There will soon be some significant changes for commuters who regularly drive along 16th Street here in Rifle. At the February 6th meeting of City Council, councilmembers voted unanimously to convert two major intersections into 4-way stops. The intersection of 16th and Whiteriver Avenue and the intersection of 16th and Birch will soon require drivers approaching from any direction to come to a complete stop before proceeding.
The measure, put forth by Councilman Joe Elliott, was the result of input from City staff and citizens regarding the safety for both drivers and pedestrians and the congestion that occurs in those two areas.
During Council workshop that evening, discussion centered on what was referred to as “rush hour”, the time before and after school where the students and staff are all heading to class. It was noted that the backups on 16th Street get extensive due, in part, to what was referred to as “hesitation traffic” where drivers coming down the hill on 16th Street heading west are reluctant to enter the intersection at Whiteriver due to difficult visibility.
“This will allow people to enter the intersections with confidence that [opposing traffic] will stop,” stated Elliott. “It will improve safety and traffic flows.”
Rifle citizen Melissa Burrows is an advocate for stop signs at these two intersections. Her drive to work entails going through both intersections every day.
“These intersections are complicated for adult drivers, not to mention our young drivers. This solution will help with everyone’s morning commute creating safer intersections and less congestion. Traffic will run more smoothly.”
According to Rifle City Planner Nathan Lindquist, at least two new residential developments are being added to the area around the 16th and Birch intersection. This increase in population will result in a significant uptick in traffic which also poses a greater risk for pedestrians. Students who take the school bus in the morning are picked up in the parking lot of the Mormon Church which is across 16th Street from the large residential area. As a result, students must cross 16th Street with no pedestrian crossing or stop sign to get to the bus. In the winter, this is often in the dark on icy roads.
There is similar concern for the 16th and Whiteriver area since the City Skate Park is located right near that corner. Children utilizing this amenity are a near constant.
on weather conditions. Director of Public Works Brian Prunty and Chief of Police Tommy Klein want to assure citizens that there will be plenty of advance notice. Informational signs and flags will be posted in the weeks preceding the change. Electronic signs are already in place informing travelers on both north and southbound Whiteriver of the future 4-way stop.
Updates on the progress of the project can be found on the City website, Rifleco.org, and on the City Facebook and Twitter pages.