Volume No. 15 Issue No. 8 August 2018  

  Problem intersections in Falcon – Part 6
  By Lindsey Harrison

     In March, “The New Falcon Herald” began a series on problem intersections in the Falcon area. The first in the series focused on the intersection of Meridian Road and Londonderry Drive; the second focused on the intersection of Flower Road and Meridian Road and the intersection of Bent Grass Meadows Drive and Meridian Road; the third focused on the intersection of Highway 24 and Garrett Road; the fourth focused on the intersection of McLaughlin Road and Old Meridian Road; and the last focused on the intersection of Rex Road and Meridian Road.
   According to those articles, failure to yield right-of-way and inattentive driving were the leading causes of accidents at each intersection.
   This month, the NFH focused on the intersection of Meridian Road and Woodmen Road, specifically to address an email from a concerned citizen. According to the email, the citizen sent a request to El Paso County asking that they replace the speed limit signs removed after Meridian was widened southbound on approach to Woodmen. She stated in the email that the signs indicated a reduced speed ahead and then designated the speed limit from 55 mph to 35 mph.
   She indicated that she received the following email response: “A review of 2014, 2015, and 2016 CDOT [Colorado Department of Transportation] crash data files did not reveal any crash records for southbound Meridian Road approaching Woodmen Road that indicated the current Meridian Road 55 mph speed limit was a contributing factor.
   “Similarly, there was only one apparent speed-related crash for the southbound Meridian Road approach and included a driver that was traveling 20 mph over the speed limit at 2350 (11:50 p.m.) at night who struck a fence.”
   The response also states that the lane geometry, which changes to include double left turn only lanes, represents a significant and obvious change and drivers are “on notice” well in advance of the approaching intersection. Additionally, the traffic signal at Woodmen is highly visible, the response states.
   Jennifer Irvine, El Paso County engineer, said she reviewed the EPC department of public works files, which indicated that there has not been a 35 mph speed limit sign for about 10 years. She said the Meridian Road improvement project, which took place in 2012, also did not list the speed limit signs in the construction plans. The signs were not present when the project started; thus, they were not replaced after the project was completed, she said.
   According to the Colorado State Patrol’s statistics team, 21 of the 69 total crashes at that intersection since 2013 were caused by inattentive driving, while “disregarding other traffic control device” and following too closely caused 12 and 11 crashes, respectively.
   Trooper Josh Lewis said, “Speed was the main factor in only two crashes at this location since 2013.”
   Irvine said the county uses certain criteria to classify each roadway during the signal improvement phase. Meridian Road, at that time, was classified as an arterial road and that classification comes with a set of design criteria, like the speed limit, she said.
   “Typically, we post speed limits 5 miles per hour lower than what the classification says we can post,” she said. “After that, we monitor it and can always make adjustments from there.”
   There are plans for two new traffic signals along southbound Meridian: one at Bent Grass Meadows Drive and one at Eastonville Road, which will eventually extend across Meridian and continue west, Irvine said.
   “I believe when those developments come in and the signals are going up, we will have to take a look at that road to see what needs to happen,” she said. “Those intersections are going to be pretty close.”
   Jim Reid, executive director of the EPC department of public works, said the bottom line for this intersection, as with all the rest, is that drivers need to be safe and adjust their speeds based on their surroundings and the road conditions.
   “If drivers are not paying attention to the road, they probably are not paying attention to the road signs,” he said.
   Both Irvine and Reid said they encourage community members to use the county’s Citizen’s Connect website to report concerns or make service requests for both roads and parks within the EPC public works and community services jurisdiction. “It only takes one complaint,” Reid said. “We look at all of them; the volume of complaints for one thing does not matter.”
   The Citizen Connect website is https://myepc.kahunasystems.com/#/homepage
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