How to deal with Denver traffic, from irritating I-25 to the Sixth Avenue death trap
Are we a big-enough city to have a 104-car pile-up?
While we may have those "300 days of sunshine" to brag about, Colorado is home to another weather cliché: the idea of "construction season." Yes, no matter the time of year, it seems that all of our major roadways are being worked on simultaneously, from the mess that is forever Colorado Boulevard to the never-ending crisis of I-25.
My driving style was once described as being of the "just get there at all costs" mentality; I'm definitely not someone you want to share the road with -- my road rage is an unbearable, expletive-laden experience for even the passengers in my car. But regardless, I thought I would share some tips on how to get around the city safely. With any luck, I'll take my own advice and make driving in Denver better for everyone involved.
Beware: Speer Boulevard will never not have photo-radar vans parked alongside of it.
The city has to make an incredible amount of money in this part of town. Just as the Speer Speedway begins going northbound at University Boulebard and starts to slow down heading southbound from Downing Street, vans with cameras are sitting in this stretch's grassy median, ready and waiting to take your picture and your money. Though it seems like a spot where you could go at least 40 miles per hour, the posted speed limit is actually 30, which often surprises drivers.
When the car in front of you abruptly slows down and starts creeping along, heed the warning. Don't ride the ass of the automobile in front of you -- just do what they do and you'll save yourself $50 to $100 while not making other drivers sharing the road hate your guts. Or you can speed right on through like this guy, and intentionally get a speeding ticket so you can flip off the photo-radar van, and then join in the Yelp discussion debating whether these tickets are even legal.
Stop driving high.
I'm not playing into the reefer madness that claims that death can be a possible result of consuming edibles. I'm just saying, "Don't drive high." If you haven't been this person (or aren't aware that you have been this person), then you have certainly been behind them, that SUV creeping along Broadway going four miles per hour during rush hour. Not only could they push their car faster than they are driving it, they are exacerbating the situation by leaving their left turn signal on for twenty blocks, as you wait for a turn that will never be made.
Disclaimer: Federal Boulevard traffic always moves at this stoney pace, yet I am not convinced it has anything do with the dozens of pot shops along the strip between Alameda and Colfax. The slow, cruising speed of Federal is a time-honored tradition. Respect it.
Oh, look. It's a photo of the horrific part of Sixth Avenue I have to drive on every day!
Courtesy of CDOT.
Sixth Avenue is totally fucked -- so please, be kind to other drivers.
I live in Barnum and I'm convinced that the city doesn't like my neighborhood, as it has trapped the residents by starting multiple construction projects that make it impossible to leave the area. The city knocked down the bridge at the end of my block on Knox Court that goes over Sixth Avenue, it has torn up Federal from First to Eighth Avenue, and if you've even tried to enter Sixth from the west side of town, forget about it. The janky lanes along this stretch of road are mini-death traps, as awareness-lacking cars often shooting out into speeding Sixth Avenue traffic.
Just know that since the season of construction will continue for several more generations of Coloradans, we need to be nicer to each other. As in, don't go seventy miles per hour in the slow lane, let other cars over when they have their blinker on for days just trying to get off the highway, and for real, don't tailgate. Be kind.
This has got to be photoshopped. I-25 has never been empty. Ever.
Avoid I-25 when you can
Way back in the late '90s when I was fresh out of high school and still dating that guy who worked at Gunther Toody's, the Colorado T-REX Project began on I-25, fucking shit up forever. Supposedly it ended more than eight years ago, but all I see is the current fuckery of I-25 continuing on forever. Maybe it is a whole new construction project that doesn't have a fancy dinosaur name like T-REX, but whatever. I hate I-25.
If you try to drive anywhere along the ten-mile stretch of I-25 northbound or southbound from Colorado Boulevard all the way to 38th Avenue any time between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., forget it. The Valley Highway (that's what us weirdo natives sometimes call it) is a mess of construction, makeshift entrances and exits and some of the most dangerous driving I've ever seen (myself behind the wheel included.)
Though I know it takes just as long to get off the highway and terrorize surrounding neighborhoods with my jerk driving moves as I try to navigate my way home, I recommend doing it. Then maybe the city will get enough complaints about wacked-out highway drivers plowing through neighborhoods that it will fix this shit. Or at least stop working on all major intersections and sections of I-25 that run through the city at the same time.
Yes, we see you. Your penis must be tiny.
If you have a large automobile, don't use it as a weapon against other drivers
We all know this driver (or maybe we are this driver) and can see him creeping up in the rear-view mirror from a mile away: a giant, roid-raging four-by-four with a dual exhaust and "truck nuts" hanging off the trailer hitch. They careen through traffic like no one else is on the road, also being easily identifiable by horrific decals across the backs of their trucks that say stuff like "bad ass boys drive bad ass toys" or are just simply a digusting sticker/symbol of a hand in the "shocker" position.
However these drivers choose to decorate their "I must have a tiny penis" mobiles, they all seem to drive the same -- like shit. It's bad enough that us regular drivers have to get stuck next to your choking exhaust when you have been halted by traffic and can't ram your way any further ahead, but it would be cool if you just did us all a favor and obeyed the rules of the road. This goes for the assholes in SUVs with "Respect Life" license plates and "Coexist" bumper stickers who bully through traffic, too -- road rage is not a good look, my fellow Namastér.
Be my voyeur (or better yet, let me stalk you) on Twitter: @cocodavies
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