Aurora’s house crashed 6 times in 2 years

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – A dangerous intersection has neighbors turning to FOX31 problem solvers for help. Aurora residents said their appeals to the city and the Colorado Department of Transportation are going nowhere and they want something done before someone is killed.

Where East 4th Way meets Havana Street, different colored fence posts surrounding the corner house is not a design by choice.

“Last year they hit our fence on a snowy day, we replaced it, then two weeks later they hit the fence again,” said Ernesto Hernandez.

Hernadez’s house was hit by so many cars that they installed cameras to better show the problem. An accident captured shows his dog narrowly missing him when a car smashes through the fence.

In February, another car drove through the fence and through their brick house, landing in her sister’s bedroom where she was inside.

“We’ve tried to work with the city and CDOT and it doesn’t work,” Hernandez said. “Until there is a death, maybe you will do something.”

“I don’t want to die,” Gladis Lewis said.

Lewis fought for his safety and that of his neighbor by showing FOX31 Problem Solvers photos of additional homes hit in the Havana stretch and of people with walkers trying to navigate across the road without a crosswalk.

“I’m asking for a wall, a security wall, and I’m also asking for a barrier from 4th to 6th since Havana is a freeway,” Lewis said. “It’s not a typical back road. It’s a highway.

Lewis said she made her demands to Aurora, the city council and CDOT, but felt like she was just getting carried away.

“Between each other, no one is responsible, but we definitely have a problem,” Lewis said. “We’re just sick of feeling like we’re in limbo.”

Neighbors are frustrated by the lack of big action taken. They watch workshops shared by Aurora online, dating back to 2004, and see suggestions for changes like trees planted in the street to act as buffers. They don’t understand why nothing like these suggested trees has been implemented.

CDOT and the city told FOX31 they are working together to improve safety on this stretch, both providing statements.

Colorado Department of Transportation Statement

CDOT’s number one priority is always safety. Our traffic engineers work closely with our local partner agencies and communities to determine the best safety solutions.

There is no blame game. Aurora and CDOT are working very well together when it comes to safety improvements near the intersection of 6th and Havana along the fourth lane east in Aurora. Traffic engineers from CDOT and Aurora met several times with local authorities as well as residents who wanted to voice their concerns. These were productive discussions, which established a good understanding of what would and would not work when it comes to improving safety.

Although concrete barriers were mentioned as a potential safety improvement, barriers would have a negative impact on safety, increasing the risk of additional crashes and the severity of those crashes.

We have implemented several safety measures including more signage, heavy duty strips, flashing lights, etc. Aurora has also implemented several security enhancements. Also, we’re still working on some design options to improve the corner in question in a more robust way, but it’s not a quick implementation. Finally, a signal should be installed in the next two years due to a development on the west side of Havana. This signal and its geometric modifications of the roadway will greatly improve safety.

The biggest safety issue is poor driver behavior with speeding, distracted driving or reckless driving. We will continue to do everything we can with available resources to improve security while working closely with Aurora and the community.


What the City of Aurora Said About the Intersection

The City of Aurora and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) staff have worked closely to assess this location for improved safety over the past two years. Staff from both agencies take residents’ safety concerns very seriously and have met several times and thoroughly reviewed accident data. We explored many ideas to improve security, and staff implemented several security enhancements where appropriate.

City and CDOT staff also held a joint town hall meeting in June 2022 attended by Aurora City Council member Ruben Medina, City of Aurora staff, CDOT staff, and participants from the neighborhood who wanted to voice their concerns. We discussed many questions, concerns and suggested actions with affected residents. The main request heard at the time was for the installation of physical barriers to prevent errant vehicles from leaving the roadway.

Aurora’s and CDOT’s decisions regarding the introduction of fixed objects adjacent to roadways shall be in the best interests of the traveling public as well as those adjacent to the roadway. When reviewing such requests, crash patterns are assessed as well as the ability to put in place appropriate measures to mitigate identified patterns. Police reports and information submitted by voters are used to quantify crash frequency and patterns.

It should also be noted that this intersection is slated for signage within the next two years as part of an adjacent development that is being built on the west side of this intersection. A traffic light will change the characteristics of the intersection and further improve the visibility of the pavement geometry. The exact timeline of the signal is unknown as the project is focused on development.

Havana Street is one of Aurora’s most vital roads, connecting corridor residents to the surrounding community and other major transportation corridors in the city and region. The city conducted the Havana Street Corridor Study to create a vision and plan for improved safety and mobility for pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and motorists, recognizing the needs of residents, businesses, visitors and the traveling public of Aurora. We are currently implementing best practices based on the results of the study and appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to improve the corridor.

City of Aurora

Troubleshooters will stick with this story to find out how the city and state Department of Transportation handles complaints about the dangerous intersection.

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