Residents of a north Boulder neighborhood have hit a dead end with the city in their efforts to get a stop sign, crosswalk or any other traffic-slowing measure installed at what they say is a "horrifically" dangerous intersection leading to a park.
But city officials say they've studied the site, and there's not nearly enough traffic at the Dakota Ridge intersection in question to warrant a stop sign or crosswalk.
Additionally, Bill Cowern, transportation operations engineer, said the city cut funding in 2003 for neighborhood traffic mitigation, such as speed bumps and traffic circles.
Alexandra Hodel said she and her neighbors in the Dakota Ridge subdivision have exhausted efforts to get the city to address their safety concern. She said the way the street curves near the neighborhood park, compounded with parked cars, makes it impossible -- especially for children -- to see if it is safe to cross the street near Fifth Street and Dakota Boulevard.
"With summer coming, kids are going to be running back and forth to the park -- and it's a death trap," Hodel said. "We're not asking them to move a mountain; we're asking for a reasonable way to keep our kids safe."
She said that nine children live in the three houses next to the intersection leading into the park, which the city built in the neighborhood a few years ago. Hodel -- who won't let her own 6-year-old daughter cross the street unless she's accompanying her -- raised additional concerns that there are several electric vehicles in the neighborhood, so it's hard for kids to even hear if a car is coming.
Cowern said the city has protocols -- both national and local -- that it follows when deciding whether to add stop signs and traffic mitigation.
One of the considerations for deciding whether to install a four-way stop is whether there is a large, steady amount of traffic. The other factor is whether there have been accidents that could have been avoided.
Transportation staff members, including Cowern, have made site visits to the Dakota Ridge neighborhood in response to the residents' concerns.
"There haven't been any accidents, and there's so little traffic," he said.
He said people have a tendency to run stop signs if they are in areas that aren't busy, which can pose even greater dangers.
"If you just put a random stop sign in the street, the first question people ask is, 'Why do I need to stop?'"
As for crosswalks, the city has two requirements: significant pedestrian activity and heavy enough motor vehicle traffic. Again, he said, the intersection in Dakota Ridge doesn't meet those standards.
For now, M'Lisa McKee, a mother of four who lives across the street from the park, puts out bright green crossing signs to alert motorists that there are children playing in the area.
McKee said many residents in the kid-dense neighborhood don't have backyards, so the park is the popular place for kids to play. She said she's witnessed too many close calls in the blind crossing.
"I don't want there to be an accident and then we fix the problem," she said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.