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Do the medians on University Ave. help?

"What the hell was that?"

"Those orange cones are not enough." - Image by Bob LaRose
"Those orange cones are not enough."

About two weeks ago, several North Park dwellers reported accidents on University, a couple of blocks east of Texas Avenue.

Bob LaRose, who lives closer to Morley Field, emailed Councilman Stephen Whitburn on November 9. University Avenue, "the street, is being left with ambiguous and misleading lane indications causing people to plow into the median and/or parked cars," he wrote in part of the email. "A number of cars have already been seriously damaged, and luckily, so far, no one that I know of has been hurt."

Bob and Joan LaRose: "We really did not need a median on the road too narrow for it. I don't really care what city planners say."

On November 22, I spoke to a Jack's Muffler employee; the shop is on the corner of Mississippi and University, about three blocks west of the questionable set of medians. "I'm like, "What the hell was that?" recounted the employee. "As I was leaving work after 5 p.m. a few days ago, I saw a black or blue car on top of the median. I believe the people that live in this area do not know that they put a new median in, and they didn't expect all of a sudden this median to come up."

There are 18,637 average-daily-traffic cars and trucks that go down University past Jack's Muffler Services — including the car driven by LaRose, 75, and his wife, Joan, 71. The couple has lived in North Park for 17 years. "There's been a lot of reported accidents there," LaRose said to me on November 21. "You can see a lot of scuff marks on the unfinished median to see where tires have hit them."

"I saw the kid in the truck you mentioned. He was on top of the median. I almost did the same...."

Joan took photos of the new medians as her husband drove eastbound on University past the muffler shop, Louisiana Street, then Caliber Collision on the corner of University and Arizona. The medians LaRose spoke to me about being in front of the Caliber Collision auto shop.

Coming from the direction of the North Park sign, heading westbound on University, a North Park local stopped, took two photos of the same "problematic" median from the opposite side of Joan LaRose's vantage point, then posted the images on the NextDoor app. "You can see where many vehicles' tires have scrubbed the median," reads the caption underneath.

Joan LaRose continued, "This 'road improvement' stretches from Florida east to the 805. The lanes will be very narrow, one for a bus/bike lane and one for the flow of traffic .... We really did not need a median on the road too narrow for it. I don't really care what city planners say. They won't drive on it daily. If you drive this, you'll see scuff marks all along this new median because it sneaks up and lines in the road throw drivers off. Perhaps that will improve when the road is paved and re-marked, but in the meantime — watch out!"

J.M., from North Park, warned his Nextdoor neighbors, on November 8. "Hazard! Please be careful driving on University with the new medians! These come out of nowhere and aren't lit or otherwise marked. I nearly hit one yesterday evening going only about 25 mph and swerved to miss it, which could have caused an accident in itself. I just drove by, and a truck had totally wiped out on it and was broken down, stuck on the far side. Poor guys. These were a bad idea, to begin with, from a traffic standpoint, and now they're just plain dangerous."

Someone from Hillcrest corroborated J.M.'s words: "I saw the kid in the truck you mentioned. He was on top of the median. I almost did the same, and then a car was trying to merge into my lane at the same time."

On November 10, Ryan Darsey, director of community engagement from the office of Councilman Whitburn, emailed LaRose. "Hello Bob [LaRose], thank you for reaching out to our office regarding these concerns. I did get a few calls on this yesterday, and I immediately reached out to advocate on behalf of our residents and their concerns. Today the contractor will begin adding additional measures to help with the visibility of the new improvements, which will include temp striping and additional signage ..."

LaRose said that construction of the new University Avenue medians started about two months ago; he sent me the photo Joan took on November 12. "Still visible were some of the old lane lines that, if followed, lead drivers to plow right into the median," he explained to me.

"They need to add lights there," suggested the Jack's Muffler worker. "Those orange cones are not enough."

The Federal Highway Administration's website states that adding a raised median is about $15,000 to $30,000 per 100 feet for us taxpayers, depending on the site conditions, design and whether the median can be "added as part of a utility improvement or other street construction project.

"Medians... are a pedestrian benefit because they can serve as a place of refuge for pedestrians who cross a street mid-block or at intersections. They provide space for street trees and other landscaping, which, in turn, can help reduce speeds."

The medians on University are split at the Arnold and University crosswalk.

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"Those orange cones are not enough." - Image by Bob LaRose
"Those orange cones are not enough."

About two weeks ago, several North Park dwellers reported accidents on University, a couple of blocks east of Texas Avenue.

