AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — There’s a sign of progress for a dangerous intersection at the center of a recent FOX31 Problem Solvers story.
Last month, FOX31 went to the city of Aurora and the Colorado Department of Transportation about a stretch of Havana Street, where homeowners told us their cries for help were going nowhere.
On Tuesday, instead of pleading to news cameras or a table of city council members, neighbors got the chance to physically walk officials through their daily fears, alongside the mayor of Aurora and engineers, over improvements along their stretch.
“No doubt there’s a problem, in terms of people speeding and not paying attention, but at the end of the day, it’s a bad design here,” Mayor Michael Coffman said.
What might be done at 4th and Havana?
In October, city and CDOT engineers brought up a plan for installing a traffic light at Fourth Way and Havana Street two years down the line once a development across the street is complete.
On Tuesday, after walking through the stretch with concerned neighbors, officials brought up another safety idea that could be implemented more quickly.
“We’ve looked at it again recently, and what we are planning to do is construct a turn island out of concrete,” Aurora’s Carlie Campuzano said.
Officials say they have budgeted to install a raised concrete island before Fourth and Havana in hopes of preventing more crashes into people’s homes. The timeline to install it should be in the fall or summer.
“In the meantime, we are going to try to do a turn island with stripping and maybe a couple delineators if we can put them in in a couple of months,” Campuzano said.
“I want different options. I’m not satisfied with this bandage,” neighbor Gladis Lewis said. “That’s not going to fix it and they know it.”
Barrier floated as idea, but officials concerned with safety
Lewis said the safety concerns stretch farther than just the intersection and she feels the solutions should too.
“The solution that we want, that I call better, is a barrier or a wall,” Lewis said.
Officials told FOX31 and neighbors that barriers would adversely impact safety, increasing the risk of more crashes and the severity of those crashes for drivers.
“We’ve got a lot volume on Havana here. If we put something out there to maybe protect one person or one small group, we end up endangering potentially a much larger group by putting a fixed object out there,” CDOT’s Tony Brindisi said to the group Tuesday. “It becomes a very hard question to answer for CDOT and Aurora.”
Ward IV Council Member Juan Marcano said he feels the neighbors’ safety in their homes should be the priority.
“It’s just the wrong priority we currently have,” Marcano said. “I’d like to see a permeant barrier here, a wall or trees, to make it safer. I don’t like that we have to wait for really problematic crash patterns to emerge for some action. I’d like us to be proactive rather than reactive.”
Lewis said she won’t stop fighting until short and long-term solutions are made for her community’s safety.
“I wouldn’t be here unless I really cared,” Coffman said.