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What qualifies an intersection as "dangerous"?

darnoldy

Cyburbian
Messages
50
Points
4
Cyburbians-

Maybe its not an answerable question... or I haven't asked it right. But you folks seem to know a lot of stuff.

Is there a commonly-accepted threshold, above which one can no longer simply write off accidents as "failure to yield" or "driver inattention" and need to take a look at roadway design?

--don
 

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
Messages
6,333
Points
24
Cyburbians-

Maybe its not an answerable question... or I haven't asked it right. But you folks seem to know a lot of stuff.

Is there a commonly-accepted threshold, above which one can no longer simply write off accidents as "failure to yield" or "driver inattention" and need to take a look at roadway design?

--don
Many factors. Textbooks and liability would state intersections that do not meet generally accepted standards established by the USDOT / USFHWA, and in california, intersections not meeting design standards established by Caltrans and/or the jurisdiction. I never call an intersection "dangerous". It's too much lability. It's kinda like calling vehicle collisions "accidents". It assumes someone or something is at fault, when they may have been no fault at all other than God.
 

darnoldy

Cyburbian
Messages
50
Points
4
Okay...

So, I live at the intersection of two 25-mph streets, the E-W street has stop signs. In the seven months that I've been here, there have been seven collisions at this intersection, that I know of. This seems excessive to me (as a non-professional). Most have been between cars going eastbound and southbound. I think the city should explore changes to the intersection to reduce the incidence of collisions. So far, their response has been that the streets meet " design standards" and shouldn't be having any collisions.

--don
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,021
Points
30
That's the standard answer. The bigger question, is the 7 accidents just a recent thing. Sometimes you get a run of idiots, but they have now learned to stop at the stop sign. Does the intersection have high accident counts compared to others in the city? Is 7 considered normal for the city? Is the accident just a fender bender or is injury/death involved? Other considerations: is there a lot of cut through traffic for some reason? Is the stop sign obscured somehow? Why are people not stopping like they should? Maybe having the police hang out a little and up the tickets would help? Are the oncoming cars visible?

The sad answer, you live on local neighborhood streets. Beyond a stop sign there isn't much that can be done without spending a lot of city resources on what amounts to a small problem. Sorry, it sounds mean, but consider the big picture of the city. Local streets are not often a big picture problem. If you have a good community association of some kind you might be able to work with the city to raise money for some traffic calming devices if speed is a problem. It involves some fundraising, and please think beyond speed bumps. They are ugly and not as effective as other methods like curb bump outs. The most you can expect the city to do would be put up more stop signs which doesn't do much if people are already running them.
 

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
Messages
6,333
Points
24
Okay...

So, I live at the intersection of two 25-mph streets, the E-W street has stop signs. In the seven months that I've been here, there have been seven collisions at this intersection, that I know of. This seems excessive to me (as a non-professional). Most have been between cars going eastbound and southbound. I think the city should explore changes to the intersection to reduce the incidence of collisions. So far, their response has been that the streets meet " design standards" and shouldn't be having any collisions.

--don
A good place to start is a SWITRS report. You can obtain that from the CHP and that should go back a few years. Sounds like a residential street merging onto a collector / arterial, and unfortuantely driver error probably is the main cause of collisions (turning movements) versus the actual intersection design.
 

Coragus

Cyburbian
Messages
1,288
Points
23
We have an intersection that had five severe crashes in five years, including one fatality. That qualified as dangerous and the state DOT is redesigning the intersection.
 

darnoldy

Cyburbian
Messages
50
Points
4
Thank you, all for your responses.

@dvdneal--those are all really good questions. It was, I think, mostly the unresponsiveness and incuriosity of the city staff that bothered me...

I have had a response to my follow-up email (that may be in part due to the fact that I cc'd the city mgr, city attorney, and mayor in that one).

They sent me a new report that still doesn't show any of the 7 accidents since last September--but I suspect that is just latency in the data.

They are doing a "stop sign survey"-- they laid out the cables for it on Friday. We'll see what happens.

I suspect that this is a sight-line issue, and $5 of red paint applied to 25' of curb will fix it. We'll see if the come to a similar conclusion.

--don
 
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