Chris Jones Doesn’t Like That Intersection

His "Unfortunate Intersections" video series went viral

Chris Jones's expressive face helps to highlight safety problems in this screen shot from one of his videos.
Chris Jones's expressive face helps to highlight safety problems in this screen shot from one of his videos.

Above: the first episode of Chris Jones’ “Unfortunate Intersections” video series.

Denver’s streets are mean. And Chris Jones is shoving right back.

“I take an intersection I don’t like and rip it a new butthole,” he says with deadpan humor when introducing the pilot episode of his new YouTube series.

The subject of unsafe intersections sounds dull. But in his first video, which covered a pedestrian crossing at the University of Colorado hospital campus in Aurora, you can’t take your eyes off Jones as he sprinkles a pinch of wit and a dash of sarcasm — the perfect amount of salt — on top of a few principles of good street design.

And that pushed the video into the realm of local internet virality. The ensuing tweet storm even attracted the attention of Channel7 (but their version of the story didn’t pack the same punch).

Sure Jones’ shows some sass, but he only does it because he loves you (and he wants to make Denver a better place to live). He says he will use feedback from viewers to inform future episodes. “Then we can work together to change our streets. So we’re not like, you know, dying in them all the time.”

He brings attention to street safety at a critical time. The number of people killed on Denver’s streets last year jumped to 58, an unfortunate statistic that has been trending upward over the previous five years. The city also will finalize its Denveright plans this year — and they could include street design guidelines with significantly stronger pedestrian and bike safety requirements.

After Jones’ first video became a sensation, he offered a hint about the possible origins of his humor when he shared his mother’s reaction: “Maybe the hospital is just trying to drum up business!”

Streetsblog will share new episodes of his “Unfortunate Intersections” series as they become available. Below is his second video, which looks at an intersection near his home at 25th and Emerson.

  • Wranger

    You are so right! Great video highlighting a super crappy intersection, and I super duper appreciate how you point out that every a-hole driver going through this intersection then becomes a pedestrian, then becomes an a-hole driver again. Too often these conversations are drivers v. pedestrians/bicyclists but in fact DRIVERS ARE ALSO PEDESTRIANS (and often also bicyclists). One suggestion is to repurpose one lane on each side of 16th as protected, or at least buffered, bike lanes, rather than just getting rid of the lanes. Thanks!

  • TakeFive

    Didn’t get very far when Chris stated 16th ave should be two lanes b/c of Colfax and I thought “Wut?” Those two streets are in totally different ecospheres. I wouldn’t (though) have any idea of the traffic counts during peak times but should an RTD bus become disabled with only two lanes I could foresee a traffic disaster. Erroring on the side of caution with four lanes seems like a simple no-brainer to me.

    • Gavin Prangley

      Colfax is less than a block south of this intersection. The section of 16th in question is 4 lanes, yet it is contiguous for only 8 city blocks; it dead-ends at a park on one end and the VA hospital on the other.

      This intersection is already a traffic disaster, you’re just not thinking about pedestrian traffic as traffic.

      • TakeFive

        My recommendation would be for raised pedestrian crossings.

        Not sure the latest counts but now that the VA is open I’ll guess there’s about 25,000 employees at Fitz. The hospital now serves over a million patients a year. What would you guess the response would be if you called up Phil Anschutz and suggested creating a traffic mess in front of his beautiful hospital?

    • An RTD bus being disabled on E. 16th Ave. isn’t even a possibility because there’ are no RTD routes that use 16th Ave. Everything west of Colorado is on 17th Ave or Colfax. East of Colorado service moves up to 23rd Ave, then Montview.

      • TakeFive

        When did that change? When I did a Google street view I saw 2 buses, one going each way – and concrete bus pads at the subject intersection.

  • We have an unfortunate intersection in our neighborhood that could use your gimlet eye – 6th Avenue Parkway – two lanes each direction(east and westbound) intersect with a narrow 2-way residential street (northbound Clermont) and a northbound and southbound Clermont Street Parkway on the south portion of the intersection. For extra fun, add in schoolchildren walking to their middle school a block away (Hill) and their elementary school (Steck) a few blocks further on 5th Ave. Pedestrian Cross Walk and State Law Must Stop for Pedestrians signs are routinely IGNORED and if a vehicle does stop in one of the lanes, drivers in the other lane don’t and the stopped vehicle blocks visibility of any pedestrian — especially small children. Finally, there is a sidewalk (this is a small victory in the ‘hood) on Clermont but only on the westside of the street and it ends before the last house at the intersection so on snowy days the kids walk in the street. Nightmare intersection imo.

    • Chris Jones

      I do plan on addressing an intersection near a school at some point…this might be the perfect one.

  • Please consider commenting on 23rd and Franklin. We get many accidents, it is hard to see. One block over at 23rd and Humboldt there is a light. Almost no traffic on Humboldt and better sight lines. The light needs to be moved to 23rd and Franklin.

    • Chris Jones

      I agree! I live in that neighborhood and am also dumbfounded why the light is at Humboldt and not Franklin. Glad I’m not the only one!



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