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Blog Being Decommissioned

We are moving this blog to our website and this site will be decommissioned as of mid-December, 2015. Please view our blog posts at this site:

The past year's worth of blog posts will be located on the new site. If you have any questions, please email

Thank you.


Finding Creative Ways to Make a Greater Impact

by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from Oct. 12 until Oct. 31

Have you ever missed work for a doctor or dentist appointment? In today’s world it’s inevitable, and the challenges are compounded in families with children in school. For many people, the choice becomes: do I miss work and risk losing my job to run to Human Services and apply for assistance; or do I keep my job and not have enough money to eat at the end of the month?

This is a choice no person should have to make. Jefferson County Department of Human Services (JCDHS) is working to eliminate this impossible choice for our customers. On October 6, JCDHS began offering extended hours of operation at the Laramie Building in Golden. This will provide select services every Tuesday evening until 8:00 pm, an extension of the current hours of Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

JCDHS is paving the way by increasing availability and accessibility to wraparound services to truly serve customers. Helping working customers meet the needs of their families is one of the key reasons for the change.

Services available during the extended hours will include job seeker workshops; open lab time including resume assistance, career planning, computer skills, and application assistance; Child Care Assistance Program services; eligibility specialist services including food, cash, and medical benefits; American Job Center youth activities; and Connect for Health Colorado navigation. Other services may be available based on customer need, demand, and available resources.

No longer is access to high quality services after 5:00 p.m. a luxury, today it's essential. This new option is simple, yet it provides individuals freedom, a sense of dignity, and eliminates an impossible choice.

For more information on the new hours and services offered, see the news item on the Human Services website.


Fall Home Safety Tips

by Becky Baker, Building Safety Division Director
comments open from Sept. 29 until Oct. 18

Fall is a wonderful time of year. The leaves are changing, there’s football to watch, pumpkins to carve and the weather is especially pleasant. With the seasonal reduction in daylight hours it is also a time to consider the safety of trick or treaters, as well as other visitors to your home.

Here are some tips to help be prepared for whatever challenges may come your way this season.
• Make sure access to your home is adequately lit.
• Inspect sidewalks to assure they are free from ice.
• Use caution when climbing ladders to install decorations or clean gutters.
• Channel ghosts and goblins around uneven walking surfaces. Keep in mind the elderly as well as the youngsters.
• Check stair handrails and guardrails to make sure they are sturdy.
• Consider installing a slip resistant product on the stairs leading to your front door.

Whether it is a gathering for a football game or a holiday, these few simple items can help your guests have a fun and safe visit.

For more safety tips and other information, visit the Jefferson County Building Safety website.


Selecting Next Year’s Health Plan

by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from Sept. 2 until Sept. 21

Fall is often the kick-off period for enrollment into health insurance plans for the following year. Some of the key mistakes that can be made are making assumptions about the coverage associated with a plan and paying for more insurance than what you and your family needs.

In order to ensure you obtain coverage at the required levels, it is critical to understand your plan. Key things you should pay attention to include the type of plans available (PPO, HMO or HSA for example), what services, treatments and procedures are covered (i.e. copayment vs. coinsurance), savings opportunities for medical expenses and any deductibles that must be met. Also, pay attention to whether you can use services outside of a particular network or if a referral is required to utilize certain types of physicians. Reviewing your past years usage and expenses can be a good start toward estimating future needs.

Remember, it’s always better to ask questions. Carefully read all of your plan documents. And remember -- your benefits plan administrator is a great resource!


Local Pilots Make RMMA Air Show a Success

by Bryan Johnson, Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport Director
comments open from Aug. 26 until Sept. 14

Did you know…?

The Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport supports various aircraft owners, corporate flight departments, flight schools, government agencies and other aviation businesses that own and operate aircraft.

While this years’ Rocky Mountain Air Show was a huge success, did you know that many of the pilots and planes that flew in the air show are part of our local airport community? Not only did they participate in this year’s air show, but many of them travel the country performing at other air shows throughout the year.

We are fortunate to have a very dedicated and talented pilot community that maintains the highest standards of training and safety while operating their aircraft.

