Cinco de Mayo 2009: Good luck crossing Federal this weekend

Your calendar may tell you that May 5th has already happened -- but your calendar is lying to you. This weekend will mark the real Cinco de Mayo celebration, with much of the activity taking place, as usual, on Federal Boulevard. The Denver Police Department has a three-part plan to deal with the automotive parade that will take place there. Eyeball it by clicking "Continue."

Denver Police Department press release:

Cinco de Mayo Community Notification

The Cinco de Mayo holiday will soon be upon us. Each year, metro area residents and visitors from adjoining states come to Denver to take part in one of the nation's largest celebrations, commemorating the battle that took place in the City of Puebla in Mexico in 1862. This holiday stands as a symbol of the unyielding spirit and quest for freedom of Mexican citizens from an oppressive invader. This holiday was first celebrated in the City of Puebla only. Latinos across our great nation have embraced this Mexican Holiday, making it their own. Latinos and non-Latinos alike take great pride in celebrating Mexican culture and history.

The City and County of Denver hosts many different events related to this holiday. Each year, NEWSED Community Development Corporation and Santa Fe Drive Redevelopment organization sponsors a family festival at Civic Center Park in downtown Denver. The event is among the three largest festivals held in the United States. The family festival typically attracts in upwards of 400,000 people. This year the Civic Center event will be on May 9th and 10th.

A byproduct of this annual celebration has been spontaneous cruising along Federal Blvd. In years past, both metro area residents and out of state visitors have taken to cruising on Federal Blvd. The sudden influx of vehicles and people has resulted in a disruption to normal traffic patterns.

The Denver Police Department Administration and the District One and Four Command staff have met with both public and private entities, planning for this celebration. The result of these meetings has been the creation of a traffic plan that officials believe will maximize safety, relieve traffic congestion and minimize the negative impact of the increased traffic on neighborhoods.

Traffic will be allowed to cross Federal Boulevard freely until traffic congestion increases. Once this occurs east/west traffic across Federal Boulevard will be restricted to the: Evans Ave, Jewell Ave, Florida Ave, Mississippi Ave, Alameda Ave, US-6, W. 10th Ave, W. 23rd Ave, Speer Boulevard, W. 38th Ave, W. 46th Ave, Interstate 70, and W. 50th Ave.

The proposed traffic plan will operate in three phases:

· Phase One will permit traffic flow along Federal Blvd. Police personnel will be staffing static posts along Federal Blvd. Side streets will not be barricaded during this phase.

· Phase Two will be implemented as the number of celebrants/cruisers increase. Police personnel will utilize traffic barricades to restrict access to side streets along the Federal Blvd. The objective will be to minimize the impact on the residents that live along the Federal Blvd corridor.

· Phase Three will be implemented if the traffic volume reaches levels that prevent normal traffic flow, and become unsafe to the residents, participants, and service personnel. During Phase Three, a portion of the traffic will be diverted from portions of Federal Blvd. until such time as the traffic volume becomes normalized. Various diversion routes have been selected and the volume of traffic will determine which location will be utilized.

Access to side streets will be limited to neighborhood residents only once barricades are in place. Residents requiring access should contact the officer on post, if an officer is engaged in taking a police action, residents should proceed to the next staffed or open intersection.

Any violations which pose a safety risk will be strictly enforced. Police personnel will enforce traffic ordinances along the Federal Blvd. corridor including sound ordinance violations, both from stereos and excessive horn honking.

The city juvenile curfew ordinance will be in effect for the weekend. Celebrants that are less than 18 years of age will be subject to curfew enforcement beginning at midnight on Friday and Saturday and 11pm on Sunday and Tuesday.

This year we anticipate heavy traffic on Federal Boulevard on May 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 9th and 10th.

The Denver Police Department looks forward to another successful and safe holiday celebration.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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