The Investigators

Feb 9, 2014 11:59 PM by Nichole Szemerei

Tucson's riskiest intersections

Within city limits, there were nine intersections that stood out as the most accident prone in the past three years. The question is why and what's being done to fix it?

We calculated the numbers from 2011 to 2013 and out of the nine intersections that made the list, the top four for all three years combined are as follows:

Alvernon and Grant - 128 crashes
Broadway and Wilmot - 112 crashes
Golf Links and Kolb - 102 crashes
Speedway and Wilmot - 94 crashes

If you do the math, within the intersection of Alvernon and Grant, that's one accident about every 8 days.

Drivers know these intersections are dangerous.

"It's kind of scary. Especially that one over there where there's double lanes."

"Yes, this one and actually the one on 22nd is very, very dangerous. You have to pay total attention at all times, or you're in trouble."

22nd and Kolb is in fact on the list, with 60 accidents in the past three years.

"Kolb and Broadway."

Making the list as well, at a total of 40.

So what makes these intersections so dangerous?

"I don't know if it's the amount of traffic? I'm new to Tucson, been here 4 years, so I'm not sure what can be done, but yes, it's kind of crazy."

Can anything be done about it?

"I have no idea. Get some new city planners, that's for damn sure!"

I talked to both the Tucson Department of Transportation, as well as the Tucson Police Department to see what the problem is. Michael Graham with the city, says there are more than 100,000 vehicles traveling through these intersections per day.

"When you have that amount of vehicles going through an intersection in a day, the potential for conflicts is there," says Graham.

Why hasn't something been changed to accommodate for the high volume? Can you change the design?

"It's a matter of getting people to find other modes of transportation. You can't, we're almost at a footprint where we can't go any bigger with the intersections."

The city has changed the lights. Engineers are hoping more green time will help.

"If you look at the entire day, it lowers the amount of red lights that are at that intersection," says Graham.

TPD has found the biggest issue is with left turns and speeding. The department says it is trying to figure out the best way to slow people down other than heightening patrol, which it plans to do.

"There is nothing set in stone, but the red light cameras, like a portable red light camera is one of the things that was brought up. Our biggest thing is we want to evaluate what's the most effective thing that we can do to make sure we limit or mitigate accidents that occur in the intersection," says Officer Brandon Tatum.

Both the city and TPD agree the number one issue lies with drivers.

"Traffic laws are there for a reason, to protect people, to keep people safe. Don't speed, don't run red lights, don't text while driving," says Graham.

"Be a defensive driver. When you're going through the intersection, you may do everything right, you may do your left turns right and may go at appropriate speeds, but you always have to watch out for other drivers," says Tatum.

Here's a closer look at the numbers:

If you have something you'd like News 4 to investigate, email or call 955-4444.


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