The RMMA based group of pilots and planes that participated in this year’s air show included:
• The Rocky Mountain Renegades; Jim Gray, Jim Sherry, Steve Bergevin and Steve Cox (G-202, RV4 and RV8 aircraft).
• Roy Holliday, North American T-33
• Mark Johnson, British Aerospace Jet Provost MKIII
• Carlo Gaines, T-34C

We also had several tenant aircraft on static display:
• Jack Wilhite (deceased), Mig-17
• Dave Callendar, Harlow
• Mike Bertz, BAE Gnat
• Carl Gilberg, Twin Beech
• Pilatus, PC-12
• Various flight training school aircraft (C172, etc.)

Thanks to the air show organizers, tenants, vendors, other local agencies, RMMA staff and volunteers that made this years’ air show possible!


August is National Breastfeeding Month

by Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director
comments open from Aug. 19 until Sept. 7

August is National Breastfeeding month and Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is committed to promoting and supporting optimal breastfeeding practices toward the ultimate goal of improving the public's health. This year’s National Breastfeeding campaign is called “Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work.”

Public Health and medical professionals recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first year with the introduction of complementary foods around 6 months of age, due to the health benefits it provides both mothers and infants. More Colorado women each year are choosing to give their babies a healthy start by breastfeeding for at least the first six months of their lives. State breastfeeding rates continue to climb and are higher than the national average on every indicator. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2015 breastfeeding report shows breastfeeding indicators for Colorado babies born in 2012 increased from those born in 2011:
• Ever breastfed: 81 to 86.3 percent (80 percent nationally)
• Breastfed at six months: 55.2 to 60 percent (51.4 percent nationally)
• Breastfed at one year: 29.3 to 36.2 percent (29.2 percent nationally)
• Exclusively breastfed at 3 months: 50.3 to 54.7 percent (43.3 percent nationally)
• Exclusively breastfed at 6 months: 25.8 to 30.3 percent (21.9 percent nationally)

In Jefferson County, both the Board of County Commission and the Board of Health declared resolutions which support Colorado’s breastfeeding law and the numerous benefits to employees and employers to facilitate breastfeeding mothers. The Boards officially recognized August as National Breastfeeding Month, in furtherance of JCPH's role in community health improvement planning to advance breastfeeding on our county’s agenda through partnering to enhance and promote health for all in Jefferson County.

In an effort to increase breastfeeding rates, JCPH encourages large and small businesses throughout the County to follow Colorado law and provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for two years after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk.” It’s easy for employers to support breastfeeding and public health can help with information as needed.

Colorado’s breastfeeding law passed in 2008 states, “A mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.” In addition, under the Affordable Care Act, Section 4207 requires employers to provide at a minimum: support from supervisors and colleagues, adequate break time (paid or unpaid) to express breast milk, and a private area to express her milk that is not a restroom. All employers, regardless of their size or number of employees, must comply with the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law.

Jefferson County has worked together with its various departments and facilities to provide Quiet Rooms where mothers can breastfeed in various locations within the Government Campus. Jefferson County employees are encouraged to ask their departments/divisions about accommodations. Mothers are one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. labor force and several studies have indicated that support for lactation at work benefits not only families, but employers as well by improving productivity; enhancing the employer’s public image; and decreasing absenteeism, health care costs, and employee turnover.

Jefferson County Public Health’s WIC Program (Women, Infants and Children) provides breastfeeding consultations and education to eligible participants and County residents. For more information about breastfeeding or workplace accommodation and quiet rooms, please visit the JCPH Breastfeeding Education and Support page.


Hands-on Learing at the Jefferson County Fair

by Jeffco Open Space Communications
comments open from August 4 until August 23

Get involved with some hands-on learning at the Jefferson County Fair – August 7-9! 4-H youth will show their completed projects, like livestock, rocketry and others - and friendly competition, like the “Bunny costume contest,” takes place. 4-H livestock arrive on the Fairgrounds Thursday morning, August 6.

The Fair also boasts a Chili Cook-off, Evening of Horses, Rodeo and Kids Zone. For more about the Fair go to You can get the "confidential" scoop on CSU Extension and some of its other programs; or go to the CSU Extension website.


Multi-generational Workforce

by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from July 22 until August 10

One of the workplace dynamics people often hear about is the multigenerational workforce. In many organizations there are four or five generations of employees in the workplace. The five generations are often grouped and titled as followed:

Traditionals: born between 1930 and 1945.
Baby Boomers: born between 1946 and 1964.
Generation Xers: born between 1965 and 1976.
Millennials: born between 1977 and 1994.
Generation Z’s: born after 1994.