Bob LaRose, who lives closer to Morley Field, emailed Councilman Stephen Whitburn on November 9. University Avenue, "the street, is being left with ambiguous and misleading lane indications causing people to plow into the median and/or parked cars," he wrote in part of the email. "A number of cars have already been seriously damaged, and luckily, so far, no one that I know of has been hurt."

Bob and Joan LaRose: "We really did not need a median on the road too narrow for it. I don't really care what city planners say."

On November 22, I spoke to a Jack's Muffler employee; the shop is on the corner of Mississippi and University, about three blocks west of the questionable set of medians. "I'm like, "What the hell was that?" recounted the employee. "As I was leaving work after 5 p.m. a few days ago, I saw a black or blue car on top of the median. I believe the people that live in this area do not know that they put a new median in, and they didn't expect all of a sudden this median to come up."

There are 18,637 average-daily-traffic cars and trucks that go down University past Jack's Muffler Services — including the car driven by LaRose, 75, and his wife, Joan, 71. The couple has lived in North Park for 17 years. "There's been a lot of reported accidents there," LaRose said to me on November 21. "You can see a lot of scuff marks on the unfinished median to see where tires have hit them."

"I saw the kid in the truck you mentioned. He was on top of the median. I almost did the same...."

Joan took photos of the new medians as her husband drove eastbound on University past the muffler shop, Louisiana Street, then Caliber Collision on the corner of University and Arizona. The medians LaRose spoke to me about being in front of the Caliber Collision auto shop.

Coming from the direction of the North Park sign, heading westbound on University, a North Park local stopped, took two photos of the same "problematic" median from the opposite side of Joan LaRose's vantage point, then posted the images on the NextDoor app. "You can see where many vehicles' tires have scrubbed the median," reads the caption underneath.

Joan LaRose continued, "This 'road improvement' stretches from Florida east to the 805. The lanes will be very narrow, one for a bus/bike lane and one for the flow of traffic .... We really did not need a median on the road too narrow for it. I don't really care what city planners say. They won't drive on it daily. If you drive this, you'll see scuff marks all along this new median because it sneaks up and lines in the road throw drivers off. Perhaps that will improve when the road is paved and re-marked, but in the meantime — watch out!"

J.M., from North Park, warned his Nextdoor neighbors, on November 8. "Hazard! Please be careful driving on University with the new medians! These come out of nowhere and aren't lit or otherwise marked. I nearly hit one yesterday evening going only about 25 mph and swerved to miss it, which could have caused an accident in itself. I just drove by, and a truck had totally wiped out on it and was broken down, stuck on the far side. Poor guys. These were a bad idea, to begin with, from a traffic standpoint, and now they're just plain dangerous."

Someone from Hillcrest corroborated J.M.'s words: "I saw the kid in the truck you mentioned. He was on top of the median. I almost did the same, and then a car was trying to merge into my lane at the same time."

On November 10, Ryan Darsey, director of community engagement from the office of Councilman Whitburn, emailed LaRose. "Hello Bob [LaRose], thank you for reaching out to our office regarding these concerns. I did get a few calls on this yesterday, and I immediately reached out to advocate on behalf of our residents and their concerns. Today the contractor will begin adding additional measures to help with the visibility of the new improvements, which will include temp striping and additional signage ..."

LaRose said that construction of the new University Avenue medians started about two months ago; he sent me the photo Joan took on November 12. "Still visible were some of the old lane lines that, if followed, lead drivers to plow right into the median," he explained to me.

"They need to add lights there," suggested the Jack's Muffler worker. "Those orange cones are not enough."

The Federal Highway Administration's website states that adding a raised median is about $15,000 to $30,000 per 100 feet for us taxpayers, depending on the site conditions, design and whether the median can be "added as part of a utility improvement or other street construction project.

"Medians... are a pedestrian benefit because they can serve as a place of refuge for pedestrians who cross a street mid-block or at intersections. They provide space for street trees and other landscaping, which, in turn, can help reduce speeds."

The medians on University are split at the Arnold and University crosswalk.

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Comments
4

For a heavy-traffic thoroughfare like University Avenue, this doesn't appear to be a beneficial idea. It can make vehicle speeds go faster. The city of Denver has had mixed results with medians:
http://denver.streetsblog.org/2018/01/05/do-medians-actually-make-streets-safer-for-pedestrians/

Nov. 24, 2021

Medians are designed to prevent people from jaywalking. For pedestrians who chose to cross, they provide safe zones. Should we be providing safe zones for jaywalking? I thought it was against the law, and dangerous.

Nov. 24, 2021

A better solution is what they did at University Ave. & Alabama St. A median + a striped crossing with little flashing lights and pedestrian-crossing signs.

Nov. 26, 2021

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