Our Most Dangerous Intersections

Further to the discussion of newly-legal red light cameras, Brendan Fitzgerald wrote in last week’s C-Ville Weekly about the most dangerous intersections in town, complete with a snazzy Google map of hotspots. The really alarming number comes from Ivy Road (250 West once it ceases to be bypass) and Richmond Road (250 East post-bypass), in both cases within a quarter mile of the bypass — they’re up from 97 crashes in ’04 to 341 in ’06. (Two thirds of that came on the west end.) Unless traffic is up 350% in that period, that seems strange.

I really wish that Charlottesville and Albemarle Police would provide metadata from incident reports on their websites, as I’ve lamented before. C-Ville‘s Google map should be able to draw on regularly-updated incident data to dynamically assess what is the most dangerous intersection in the past week, month, or year, but the data’s just not there.

11 thoughts on “Our Most Dangerous Intersections”

  1. I thought this article was mis-named. Do more crashes make a deadlier intersection, or is it the number of fatalities or serious injuries? For example, most urban intersections have far more accidents than rural roads, but they are mostly rear-enders at red lights. On the other hand, head-on collisions at speed kill.

  2. You know I cant imagine the situation on either end of 250 getting any better. I remember reading a quote by Kevin Lynch in a Cville Weekly from a few weeks ago where he said that the projections have the 250 bypass gridlocked by 2015. It all kind of brings you back to the transportation debate in Richmond, the “compromise” package, and if it really does us any good.

  3. It’s tough to know how dangerous that these intersections really are without knowing how many vehicles pass through them in the same period.

  4. Oh, and Loki, I’m glad you posted those links — I always welcome the opportunity to remind people that site exists. It’s brilliant. I wish the police will follow suit and emulate it for their services.

    Eventually I’ll get around to mashing that site up with a Google Map to provide a visual indicator of the work done by fire and rescue.

  5. Yesterday around noon, a herd of motorcycle cops were pulling people running the E High/250 bypass light. One of my tenants turned onto E High from Free Bridge on the tail end of the yellow light and won herself a $156 ticket. First time she’s ever done that. She said there were quite a few cars getting ticketed.

    Perhaps they’ll be doing the same at Rio Rd/29 soon?

  6. I’m puzzled by the hot-spot at 250/Richmond Road–what is so tricky about driving there? There are lights, lanes, signs, everything you would need in order to figure out how to get on/off the Bypass…sigh. I use that intersection every work day.

  7. I’m puzzled by the hot-spot at 250/Richmond Road–what is so tricky about driving there?

    The Idiots tailgate during rush hour afternoon traffic. Right around the light at the Peter Jefferson intersection they also get pretty aggressive, because up until that point they’ve been focusing on trying to get to the front of the line (remember straight and wide also means the opportunity to speed) and it’s right around that light they also realize they’re in the wrong lane for where ever it is they’re going. So as a result they aren’t paying attention when someone pulls up short because they don’t want to run the Yellow- and wham! That’s when you get the accident/crash.

    All of the accidents I’ve driven past up there have happened right at the Peter Jefferson Traffic light.

  8. Waldo, traffic out 250 West really has increased that much — or at least by my eye & experience (which is admittedly not a scientific report).

    I live in Fry Springs, I work on 250 West about a 1/2 mi. beyond the Bypass. There is no bus service to that place, so I drive–it’s a 3.9 mile drive by my odometer, taking Fontaine to Bypass to 250. 10 years ago, that trip took me no more than 6 minutes. This past month, I’ve been in traffic for 18 minutes or longer.

    The two lights at 250 W & the Bypass and the one light at Bel Air & Ivy Rd. were supposed to help prevent accidents, but they seem to be having a neglible or even worsening effect: Traffic can back up for a half-mile or more on either side of those three lights, making drivers both coming off the bypass and trying to reach the bypass impatient.

    Going Westbound in the morning is a PITA. One of those lights–the Bypass South to 250 W cloverleaf light–is tripped whenever someone comes around that exit, making all the cars who have been waiting to turn left from the Northbound lane and the ones travelling West on Ivy from the University area pile up and wait. The furthest light at Bel Air seems wholly uncoordinated with the other two on the Bypass bridge, further exacerbating the problem. I found myself idling in the middle of the intersection through 2 full light changes yesterday praying that no one would broadside me.

    Going Eastbound in the evening isn’t a treat either. Some days it takes me 7 minutes just to turn left out of the parking lot, and then I’m frequently using the eastbound “suicide” (read: left-turn) lane when there’s a break in one direction.

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