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Transportation & Traffic Services

Denver Public Works’ Transportation Division develops, reviews, evaluates, implements, and supports the design of transportation system improvements. The division also provides review services for private and public projects to determine conformity with transportation system standards and citywide planning documents, and for potential impact and mitigation measures for the community, neighborhoods, and the system as a whole.

Please contact us via 311 or Pocketgov so your request can be tracked for response and resolution. 

  • If you need a police response to an emergency, call 911
  • If you would like immediate contact or response by the Denver Police Department, or to file a police report, please call the non-emergency line at 720-913-2000.

Transportation engineering deals with the planning, geometric design and traffic operations of the public right-of-way including roads, sidewalks, intersections, bike facilities and other key pieces of our multimodal infrastructure.

This is done in consideration of the larger network, adjacent land uses and relationship between different modes of transportation for the achievement of safe, efficient and convenient movement of people and goods.

Transportation engineering applies engineering principles that help solve transportation problems by considering the psychology and habits of the transportation system users.

Many people ask why Denver Public Works cannot just install a traffic signal, or raise/lower the speed limit, or erect more signs? The reason for this is because Denver Public Works strongly believes in collecting data and fully analyzing the potential transportation issue before determining the appropriate method to address any issues. Sometimes a sign or signal is the appropriate solution. However, often, our data and engineering analysis may determine that no action is required or a different action than was originally suggested is the best path forward.

It is DPW’s goal to ensure appropriate and effective measures are taken to address the transportation challenges our City faces, following the guidance of FHWA’s guidelines, CDOT, Denver Public Works’ own policies and guidelines and best practices from around the country.

Source: Adapted from https://www.azdot.gov/business/engineering-and-construction/traffic/faq)

Traffic control devices are signs, signals, markings and devices placed on, or adjacent to, a street or highway by a public body having authority to regulate, warn or guide traffic.

Examples

  • Traffic signals
  • Stop signs
  • Pavement markings and signs at crossings

Denver Public Works follows the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices which is a publication of the Federal Highway Administration that sets forth the basic principles that govern the design and usage of traffic control devices. The manual was prepared by a national committee that included state, county and municipal representation. The standards in this manual, with certain exceptions, apply to all streets and highways regardless of the government agency having jurisdiction.

Uniformity and consistency in transportation engineering is critical to the work and services Denver Public Works provides. Uniformity in transportation engineering simplifies the drivers' tasks by aiding in instant recognition and understanding. Uniformity aids police, courts and road users by giving everyone the same interpretation. 

Source: Adapted from https://www.azdot.gov/business/engineering-and-construction/traffic/faq

The primary purpose of speed limits is to enhance safety by reducing risks imposed by drivers speed choices. The intent is to reduce disparities in speeds and reduce the potential for vehicle conflicts. Established speed limits also provide the basis for enforcement and sanctions for those who drive at speeds too fast for the conditions and endanger others.

Reducing speed limits does not automatically slow the speed of traffic nor does raising it automatically cause an increase in the speed of traffic. Before and after speed studies show that there are no significant changes in vehicle speeds after speed limits are changed. Traffic investigations have shown that most people will drive the roadway as they perceive the conditions and will ignore the speed limit that is unrealistically too low or too high. A realistic speed limit is voluntarily obeyed by the reasonable majority and more enforcement can be applied to the unreasonable few who drive too fast or too slow.

Denver Public Works also recognizes that speed management is a critical component of Vision Zero because it is one of the most influential factors in crash severity and frequency. As a result, DPW is focused on ensuring that the above traffic engineering logic is applied in a context-sensitive, systemic approach. As part of Denver’s Vision Zero program, DPW, in partnership with DPD and CDOT is working towards creating a speed management program that will develop a clear and consistent approach to speed data collection, street design, and automated and manual speed enforcement. Learn more at: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/vision-zero/reduce-speed.html.

