Residents Frustrated by Speeding on Sheridan Boulevard

By Allen Cowgill

Kelsey Costales and her husband purchased their first ever home on Sheridan Boulevard just south of 38th Avenue in the summer of 2020 because they wanted to be in the neighborhood and the home was affordable.

Since then, Costales has experienced frustration with excessive speeding on the road and frequent accidents, sometimes destroying the fences and property of neighbors. Costales also mentioned how unfriendly the street is for pedestrians.

“You can’t really walk two people side by side,” she said. “You don’t really feel super safe walking a dog, and now we are expecting a child and I’ve said to my husband many times, ‘How are we going to walk this kid?’”

With their first child on the way, Costales has upped her effort to make the street safer. She recently delivered letters to 125 neighbors along the street to build a coalition focused on safety improvements.

“I’ve spoken with dozens of homeowners and renters in the 10 blocks south of me, and there is a common theme—why won’t they do anything about this?” she said. “It feels as though there’s a lack of accountability from CDOT, Denver, and Wheat Ridge/Jefferson County to keep the residents safe.”

A lot of neighbors agreed to help and wanted to know what they could do. Living on the west side of the road, Costales reached out to Wheat Ridge police. She said they were empathetic but cited a lack of resources to dedicate time to patrol the small stretch of road that borders the city.

Costales suggested they implement speed cameras, something she has seen in other cities that she has lived in. The Wheat Ridge Police told her they were unable to implement them because of current Colorado laws.

She also reached out to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), which controls Sheridan Boulevard as Colorado State Highway 95, and requested that safety improvements be made.

Vehicles drive by at night along Sheridan Boulevard near 38th Avenue. Photo by Eric Heinz

Luke Kroack lives on the Denver side, one block off of Sheridan on Zenobia Street. He was one of the people that connected with Costales. He often hears vehicles speeding down Sheridan. He moved to the residential street hoping to find a quiet location that would be good for his two kids, ages six and eight.

Recent construction on Sheridan has spilled cut-through traffic onto his street. He has also expressed frustration with drivers speeding. Frustrated residents will be excited to hear that improvements may be coming in the future.

“CDOT is looking into safety and multi-modal improvements on Sheridan from 26th Avenue to I-70,” CDOT Spokesperson Tamara Rollinson said. “We are in the early stages of this process to conceptualize what those improvements would look like. Our goal is to improve transportation for all users while minimizing right-of-way impacts. Among the improvements would be ADA compliant sidewalks among other safety features.”

CDOT has also made some recent improvements with a new traffic signal, ramp, signage, and sidewalks near Sheridan and I-70. Further south, the city of Edgewater released details in September on a Multimodal Corridor Plan for Sheridan between 17th Avenue and 26th Avenue that includes potential traffic calming, additional crosswalks, and a new landscaped median.

Denver Police Department officials said they use speeding photo enforcement vans on a weekly basis along northbound Sheridan Boulevard. Their traffic enforcement officers in regular patrol cars have not written any electronic tickets for speeding between Colfax and 52nd Avenue this year on northbound Sheridan. A search of court records could not verify if any paper tickets were written by officers in patrol cars by The Denver North Star’s print deadline.

Jill Locantore, the executive director for the Denver Streets Partnership, a local nonprofit advocacy group for safer streets, said she is not surprised by people frustrated over speeding on Sheridan. She said the street is on Denver’s high-injury network and is designed for speed, not safety.

Locantore said dedicated transit lanes may improve safety on the corridor in the long term by calming traffic. The street has been identified in Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure in their Denver Moves Transit planning as a Bus Priority Corridor, so enhancements could be on the way.

Locantore mentioned that the Denver Streets Partnership and Bicycle Colorado are lobbying for modernizing Colorado’s laws around automated speed enforcement to allow for permanently installed cameras that enforce the speed limit, which are not allowed today.

Right now, cities like Denver and Wheat Ridge can’t use automated speed cameras on streets like Sheridan. Denver can only use DPD’s photo enforcement van, which state law requires to be staffed. Locantore also highlighted there are not many safe places to park the photo enforcement van along the road. She mentioned that cities like Washington, D.C. have used automated speed cameras as a tool to get drivers to go the speed limit.

She said permanent speed cameras are much more effective than police giving out tickets or having the photo enforcement van there for a few days because speed cameras work at all times.

“The data shows very clearly that it reduces speeding, it reduces crashes, it reduces injuries, and what happens is most people get a ticket once, or maybe twice, and then they know if (they) go over the speed limit on that street, they are going to get a ticket,” Locantore said. “And so you see very few people getting repeat tickets. Which is, again, the intended outcome. Our goal is not to be punishing people but to have them engage in safe behavior in the first place.”

Locantore said her organization isn’t looking for officer-initiated enforcement, but rather to make people more mindful of speed limits.


1 Comment

  1. Yes It’s bad everywhere . Sheridan is a narrow st from@ 20th to @44th .I live off 26th. don’t drive on sher. much avoid hi traffic st’s . I’ve seen a guy popping a wheely from before 26th up the hill but seen that on I 70 mountains ! 80 90 mi. per hr . So there any place to put the solar speed things up? This may not be the right county . I lived off colfax & simms for 20 yrs . the lights from 6th to alemeda have these 1 side turns on goes straight while 3 sides sit. The old way was turn on BOTH sides goes then forward. I think that cause more congestion . I know there;s a hell of a lot more cars and bad drivers compared to when I 1st started driving my “55” Chevy Sedan delivery from 1660 Zenobia to friends on 6th and Newton .

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