Future Traffic Signal: 32nd & Xenon

Background Information

Plans were approved in late 2015 for the construction of a King Soopers fueling station at the Applewood Shopping Center. The location of the proposed fueling station is at the south end of the Shopping Center property, just north of 32nd Avenue and south and east of Applejack Liquors. A major access to the shopping center is from an existing driveway at 32nd Avenue (Exhibit A - Proposed Signal Location).

Traffic and safety at this driveway intersection has been discussed for some time. Several years ago, as plans for the 32nd Avenue and Youngfield improvement project were being developed, it was determined that a traffic signal at the driveway intersection was warranted, based on the traffic volumes at that time, and thresholds established by state and federal guidelines. The City worked with the shopping center owner at that time to have the signal constructed as part of the 32nd/Youngfield project, but were unable to reach an agreement.

More recently, the property owner presented plans for the proposed fueling study, and a traffic study was presented as part of the approval process. The study further solidified and justified the need for a signal to address access, traffic, and safety issues. Therefore, as a condition of the fueling station approval, the shopping center owner is required to fund and construct a traffic signal.

As a result, design plans for the construction of a traffic signal proceeded. It was determined through the design process that the offset nature of the driveway intersection at 32nd Avenue with Xenon Street presented certain technical challenges, resulting in the consideration of three possible options/alternatives (Exhibit B - Traffic Signal Design Plans).  All these options either directly or indirectly affect access for properties south of 32nd Avenue, particularly properties on Xenon Street between 31st Avenue and 32nd Avenue. 

Public Process

The City held an informational meeting for residents on Xenon Street and Wright Court between 31st Avenue and 32nd Avenue on November 19, 2015. At this meeting, the City presented conceptual plans highlighting the three different options, and encouraged and received public input. A fourth option, closing Xenon Street at 32nd Avenue was also suggested by several of the residents in attendance.

After the meeting, the design concepts and related information were posted online, and a subsequent letter was mailed to residents in the same area, encouraging further input, particularly for those who were unable to attend the meeting. Any further comments were requested to be received by January 29, 2016.

The City received some additional comments. Currently, a restricted movement (right-in/right-out) exists for Xenon at this location, and all left turn movements between 32nd and Xenon are not allowed. At least a few responders expressed opposition to the idea of closing off Xenon at 32nd (the suggested fourth option) for the following reasons:

1. Loss of access and parking, particularly for those who access Xenon from 32nd.
2. Closing of the access may force additional traffic to Wright Court or other parallel streets.
3. Concerns regarding lack of space for a turnaround for regular traffic and emergency vehicles.

A traffic circle or roundabout was also suggested by at least one citizen; which staff did evaluate. However, the amount of property acquisition needed on both sides of 32nd, in addition to other technical issues ruled that option unfavorable.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Although any of three options (four if including closing the street), are doable and will function properly, Option 1B has been recommended for the following reasons:

1. Option 1A, while allowing the existing free right turn from Xenon to 32nd to remain may pose safety issues as the free right is located within the signalized intersection. Traffic traveling eastbound on 32nd may or may not stop, depending on the signal message which could potentially cause some hesitancy or confusion. Option 1B eliminates that safety risk, while still maintaining the existing right turn movement to Xenon.

2. Option 2 (a full signalized intersection), in addition to reducing green time on 32nd, may also encourage the use of Xenon as a favorable cut through street by providing full access to 32nd, which currently does not exist.
As of this time (March 2016) no schedule for construction of the signal has been determined, pending the City receiving plans and application for a building permit for the fueling station.