Today, Denver is one of the top 5 fastest growing cities in the country. While this is great for tourism and revenue, it also means that you can expect rush hour traffic to be continuously difficult to contend with.
At Elkus & Sisson we know that completely avoiding traffic is not realistic. The purpose of this article is to offer up some advice on how you can spend less time in Denver's traffic and decrease some of the negative affects of spending time in heavy traffic.
Reducing the chances of being in an accident is just one benefit. Although, if you have been in a car accident then please see our page on what you need to do if you have been in a car accident.
Thankfully, there are some great strategies that you can put into play when you study the traffic patterns for what they are, and act accordingly.
The more you understand about Denver's population growth, the more you can begin to see exactly why traffic has become such an issue. The major interstate systems like Interstate-25, Interstate-70, Interstate-76, Interstate 270, and Highway 36 are just a few of the major highways that have become unbearable during certain times of the day.
The benefits to minimizing your time spent in traffic can be well worth the effort to figure out how to minimize your time in the car. Although no one is immune to getting in a car accident, the less time you spend in heavy traffic the better your chances are.
Read on to learn more about rush hour traffic in Denver and how you can deal with it effectively.
Factors Contributing To The Massive Amounts of Traffic in Denver
Denver is growing by leaps and bounds, as the city recently saw a 100,000-resident spike in just a stretch of 7 years.
This is a staggering amount of people, which also means you can expect to see more cars on the road. Since Colorado has also become a cannabis capital of the world, you can expect to see more tourists in town year-round.
What's more, Denver is increasingly becoming a tech capital and a place that young entrepreneurs want to move to.
The city is also experiencing a number of construction projects that will have their own set of street closures, lane closures, detours, and delays. By registering for alerts about these traffic patterns, you will always have a heads-up before you head out each morning.
Stay abreast of these construction projects to that you are in the loop about the changes that can affect your commute.
Some of the construction projects in Denver that you should be aware of include:
- Central 70 Project
- I-25 North
- I-25 South Gap
- Amazon multi-use communities
- data centers in Aurora
- Denver skyscraper development projects.
Knowing the location of these construction projects will help you prepare to use alternate routes.
Tips for Dealing With Denver's Traffic
Avoiding peak rush hour traffic can lead to a decreased chance of being involved in a car accident, leading to a decreased chance you may be involved in an auto accident.
Here are some tips and advice on how to navigate the increasing traffic situation in the Denver metropolitan area.
Learn Peak Rush Hour Times
When you are able to understand the peak times and traffic patterns, it becomes easier to deal with Denver traffic.
Rush hour in Denver is at its busiest in the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. for the going to work crowd, and between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. for the post-work crowd. These are just the peak times. With the increased volume over the past few years you can expect heavy traffic at least an hour on each side of the peak times.
Learn Which Routes To Avoid
During rush hour here are some routes you will want to avoid altogether:
- I-25 from the Tech Center heading north to the downtown area.
- I-25 from I-76 and highway 36 headed south towards downtown.
- I-70 from Arvada and Golden headed East towards I-25 and Denver International Airport.
- The I-225 heading south to I-25 south gets very backed up at times all the way to Parker Road.
Here are some areas to avoid at all times of the day:
- I-70 east of I-25 in both directions due to the Central 70 project
- I-270 is an absolute mess 7 days a week and traffic is usually backed up for miles at all times of the day. Be sure to check your traffic app if you consider using I-270.
- The I-25 stretch between Broadway and I-70 has a tendency to be backed up at all times of the day in both directions.
Plan Ahead as Much as Possible
Planning is half the battle when it comes to dealing with Denver rush hour traffic.
Simply put, you cut out a lot of the stress and uncertainty of dealing with rush hour by leaving as early as possible. It's better to leave yourself a huge cushion of time and always showing up early, as opposed to always feeling like you are rushing or running behind.
Consolidate your errands so that you can make stops along your route to and from work. Planning to go to the store, post office, bank, etc... in advance can help you save a lot of time each day.
Get Familiar With Alternate Routes
Before you leave in the morning be sure to check the traffic on the app of your choice. Do not assume that there is no unusual traffic. If traffic is unusually bad then research alternate routes.
For instance, when Interstate-70 is backed up, you might want to look into alternate routes like Colorado 470 or Interstate-225. Some of the secondary roads like Santa Fe Drive, Hampden Ave (Highway 285), Martin Luther King Dr., or Monaco Parkway might be good alternatives. These are definitely worth researching if your primary route has unusually heavy traffic.
Don't be Afraid to use the Tolls or Express Lanes
E-470 is a toll way that runs from the south edge of the metro area around the city to the East all the way to the very North West edge of the metropolitan area, almost to Boulder. It is not cheap to drive the entire route but the savings in time might be worth it.
For example, a drive from the Southlands Mall in Aurora (South East Denver) to Broomfield (North West Denver) will take you about 45 minutes using the E-470 Toll. The cost will be about $12.00 if you have an Express Toll account, otherwise about $18.00 Without using the tolls you are looking at about 1 hour. However, during the rush hour window this time can be expected to be much greater.
To save some money on these tolls and the express lanes throughout the city sign up your vehicle at https://www.expresstoll.com.
Discuss Alternative Work Hours or Locations With Your Boss
The best case scenario is to ask you place of employment if you can start to work a couple days from home. Start by asking for one or two days per week so that you can prove you are just as much or more productive by working from home. As you prove that your productivity is better at home then they are more likely to allow you to do it more often.
You can also ask to work during hours that will have you commuting during off-peak traffic hours. For example, try setting work hours from 10:00am to 7:00pm or 6:00am to 2:00pm.
If you can work out one of these situations with your workplace you will be amazed at how many hours per week you will get back.
Take Advantage of Public Transportation
The light rail in Denver has grown a lot in the past decade. It can be quite satisfying to be sitting on the light rail going 60 miles an hour and just looking out at all the cars at a stand still on I-25. Meanwhile you are catching up on emails, reading a good book, getting caught up on work, or simply relaxing on your way to and from the office.
Get Hours Added Back To Your Life
As you can see, rush hour traffic can be a huge issue for anyone driving in and around the city. It can add hundreds of hours of wasted time per year when you add it all up.
Understanding Denver's traffic problem areas can help you save a lot of time and get valuable time added back to your life. Not to mention the decreased chances you will be in an accident if you can minimize the time you spend in Denver's traffic.