Members of each of these groups often share their own unique dynamics and characteristics around how they approach and view the workplace. The challenge for many workplaces is creating an environment that meets the needs of each of these groups. The opportunities for the workplace include having a diverse group of employees with different perspectives, experiences and skills that collectively enhance the organization.

Jefferson County has employees across all of these generations who create a well rounded workplace dedicated to providing service to the community.


Construction and Winter Seasons in Road & Bridge

Larry Benshoof, Road & Bridge Director
comments open from July 14 until August 2

The Road & Bridge Division construction season is in full swing. Patching of failed asphalt and full scale asphalt overlays of our roadways may already be affecting some of you in your neighborhoods. Please use caution in our work zones and try to keep the speed down for your safety and the safety of our employees.

We precede the asphalt work with the removal and replacement of failed concrete sidewalk, curb & gutter and crosspans that meet our damage criteria.

In the areas of the county with unpaved roads, we re-grade the gravel roads that have sufficiently good material on them. We haul in new roadbase, or recycled asphalt basecourse, on the roads lacking material. That recycled asphalt basecourse comes from our paving projects that require rotomilling prior to the asphalt overlay. The use of recycled material saves upward of $200,000 per year as opposed to buying new roadbase and helps to reduce dust.

You may wonder how we decide where to spend the limited funds that we have available for repair work each year. We maintain nearly 3,000 lane miles of paved roads and 700 lane miles of gravel roads in the unincorporated portion of Jeffco. In order to manage that size road network, we use an asset management system to evaluate current conditions on each segment of road. This system consists of data collection on the roads via a specially equipped van and then the loading of that information into the asset management program. Each segment of road is then given an overall condition index (OCI) rating from 1 – completely failed to 100 – brand new.

All of the ratings can then be mapped, analyzed and then used to group roads into the most efficient use of repair dollars in particular neighborhoods. The final step prior to actually scheduling any repairs is for us to drive each segment and verify that the information we have received is valid and that the road has been prioritized properly for the coming year’s proposed repairs.

When performing the actual repair work, be it asphalt or concrete, I have found that a two pronged approach works best. We hire private contractors for larger projects where they can achieve high production rates and therefore give us the lowest prices. We use our own forces on the smaller jobs which would be very expensive to have done by a private contractor. This approach allows us to keep sufficient manpower productively employed during the 8-month construction season in order to provide an excellent snowplowing effort during the 4-month winter season.

Citizen surveys have indicated that a quick and efficient snow removal program is one of their highest priorities and the above approach allows Road & Bridge to deliver on those desires.

You can see the current schedule of projects for the Road & Bridge division on their projects page.


Colorado Counties Collaborate, Move Toward Excellence

by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from June 29 until July 18

Counties are working together. Counties are leveraging the power of creative collaboration, addressing root causes of social ills, and finding innovative ways to utilize local resources. Counties are, with the support of county commissioners and in collaboration with the state, moving toward excellence through partnerships that have impact.

Counties are moving toward generative business models by working in partnership and collaboratively moving toward excellence in the human services realm.

A generative business model allows multiple programs and institutions to build, share, and deploy information and services on an ongoing and evolving basis. The model focuses on bringing about healthy communities by co-creating solutions across the ecosystem of organizations, jurisdictions and communities, enabling co-creation of policy and modification of programs in response to real-time conditions. It addresses multi-dimensional family and socioeconomic influences.

A few of the numerous examples include:

• Jefferson County’s Jeffco Prosperity Project, which is working to move low-income children from pre-school to high school diploma, and their families to full self-sufficiency with a two-generation approach. Businesses, non-profits, faith-based organizations, schools, and community are working together for the community.

• Routt County’s Routt to Work Initiative, working to increase the economic stability of Routt County families by offering a personal economic mobility coaching series.

• Arapahoe/Douglas Counties' Family Resource Pavilion - Through a public-private partnership between Arapahoe/Douglas Counties and Shiloh House, the services for youth and their families are consolidated under one roof, known as the Family Resource Pavilion. The Family Resource Pavilion will eliminate the service gaps in several key areas. Working with partners across both counties has resulted in this efficient and innovative approach which will improve outcomes for youth and their families.

