AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A dangerous intersection has neighbors turning to the FOX31 Problem Solvers for help. Aurora residents said their pleas to both the city and the Colorado Department of Transportation are going nowhere and they want something done before someone gets killed.

Where East 4th Way meets Havana Street different colored fence posts surrounding the corner home are not a design by choice. 

“Last year they hit our fence on a snow day, we replaced it then two weeks later they hit the fence again,” Ernesto Hernandez said. 

Hernadez’s home has been hit by so many cars they installed cameras to better show the problem. One crash captured shows his dog narrowly missed when a car goes through the fence.

In February, another car went through the fence and through their brick home, landing in his sister’s bedroom where she was inside.

“We tried to work with the city and CDOT and it’s not doing anything,” Hernandez said. “Until there’s a death, maybe you’ll do something.”

“I don’t want to die,” Gladis Lewis said. 

Lewis has been fighting for her and her neighbor’s safety showing the FOX31 Problem Solvers pictures of additional homes hit down the Havana stretch and people with walkers trying to navigate crossing the road without a crosswalk.

“I am asking for a wall, a safety wall, and I’m asking also for a barrier from 4th Way to 6th since Havana is a highway,” Lewis said. “It’s not a typical little road. It’s a highway.”

Lewis said she’s voiced her requests to Aurora, the city council and CDOT but she feels like she’s just getting the runaround.

“Between one and another, it’s no one is responsible, but we definitely have an issue,” Lewis said. “We are just sick and tired of feeling like we’re in limbo.”

Neighbors are frustrated with the lack of big action taken. They look at workshops shared by Aurora online, dating back to 2004, and see suggestions for changes like trees planted on the street to serve as buffers. They don’t understand why nothing like these trees suggested has been implemented.

CDOT and the city told FOX31 they are working together on addressing safety on this stretch, both providing statements.

Colorado Department of Transportation statement

CDOT’s number one priority is always safety.  Our traffic engineers work closely with our local agency partners and communities to determine the best solutions for safety.  

There is no blame game. Aurora and CDOT are working very well together regarding safety improvements near the intersection of 6th and Havana along East Fourth Way in Aurora. CDOT and Aurora traffic engineers have met on several occasions with both local officials as well as residents who wanted to have their concerns heard.  Those were productive discussions, which established a good understanding of what would work and not work regarding safety improvements.  

While concrete barriers were brought up as a potential safety improvement, the barriers would adversely impact safety, increasing the risk of more crashes and the severity of those crashes.

We have implemented several safety measures, including more signage, robust striping, flashing lights, etc.  Aurora has also implemented several safety improvements.  In addition, we are still working on some conceptual options to improve the corner in question in a more robust way, but this is not a quick implementation.  Finally, a signal is anticipated to be installed within the next couple of years due to a development on the West side of Havana.  This signal and its geometric modifications to the roadway will greatly improve safety. 

 The biggest safety issue is poor driver behavior with motorists speeding, driving distracted or driving recklessly.  We will continue to do all that we can with the resources available to improve safety while also working closely with Aurora and the community.  

CDOT

What the City of Aurora said about the intersection

The city of Aurora and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) staff have been working very closely together to evaluate this location for safety improvements over the last two years. Staff from both agencies take residents’ safety concerns very seriously and have met on several occasions and thoroughly reviewed crash data.  We have explored numerous ideas to improve safety, and staff have implemented multiple safety improvements as appropriate.

City and CDOT staff also held a joint public meeting in June 2022 which was attended by an Aurora City Councilmember Ruben Medina, city of Aurora Staff, CDOT staff, and neighborhood attendees who wanted to have their concerns heard.  We discussed numerous questions, concerns and suggested actions with the affected residents.  The main request heard at that time was for installation of physical barriers to obstruct errant vehicles from leaving the roadway.

Aurora’s and CDOT’s decisions regarding introduction of fixed objects adjacent to roadways need to be in the best interest of the traveling public as well as those adjacent to the roadway. When considering such requests, crash patterns are evaluated as well as ability to install appropriate measures in a way to mitigate identified patterns. Police reports and information submitted by constituents are used to quantify crash frequency and patterns. 

It should also be noted that this intersection is planned for signalization in the next couple of years as part of an adjacent development which is being constructed on the west side of this intersection. A traffic signal will change the characteristics of the intersection and further enhance visibility of the roadway geometry. The exact timeline for the signal is unknown since the project is development-driven.

Havana Street is one of the most vital roadways in Aurora, connecting corridor residents to the surrounding community and other major transportation corridors in the city and region. The city conducted the Havana Street Corridor Study to create a vision and plan for better safety and mobility for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and motorists, recognizing the needs of Aurora’s residents, businesses, visitors and traveling public. We are currently implementing best practices from the results of the study and we appreciate everyone’s patience in our ongoing efforts to improve the corridor.

City of Aurora

The Problem Solvers will stay on this story to find out how the city and state transportation department handle the complaints of the dangerous intersection.