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Highway 74 bus-stop area still dangerous, widow says

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By Sandy Barnes

Five years after her husband was killed while crossing Evergreen Parkway, there is still no crosswalk or caution signal at that location, says resident Peggy Steele.

And she wonders why not.

A vehicle struck Jim Steele, who had been traveling home by bus on a dark night in December 2007. The bus stop he used was across the highway from Brookline Road and the entrance to the Hiwan subdivision where he lived.

“After that happened, it came to light how many near-misses there have been in that area,” Steele said.

There are two traffic signals on Highway 74 at which people can cross. However, both the one at the intersection of South Bergen Parkway and another at Lewis Ridge Road are about a half-mile from Brookline Road.

Highway 74 is a busy thoroughfare. According to data from the Colorado Department of Transportation, about 20,000 vehicles a day travel the Parkway between El Rancho and the intersection with Upper Bear Creek Road. 

CDOT highway traffic and safety coordinator Tanya Bower explained that before placing a crosswalk or traffic signal at an intersection, a study of the number of vehicles and pedestrians in the area is done.

Crossing Highway 74 is not advisable where there is no crosswalk or signal, Bower said.

“I see so many people doing that,” she said.

The speed limit on Highway 74 is 55 mph on that stretch, which also adds to the hazards of crossing the road.

Steele said she has contacted CDOT since her husband’s death, but has received no satisfactory response. 

“The only thing we’re asking for is a caution light and slower speed,” she said. “It’s something that is do-able.”

The Regional Transportation District did examine the location of the bus stop and consider moving it to an intersection where there is a traffic light, said Scott Reed, RTD spokesperson. However, RTD planners concluded that it would be more dangerous for people to walk a half-mile along the highway from the traffic light than to cross at the Brookline intersection, he said.

One of the issues is how much the Evergreen community has grown since Steele and her husband moved to Evergreen in the 1970s, she said.

Thirty years ago, Evergreen Parkway was a backcountry two-lane road far different from the current four-lane highway.

“I think this is a prime example of how the community thrives and grows,” said Steele.

There is sign denoting the place where her husband died on Highway 74.

“This is the story behind the sign,” she said.

Contact reporter Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.