• Northeastern Consortium - Chaffee County’s collaboration of probation, mental health, child welfare, and school districts on how to be more effective in working with adolescents and their parents – especially high risk families - to build skills that allow individuals to help themselves out of a crisis. All agencies support the process of skill building and holistically working with shared clients. The participating agencies train together and have brought in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) experts to assist because research shows alignment between brain development, trauma informed care, and DBT. Building this “emotional intelligence” is especially important as the adolescent brain is in that stage of development, yet it can be a skill that benefits all age groups. All participating agencies benefit from the shared research and learning as they serve families in crisis.

Social challenges that once were thought to be the purview of governmental social services have spilled over to other organizational networks, such as law enforcement, schools, businesses and health care. Social challenges are no longer siloed, so counties cannot afford to use a siloed approach either. Counties recognize that to achieve healthy communities, they must collaborate and integrate with health care, mental health, schools, human services, businesses, non-profits, faith organizations, and others to best address the needs of their communities. Regardless of geographic size, population, location, or limited resources, counties are making a difference.


Jeffco's Wellness Program Promoting Employee Health and Well-Being

by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from June 11 until June 30

Jeffco’s Employee Wellness Program celebrated National Employee Health & Fitness Month this past May with a full calendar of wellness activities to promote employee health and well-being. An estimated 700 employees participated. Some activities included stair challenges where employees tracked their flights of stairs. We had several employees complete 100 or more flights during the month! This is an easy challenge to conduct on your own or with your co-workers. Taking the stairs instead of elevators, where possible, is a great way to add more movement into your daily routine.


Slash Program Underway

by Casey Tighe, Board of County Commissioner Chair
comments open from June 9 until June 28

Have you finished spring cleaning of your property? If so, load up your tree debris and bring it to the Jefferson County’s 2015 Slash Collection Program. The program kicked off May 30 and continues through Oct. 25.

In the past, the slash collections were quite popular but there were only a few collections each year. We decided to change things up this year and host slash collections just about every weekend this summer and into the fall. We are also hosting the collections in several locations throughout the county to make it more convenient to all residents.

The cost is $20 per load, credit cards only. A load is considered a truck bed full to the truck cab height or a trailer up to 8’ x 4’. Loads larger than this will be charged as more than one load. All processed material will be hauled to compost yards for further re-use of the material.

So what can you bring? Slash is considered tree debris such as limbs and pine needles. But please bag your needles and bark; loose loads cannot be accepted. Keep your tree limbs under eight feet and less than six inches in diameter. Commercial refuse and construction materials will not be accepted. Also we cannot accept household trash, tree stumps, metal, rocks and grass clippings.

Slash is not only a great program for our citizens, but it protects our land. It is one of the ways to mitigate against wildfires. Clearing the debris cuts down on fire fuels and decreases the risk of fire. So get out, clean up and bring all your slash to us!

For dates, locations and more details, visit


Governor's Summer Job Hunt in Jefferson County

by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from May 28 until June 12

Young adults are our future. They are just beginning to explore where their lives are headed and need mentorship, guidance, and advice to start the journey. The Governor's Summer Job Hunt (GSJH) is a place for young adults to start.

GSJH is a program designed to support youth, ages 14 to 21, with employment opportunities and services this summer. In Jefferson County, young adults can participate in job fairs, hiring events, job safari tips, and workshops. GSJH is hosting a job fair on Tuesday, June 2 from 2pm - 4pm at Peak Community and Wellness Center, 6612 South Ward Street in Littleton.

This event is a great opportunity for youth to connect directly with local employers hiring for the summer. Participating employers include restaurants, retails stores, Foothills Park and Recreation, Heritage Amusement Park, and many more! Youth can register for the fair online at

GSJH will also be conducting a virtual job fair during the months of May and June. This virtual job fair takes place entirely online with over 50 participating employers including Elitch Gardens, McDonald’s, Old Navy, and King Soopers. This event is open to all young adults ages 14 to 21 in the Denver Metro Area, including Jefferson County. Youth can register for the virtual job fair and learn about other GSJH events and employment opportunities at

For more information contact American Job Center Youth Services at or 303-271-4613.


JCPH's Built Environment Accomplishments

by Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director
comments open from May 26 until June 14

“The built environment is social policy in concrete.” This pithy definition of human-designed settings comes from Dr. Richard Jackson, a leader in Environmental Health whose career path has included positions as State Health Officer for the state of California, Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California- Los Angeles, and Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health. The built environment is the environment which we as a society have consciously constructed to fit our needs, and those needs are defined through policies. This includes everything from the size and location of our buildings and roadways, to the location of our water fountains.

