Signs not stopping accidents at high-collision intersections

Dear editor,

It's been less than one hour since I was just a couple of cars away from being involved in a car accident at Ryan and Lerwick.

Dear editor,

It’s 4:30 p.m. on April 9. It’s been less than one hour since I was just a couple of cars away from being involved in a car accident at Ryan and Lerwick.

Instead, I got to see one up close and personal. I’ve had time to pick up my son from Mark R. Isfeld school, make it home, then hug my family. Now that I’ve stopped shaking and have a bit more control over my thoughts, I think it’s time to get to work on putting something down on paper.

First, I hope that the unfortunate people involved in that accident are OK. I know that it will take me awhile to get the sound and images out of my head but I have no doubt that those more directly involved than I was will have to deal with much more than just that.

I keep thinking about all the kids walking home from school who could have been right there on that curb when the pickup spun out of control over it.

This will be yet another news story tomorrow morning on the radio and will make it into the local papers later in the week. Just like the accident I drove past between the pickup truck and the motorcycle a couple of weeks ago at the same intersection.

Unfortunately, those signs as you approach the intersection that warn of the high collision rate here don’t seem to stop accidents from happening, like I am assuming they are supposed to. Or are they there to protect the City from any liability issues when the accidents that city planners know are going to happen do happen?

They’ve warned us that there are problems here, so now the onus is on us to just be more careful. Well, while I agree that attention has to be paid not only here but at any intersection in town, I don’t think it’s acceptable for a problem intersection to be identified and then just left to its own devices.

If there is a high-collision intersection, it is high because of issues either with traffic light timings, lines of vision, or traffic volume. So is there no one of the educated, trained, and well-paid City staff capable of not just warning about the danger here but actually fixing it?

While I don’t have a degree in city planning or traffic calming, I do like to think that I’m practical and capable of good judgment. Here are a couple of suggestions that you might want to consider:

1. Have traffic cameras installed at this intersection, just like the ones at the 17th Street Bridge. Although I am careful about stopping when a light turns yellow or red at any intersection anyway, this one always makes me very conscious of doing so.

If people are worried about getting a ticket if they run a yellow or red, then you will find many fewer will be doing it. Another advantage is, if and when all of these accidents take place, at least there will be video footage of exactly what happened.

2. Don’t allow any turning unless there is a specific left-hand turn signal. After the turn signal is done, only let traffic go straight. The turn lanes are placed so that you can’t see something coming until it’s too late. I’ve seen chances being taken because you think there’s a bigger gap in the traffic than there really is.

3. Consider installing metal guard rails (you know the kind, they look like metal pipes) along the edge of the sidewalk so that, when all these accidents are happening, at least pedestrians will have some sort of protection from all of this speeding metal.

I guess that’s all I can say for now, until the next accident I come across. And you just know there will be more, especially with the new hospital being built nearby, leading to more pedestrians and more vehicle traffic.

The time to fix this mess is right now before it gets worse. In the meantime, I’ll be taking alternate routes through more residential areas to try and decrease the odds of being killed on my way home from work.

Irene Dworschak,


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