Source: Adapted from the CDOT Speed Limit brochure

The fundamental goal of traffic-calming is to reduce the speed of vehicular movement to help create “a kind of equilibrium among all of the uses of a street, so no one mode can dominate at the expense of another.” (FHWA Course) There are three main tools that can be employed to address traffic calming and improve multimodal safety. They include:

  • Engineering: Implementing engineering improvements to the public right-of-way such as bulb-outs, traffic circles, and road diets is one of three tools that can help with traffic calming, particularly on neighborhood streets.
  • Enforcement: The Denver Police Department plays an important role in enforcing the rules of the road, including speed limits and compliance with traffic signals and signs. To request more enforcement, you can contact 3-1-1 or Denver Police Departments Neighborhood Enforcement Team, 720-865-6905.
  • Education: We all play a role in improving traffic safety throughout Denver. Denver Public Works strongly encourages neighborhood organizations and other groups talk about traffic safety on a regular basis and brainstorm new and creative ways to help foster a sense of safety in each and every neighborhood. Many council representatives provide yard signs to interested parties, encouraging motorists to slow down. Contact your council representative to learn more.

Other City programs that seek to improve multimodal safety and integrate traffic calming:

Street Lighting

Street lights or lamps along roadways are intended to improve safety and visibility. Depending on its location, a street light may be installed and maintained by Denver Public Works, CDOT, RTD, Xcel Energy, or private property owners. To report a problem with a street light, contact 3-1-1.


Sign requests

Disability Parking Sign: 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.

Children Playing Sign: 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.

Memorial Sign: 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.


Safety Zones

Safety zones are designated as such using traffic signs, traffic control devices, or both, to indicate the start and end of the zone. Traffic fines double in safety zones.

School Zones: There are more than 180 school zones within Denver to provide a safe environment for school age children to walk and/or bike to and from their neighborhood school. Denver Public Works has posted warning signs, regulatory signs, and in some cases flashing beacons to alert drivers to the presence of school zones in accordance with local and national regulations. Zones located near higher volume arterials streets use flashing beacons to alert drivers of reduced speed limits.

Denver's Safe Routes to School (SRTS)

Non-School Safety Zones: In areas where there is a higher volume of pedestrian traffic, additional special safety zones have been implemented to increase driver awareness. There are currently several safety zones adjacent to Denver parks including Eastmoor Park, Harvey Park, Platt Park, Sloan’s Lake Park, and Washington Park.

 

About Traffic Control (Signals, Stop Signs, Crosswalks, Markings)


PURPOSE: A correctly designed traffic signal in the proper location can decrease accidents and improve the flow of traffic. They are used by Denver Public Works (DPW) when large numbers of users are moving in multiple directions through an intersection. When installed under conditions that justify its use, traffic signals are valuable devices for improving safety and efficiency for all modes and users of an intersection.

However, traffic signals should be used only where lesser forms of control have proven ineffective. This is because signals can potentially cause more rear-end related crashes, cause excessive delays, disobedience of signals and diversion of traffic to inadequate alternate routes. Traffic signals are also much costlier to design and install than other intersection control measures.

WHEN DOES DPW INSTALL THESE?: New traffic signals are installed during street improvement projects and when engineer analysis supports the need for a new signal. Criteria DPW engineers look at when determining if a traffic signal is warranted include:

  • Whether or not volumes on intersecting streets are resulting in unsafe driver behavior and/or creating significant congestion
  • Number of pedestrian and bicyclists crossing at the intersection
  • Intersection relationship with the rest of the corridor and whether or not a signal will help with flow of traffic
  • Crash history/pattern at this intersection that a signal can help to address

 

SIGNAL SERVICE REQUESTS: You can request traffic signal services by calling 311 or entering a request online at www.denvergov.org/pocketgov. Please identify the specific location of the traffic signal request, including a specific corner if applicable (i.e. NE corner), and describe the specific problem (i.e. all lights out, red out, pedestrian signal out, need a signal, etc.). A case will be created in the tracking system and you should receive a case number for this issue. To track the status of your request, keep your case number. You can call 311 after the expected time has passed to check in on the status of your request, providing your case number to the 311 agent. If you would like to receive email updates about your case, please provide your email address when you submit your request.