As chronic disease and obesity rates continue to rise, there has been a growing awareness of the impact of the built environment on health. A number of organizations, including the CDC, the National Environmental Health Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Planning Association, and the Urban Land Institute have begun to push for policies and built environment decisions that reflect a high value for health. Goals for this work are generally focused on increasing access to healthy food and settings that allow or encourage physical activity. This is often referred to as healthy eating and active living, or HEAL.

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is working towards this across the west-Denver metropolitan area and Front Range mountain towns. The 2013 Community Health Assessment CHA identified a near-doubling of diabetes rates between 2001 and 2010, as well as large increases in obesity. Additionally, there are demographic shifts showing that in the near future, an increasing proportion of Jefferson County residents will be either be senior citizens or youth, both populations particularly vulnerable to health issues due to poor built environments. This gave clear direction to prioritize built environment changes in the 2014-17 Community Health Improvement Plan CHIP. As Colorado’s fourth most populous county, with a land area of over 700 square miles, this was a daunting endeavor.

Jefferson County’s first major foray into HEAL policy, environments, and systems change came through LiveWell Wheat Ridge (LWWR), beginning in 2005. This coalition focused on advancing support for a healthy food system and a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly community. JCPH served as fiscal agent for LWWR, which instilled in the department the technical expertise to work towards policy change, and to develop HEAL coalitions and the desire to scale up this work to the county level.

As a result, JCPH applied to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for funding through the Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, and Pulmonary Disease Prevention (CCPD) grant program in 2012, for a program called “Creating a Culture of Health and Wellness in Jefferson County Through Policy.” Funding was awarded (FY 2012-2015), and was used initially to collect baseline data on existing policies and the climate of opinion towards policy change. This included five HEAL Policy Assessments of local government Comprehensive Plans, and a robust survey of 123 policymakers on their readiness to implement a host of land use, transportation and food policies in Jefferson County. JCPH also formed the countywide HEAL Policy Team, a coalition made of a variety of county departments (Open Space, Transportation and Engineering, Planning and Zoning, CSU-Extension), representation from local municipalities and the mountain communities, Jeffco Public Schools, Centura and Lutheran Health Services, and regional and statewide organizations like Bicycle Colorado, LiveWell Colorado, the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership, the Colorado Environmental Health Association, and the National Environmental Health Association. This group serves as a steering committee for the grant, creates a forum to shares best practices and lessons-learned, aligns efforts to the JCPH Community Health Improvement Plan, and serves as the convening entity to leverage additional investment for HEAL work in Jeffco. It is also a valuable platform for local coalitions (e.g. LiveWell Wheat Ridge and Arvada Healthy Places Initiative) to connect local work into a regional dialogue.

In early 2014, with this solid base of a developed coalition and an understanding of the existing policy conditions across the county, JCPH was able to support a number of policy changes to support HEAL. The department provided technical assistance, community engagement, and informal education around a number of land use plan updates, and the five major cities in Jefferson County all passed resolutions to join the LiveWell Colorado HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign. JCPH helped draft a number of these resolutions, wrote letters of support, and engaged public comment from interested residents. Now that they have been passed, these resolutions have been a useful tool for keeping up momentum towards HEAL policy change. As an easily shared action plan, the resolutions serve as a reminder to staff and elected officials of the commitment the cities have made to address health.

Additional policy accomplishments for 2014 include:
• Jefferson County Open Space updated their Open Space Master Plan. This new plan includes numerous references to health, and the important role of green space in supporting wellbeing. Jeffco Open Space also initiated a monthly wellness update.
• The City of Arvada adopted an updated Comprehensive Plan. Through a robust community engagement process, and in partnership with the Arvada Healthy Places Initiative, this new plan includes a number of policies that support walking, bicycling and healthy food access.
• The City of Wheat Ridge, at the urging of the Active Transportation Advisory Team, budgeted $100,000 for pedestrian and bicycle work in 2015.

