#StreetFail: Drivers Can Now Blast Right Down 19th Ave at Sherman Street without Stopping

Two crashes. Two cars on the sidewalk. Two schools nearby. This intersection is screaming for two more stop signs.

A crash at 19th and Sherman on June 18. Photo: Ameir Mobasheri
A crash at 19th and Sherman on June 18. Photo: Ameir Mobasheri

It took six years, but Denver Public Works finally gave 19th Avenue a road diet in April, slimming it down from a one-way speedway into a two-way street with bike lanes. The project calms traffic and should makee biking and walking safer. On most parts of the street.

But if you’re crossing at 19th and Sherman Street, you probably don’t feel any safer, because motorists can now blast through an intersection where traffic lights once slowed them down. This dangerous setup is one block from an elementary school and a high school.

sherman sidewalk car
Today’s crash at 19th and Sherman. Photo: Ameir Mobasheri

These photos are from two separate crashes. One took place this morning, the other on June 18. Both incidents ended up with multi-ton hunks of metal landing where people walk and stand. No one was seriously hurt in either crash, according to Denver Police Department.

Streetsblog reader and Bike Denver staffer Ameir Mobasheri sent us both sets of photos. “Without a stop sign on 19th, I predict more collisions from people poking their nose out to see down the intersection,” Mobasheri wrote back in June. Fast forward a couple months and Mobasheri’s premonition of another crash is now reality.

Four-way traffic lights used to control the intersection of 19th and Sherman, but the redesign called for their removal. DPW replaced the lights on Sherman with stop signs, but Mayor Michael Hancock’s streets agency didn’t replace the lights on 19th with anything.

Pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers could have easily been badly hurt, or worse. Two crashes. Two cars on the sidewalk. Two schools nearby. This intersection is screaming for two more stop signs, and it should take days, not months or years.

  • MT

    2 or 3 more crashes this year should satisfy the warrants that engineers will want to justify installing a stop sign.

    From the MUTCD Multi-Way Stop Warrants.

    The following criteria should be considered in the engineering study for a multi-way STOP sign installation:
    B. Five or more reported crashes in a 12-month period that are susceptible to correction by a multi-way stop installation. Such crashes include right-turn and left-turn collisions as well as right-angle collisions.

    I’d say this one would cover doing it now, not waiting for more crashes.

    C. Locations where a road user, after stopping, cannot see conflicting traffic and is not able to negotiate the intersection unless conflicting cross traffic is also required to stop

    https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009r1r2/part2/part2b.htm

  • TakeFive

    So… all of the traffic calming for safety actually made things worse? How nice!

    • internetpoints

      Yes some traffic calming features were added to 19th, but I think it was a 4 way stop converted to a 2 way stop. The opposite of traffic calming. Plus it’s bad for drivers too – there is a half-block backup heading north on Sherman at rush hour every day, so I’m sure something will be done soon.

      • TakeFive

        I’d assume they wanted to unplug traffic flow along 19th but perhaps not the best of ideas. 🙂

        Btw, the italic print is used to indicate either sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek.

  • internetpoints

    I commute on this every day on bike – good catch that a stop sign or something creative is needed. Sherman could really use traffic calming/woonerf features from there south across the state house grounds. Drivers entering or exiting the giant parking garages on both sides of Sherman at the Wells Fargo building are a constant threat. Based on behavior I assume most are beginning or ending stressful commutes.

  • Tim Hoover

    I knew this intersection would be a problem. It is also hugely dangerous for cyclists.

  • Joe

    I also bike through this hot mess of an intersection daily. More than a few times I’ve been stopped at the stop sign and drivers on 19th stop their vehicles even though they don’t have a stop sign. Also, there needs to be pedestrian crossing markings going across 19th.

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