 RESPONSE TIME

  • Light is out/malfunctioning/broken: 2 hours
  • Analysis*: 4-12 weeks
  • Signal timing change: 6-8 weeks
  • New Signal: 2+ years (if warranted)**

*Analysis may vary depending on time of year, availability of count data, and capacity.
**Implementation is dependent upon funding and programming

PURPOSE: Stop signs notify drivers that they must come to a complete stop and proceed when appropriate to do so. The primary purpose is to assign right-of-way at an intersection, not control speeding. When used properly and selectively, stop signs can improve traffic safety.

However, misuses and over use of all-way stops can negatively impact neighborhoods by amplifying aggressive and reckless driving. Drivers can get frustrated by having to stop too often, resulting in drivers running stop signs and/or accelerating excessively in-between signs to make up for lost time.

WHEN DOES DPW INSTALL THESE? Denver Public Works has developed guidelines for the installation of stop signs and all-way stop control to ensure traffic controls are both necessary and appropriate for each intersection. Criteria engineers use to determine whether or not a stop sign or all-way stop is warranted include:

  • A traffic signal is not warranted at the intersection
  • Similar traffic volumes on intersecting streets
  • Traffic volumes meet minimum vehicle volume requirements
  • Number of pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the intersection
  • Direct proximity to schools and/or parks
  • Crash history/pattern that an all-way stop can help to mitigate
  • Relationship to other traffic control devices (signals and stops signs) in the area

SIGNAL SERVICE REQUESTS: You can request a stop sign/all-way stop analysis by calling 311 or entering a request online at www.denvergov.org/pocketgov. Please identify the specific location of the intersection request and reason for requesting. A case will be created in the tracking system and you should receive a case number for this issue. To track the status of your request, keep your case number. You can call 311 after the expected time has passed to check in on the status of your request, providing your case number to the 311 agent. If you would like to receive email updates about your case, please provide your email address when you submit your request.

 RESPONSE TIME:

  • Maintenance/graffiti removal: 2 hours
  • Analysis for new all-way stop: 4-12 weeks*
  • New Stop-Sign install: 6-16 weeks

*Analysis may vary depending on time of year, availability of count data, and workloads. 

PURPOSE: The Colorado Vehicle Code says that a crosswalk exists at all intersections unless pedestrian crossing is prohibited by signs. Some of these are marked with painted lines but many are not. Painted pedestrian crosswalks with parallel white lines are intended to encourage pedestrians to use particular crossings while also alerting drivers and other users that crossings are likely to occur. Some crosswalk locations also have signage, signaling, raised medians and/or bulb-outs to improve safety at the crossing. 

WHEN DOES DPW INSTALL THESE? Denver Public Works has developed guidelines for when and where crosswalks are appropriate for installation. Criteria engineers use to determine whether or not a crosswalk is appropriate include:

  • What traffic control exists at the intersection (stop sign or traffic signal)
  • During an average day there are 20 or more pedestrian crossings in an hour
  • Proximity to vulnerable user destinations (schools, parks, hospitals)
  • Pedestrian-involved crash history at the intersection
  • Distance to nearest enhanced crossing (must be >330)
  • Accessible ramps are existing at the crossing

Please reference DPW’s Uncontrolled Pedestrian Crossing Guidelines (PDF) for more information on crosswalk markings and other crossing considerations and guidelines.

CROSSWALK REQUESTS: You can request a crosswalk analysis by calling 311 or entering a request online at www.denvergov.org/pocketgov. Please identify the specific location of the intersection request and reason for requesting. A case will be created in the tracking system and you should receive a case number for this issue. To track the status of your request, keep your case number. You can call 311 after the expected time has passed to check in on the status of your request, providing your case number to the 311 agent. If you would like to receive email updates about your case, please provide your email address when you submit your request.

