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Through ordinance the City and County of Denver has adopted the use of the MUTCD.

 

 

New Traffic Signs

The City and County of Denver has developed guidelines for the installation of stop signs and all-way stops to ensure traffic controls are both necessary and appropriate for each area. Before a stop sign can be installed at an intersection, an investigation must be conducted. The location must be examined for pedestrian volumes, automobile traffic and frequency of accidents. The investigation will determine if a signal is “warranted” at that location according to the guidelines of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or MUTCD.

Stop signs can improve traffic safety when planned and used properly, but may also negatively impact neighborhoods by creating a nuisance for area residents while increasing noise and air pollution and not making the area safer. Drivers may ignore stop signs at intersections that have no apparent reason for them, or may speed up between intersections out of frustration in order to make up lost time.

The City and County of Denver is divided into “districts” managed by the City’s Transportation Engineers. Pursuant to your request and in the order in which it was received, the engineer managing the requested district will study the intersection to see if a stop sign is, in fact, warranted. Call 311 to contact the engineer for your area.

Call 3-1-1 or 720-865-4000 to report a sign that is missing or has been damaged.

Denver residents can request disability parking signs on the street adjacent to their property. Requests must be approved by the Commission for People with Disabilities.

See the application requirements from the Denver Office of Disability Rights or contact the office at 720-913-8480 Voice, or 720-913-8492 TTY.

The City of Denver will not install children playing signs in the public right of way, as Colorado law and federal standards do not recognize the use or effectiveness of these signs. Specific warnings for schools, playgrounds, parks and other recreational facilities are available for use where clearly justified.

Although some other states may post such signs in certain areas, no factual evidence has been presented to document their success in reducing pedestrian accidents, operating speeds or legal liability.

While we recognize parental concern for the safety of children in the areas near home, children should not be encouraged to play within roadways or the public right of way, and should learn safe ways to cross streets or retrieve their belongings when playing in yards or areas that may be close to streets or alleys.

The city only installs memorial signs for fatal traffic related accidents. Requests must be approved by the Denver District Attorney’s Office. Contact the D.A. Office at 720-913-9000.

The City and County of Denver does not install Dog Waste signs in the public right of way. Citizens may purchase and install Dog Waste signs on private property only.

Any other requests for traffic signs in the Public Right of Way must be sent to the Signs and Pavement Markings Engineer for approval and installation. Call 311 to reach the Signs and Pavement Markings Engineer.

Other Sign Requests

All requests for new pavement markings or changes to existing pavement markings are sent to a Signs and Pavement Markings Engineer for review of the request. Call 311 to contact Traffic Engineering Services to request a review of the area.

If a traffic sign is obstructed by tree branches, broken, knocked down, missing, hanging loose, etc.

During normal business hours:

Call 311 and ask to be connected to Traffic Engineering Dispatch.

Outside of normal business hours:

For problems with stop signs, yield signs and one-way signs, contact the Denver Police Department non-emergency line at 720-913-2000.

All other signs, call 311 and ask for TES Dispatch Voicemail.

All calls for police enforcement of an existing traffic sign should be transferred to Denver Police Departments Neighborhood Enforcement Team, 720-865-6905.

Stats & Figures: Of the more than 180 school zones in Denver, approximately 135 school zones are located at schools with elementary age students and include special school zone signs with speed limit reductions. Of the 135 schools, about 35 are located adjacent to higher volume arterial streets that use flashing beacons to alert drivers of a reduced school zone speed limit.

As of January 2011, Denver Traffic Engineering Services has installed 83 school zone flashing beacon assemblies, each with an initial installation cost of approximately $15,000. Additional school zone flashing beacon assemblies may be installed in the future, but only for new schools or restructured schools that offer classes to elementary age students and are located on higher volume arterial streets.

A traffic safety study that examines 1) traffic volume and pedestrian crossing data, 2) vehicle operating speeds, 3) recent accident history, 4) speed enforcement resources, 5) availability of controlled crosswalks, and 6) other special citizen concerns, must be conducted for each potential safety zone location. The City Traffic Engineer shall then determine what level of pedestrian activity and type of special roadway conditions merits the establishment of a safety zone at a non-school location. Since the safety zone designation was created in 1999, only five non-school locations have been established as special pedestrian safety zones. All five locations are adjacent to Denver Parks.