Currently, JCPH is working on the following policy initiatives:
• Inclusion of health policies in the City of Arvada Parks & Recreation Plan
• Inclusion of health policies in the City of Golden Parks & Recreation Plan
• Inclusion of health policies in the City of Lakewood Comprehensive Plan and Sustainability Plan
• Inclusion of pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly policies in the Evergreen Trails Master Plan
• Inclusion of bicycle lanes and traffic calming elements in the Jefferson County Transportation Design and Construction Manual
• Completion of a HEAL Policy Assessment of the Jefferson County Comprehensive Master Plan
• Recommendations for a health coalition, walking and biking assessments, and a healthy food access study in the DRCOG Sustainable Communities Initiative’s Gold Line Corridor Blueprint
• Inclusion of health policies in DRCOG MetroVision 2040

Throughout this work, JCPH’s Environmental Health Services Division has been a critical partner. Specialists and leadership in the division provide guidance on local government planning processes, insight on environmental quality concerns, and comments on potential policy changes. Information is also exchanged with environmental health partners across the region, in quarterly meetings and regular conversations.

In late 2014, JCPH applied for, and was recommended to receive, another three years of CCPD grant funding for FY 2016-2018. JCPH will receive a 333% increase in CCPD funds for this new grant period as compared to 2012-2015. The plan for this new program was developed with regular input from the HEAL Policy Team and other important partners. It seeks to scale up the work of the last three years through more proactive technical assistance, the development of a local HEAL coalition to include low-income residents, the broadening and deepening of the HEAL Policy Team, and the formation of a county-wide Food Policy Council. It will also increase the capacity of local and regional partners to leverage additional HEAL funds from foundations like Kaiser Permanente and The Colorado Health Foundation, and support more robust implementation of the Jeffco Community Health Improvement Plan.


Traffic Control Devices at Intersections

by Steve Durian, Transportation and Engineering Director
comments open from May 21 until June 9

Jefferson County’s Transportation and Engineering Division is responsible for evaluating appropriate traffic control alternatives for intersections of roadways and driveways. Typical intersection traffic control used throughout the county includes stop signs, traffic signals, and roundabouts. The county’s traffic engineers consider many factors including traffic volume, crash history, and pedestrian activity when determining the safest and most effective traffic control at intersections.

Stop Signs: Two-way stops are the most common traffic control used at intersections. Two-way stop sign controlled intersections occur where one intersecting roadway or driveway has significantly less traffic than the major street. Multi-way stop signs are used where moderate traffic volumes occur at an intersection and the volume of traffic at all approaches is more balanced.
• The advantages of stop signs is that they are the most efficient method of traffic control for traffic flow where lower traffic volumes are present and they are easier and less expensive to maintain.
• However, when the traffic volume is too great for a stop sign controlled intersection to operate efficiently or crash history indicates that a more controlled measure is needed, traffic engineers look to signalization or roundabouts.

Traffic Signals: Traffic signals become necessary when the delay to traffic would be too great for a stop sign controlled intersection or when a stop sign controlled intersection may cause a significant safety problem. Signalized intersections can vary in size from one travel lane in each direction to multiple lanes with two or more left-turn lanes.
• One advantage of signalizing intersections is that these intersections can operate more efficiently with larger volumes of traffic, especially where left-turning traffic volumes are heavy. Traffic signals can also decrease the incidences of major crashes and can assist pedestrians when crossing wide streets and busy intersections.
• There are several disadvantages to signalized intersections. One disadvantage is the higher operating cost. Another disadvantage is that minor rear-end crashes are more frequent at signalized intersections when compared to other types of intersections. A third disadvantage is that to achieve good traffic flow, signalized intersections cannot be spaced too closely to one another, thereby limiting the number of intersections that can be signalized along a roadway.

Roundabouts: Roundabouts are becoming more common throughout Jefferson County. Intersections controlled by roundabouts can handle higher traffic volumes than stop sign controlled intersections without many of the disadvantages of signalized intersections. Both signalized and stop sign controlled intersections have many conflicting crossing movements which can affect both the safety and efficiency of these types of intersections.
• With a roundabout, there are no left-turns and fewer conflicting or crossing movements resulting in improved traffic flow and decreased potential for severe crashes. Other advantages to roundabouts are that they can help control speeding and they are less costly to operate than signalized intersections.
• A disadvantage to roundabouts is that they require more land area to construct and therefore can be difficult to implement in developed areas where existing improvements limit available space. Roundabouts can also be confusing to drivers who are not accustomed to them or in the case of multi-lane roundabouts with inadequate advanced directional signage.

For more information about traffic safety and operations in Jefferson County, contact the Transportation and Engineering Division at 303-271-8495.

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