RESPONSE TIME:

  • Maintenance: 2-4 weeks
  • Analysis for new signs and/or markings: 4-12 weeks*
  • Install for new signs and/or markings: 6-16 weeks

*Analysis may vary depending on time of year, availability of count data, and workloads. 

 

PURPOSE: Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) and High-Intensity Activated crosswalk beacon (HAWK) are two types of crosswalk signals that Denver Public Works (DPW) implements to facilitate pedestrian crossings. They are typically placed in locations where large numbers of pedestrians or vulnerable pedestrians cross a street (mid-block or at an intersection).

WHEN DOES DPW INSTALL THESE? Denver Public Works reviews the following criteria to determine if a crosswalk signal is appropriate at a specific crosswalk. Specific criteria DPW examines includes:

  • A full signal is not necessary or warranted
  • Speeds are >30mph
  • During peak times, 20 or more pedestrian crossings an hour
  • Pedestrian-involved crash history at the intersection
  • Distance to nearest enhanced crossing (must be >300ft)
  • RRFB: no more than 2 lanes of traffic in each direction (preferably 1 lane in each direction)

Please reference DPW’s Uncontrolled Pedestrian Crossing Guidelines (PDF) for more information on where RRFBs are applicable.

CROSSWALK SIGNAL REQUESTS: You can request a crosswalk signal analysis by calling 311 or entering a request online at www.denvergov.org/pocketgov. Please identify the specific location of the intersection request and reason for requesting. A case will be created in the tracking system and you should receive a case number for this issue. To track the status of your request, keep your case number. You can call 311 after the expected time has passed to check in on the status of your request, providing your case number to the 311 agent. If you would like to receive email updates about your case, please provide your email address when you submit your request.

RESPONSE TIME:

  • Maintenance of existing RRFBs: 2 hours
  • Analysis for new RRFB request: 4-8 weeks*
  • New RRFB: 6 months to 2+ years (if meets criteria)**


*Analysis may vary depending on time of year, availability of count data, and workloads.

**Implementation is dependent upon funding and programming. 

PURPOSE: Pavement markings include turn arrows and lane dividing long white or yellow lines. 

WHEN DOES DPW INSTALL THESE? Pavement marking requests are routed to the appropriate Denver Public Works staff depending on whether the request is for maintenance of existing markings or if it is for new markings. New markings may require engineering analysis to determine what pavement markings, if any, are most appropriate. Different criteria will be evaluated depending on the pavement marking being requested.

PAVEMENT MARKING REQUESTS: You can request new pavement markings or repairs by calling 311 or entering a request online at www.denvergov.org/pocketgov. Please identify the specific location of request and a detailed explanation of why you are submitting a request. A case will be created in the tracking system and you should receive a case number for this issue. To track the status of your request, keep your case number. You can call 311 after the expected time has passed to check in on the status of your request, providing your case number to the 311 agent. If you would like to receive email updates about your case, please provide your email address when you submit your request.

 RESPONSE TIME:

  • Maintenance of existing markings: 2-4 weeks
  • Analysis for new pavement markings request: 4-6 weeks
  • Implementation (if appropriate): 6-8 weeks

PURPOSE: Speed bumps/humps are raised bumps across the roadway that cars must cross at lower speeds.

DENVER PUBLIC WORKS DOES NOT INSTALL SPEED BUMPS/HUMPS. 

Denver Public Works does not utilize speed humps/bumps for traffic calming. It has been determined that there are other measures that are more effective with fewer negative impacts to the community, including challenges for emergency vehicles, noise, cost to frequent users of the roadway, and street maintenance.

 
 

Event Permits

Find information for Public Works permits relating to 

See additional right of way permit info at denvergov.org/pwpermits
Information for event organizers at denvergov.org/specialevents


Community Streets Program

A Public Works program for community organizations interested in installing temporary projects on city streets to promote community building, enhance aesthetics, and create an enriched pedestrian environment. Learn more »

 

Park Smart Denver

For parking permits, meter information, traffic counts, and strategic parking plans, visit ParkSmartDenver.com