Most Dangerous Intersections in Texas See Improvements
It’s good news for drivers in Austin – 4 of the most dangerous intersections could be safer than they were just one year ago.
Traffic is often top of mind for Austinites. It’s no accident that “Transportation” was voted “the worst thing about Austin” in a 2016 poll conducted by the Austin Monitor.
While the city isn’t alone in traffic woes (see this report that maps more dangerous intersections in Houston) it still has more than its fair share of 4-wheeleed disaster.
279 Intersections in Texas See More than 48 Crashes from 2012 to 2015
Using data from TxDoT data spanning 2012 to 2015, the report found 279 intersections in Texas to have been the scene of 40 or more crashes. 19 of the top 50 most dangerous intersections can be found in Houston. You can find 6 of the dangerous intersections in the greater Austin area.
Some of the worst offenders have seen improvements since then – and so far the data looks good.
$3 million in improvements were made to the city’s five high priority intersections. Four intersections already redesigned with new safety controls are giving those at the Austin Transportation Department some early good news to share.
The improvements made, turn islands, upgraded crosswalks, medians, and pedestrian hybrid beacons, have decreased the number of crashes at high priority intersections by as much as 61%.
So far, the most dramatic decrease in crashes occurred at I-35 and MLK, with 61% fewer crashes. Close behind crashes decreased by 57% at 183 and Cameron Rd.
At Lamar and Parmer, crashes decreased by 43%, and 22% at Lamar between Rutland and Rundberg.
Austin’s 6 Most Car-Accident Prone Intersections
We’ve investigated the info on the most dangerous intersections and read the article by the Texas personal injury attorney so you don’t have to. Here’s what we found:
- 183A + Whitestone Blvd | Cedar Park 120 crashes If you think Austin has grown, Cedar Park has exploded over the last 30 years. A new toll road was built for commuters to skip the old stretch of 183. But data shows that you might be safer taking the old route home. With nearby shopping centers on both sides, the Cedar Park Center (now HEB Center) and huge sprawling neighborhoods, this intersections is a major throughfare that’s unavoidable for most in Cedar Park.
- Butler Rd + Lamar Blvd | Austin 69 crashes – This intersections is almost a must-pass for anyone who works downtown and lives South. So if your buddy needs to take a left across this intersection’s 6 lanes of unprotected turn – just say “no.”
- Riverside Dr + S Pleasant Valley Rd | Austin 68 crashes – 68 crashes occurred in this Southeast Austin intersection. Surrounded by roundabouts and 6 lanes across, this intersection is big, and weird like Austin. Avoid this one on your commute (and on Sundays with the massive HEB+ nearby.
- Lamar Blvd + Parmer Lane | Austin 56 crashes – Just off of I-35, this intersection was the scene of at least one fatal crash in 2015. It was also named in City Council’s list of 2015 most dangerous intersections, where proposals to modify intersections totaled more than $3.8 million. Not only that – but it was number 1 on Austin’s list in 2012. Continue reading to see what improvements may be made to this intersection.
- S Lakeline Blvd + W Whitestone Blvd | Cedar Park 54 crashes – 7 lanes of traffic means a lot of mayhem for this Cedar Park intersection. What used to be a sleepy road ideal for a springtime motorcycle ride is now 7 lanes across to accommodate for expansive traffic on the way out to Jonestown and Lago Vista
- Riverside + Willow Creek | Austin 51 crashes – “Don’t Block the Box” takes on new meaning when you’re crossing this intersection.
Austin’s Car Accidents: Causing Need for City Reform
If you’ve been in Austin for any period of time, you may realize we are constantly asking what’s next for Austin’s transportation (problem.) Not a whole lot has changed over Austin’s 30+ years of growth, but Mayor Adler even called 2016 “The Year of Mobility.”
Announced in August of 2016, a look back on Austin’s “Year of Mobility” recalls the city wide vote for a transportation bond, a commitment to reduce single ride commutes, and Austin Don’t Rush day. See what made that year one of the biggest in addressing Austin’s transportation issues.
Facts About Austin’s Transportation Bond
- $720 million will be spent on transportation and mobility
- It is estimated that the bond will cost average taxpayers an additional $5 per month
- Critics argue that the bond does not address critical public transportation needs
- All projects proposed in the transportation bond include improvements to some of Austin’s major roads.
- 4 City Council Members voted against the bond.
Since the transportation bond doesn’t lay out infrastructure for a light rail, what does it do? Most of the bond money ($482 million) goes toward eight major roads in Austin. The remaining bond money would extend plans already in place, including the Sidewalk Master Plan and the Urban Trails Master Plan.
8 Major Roads to See Improvements in Austin
- North Lamar Blvd
- South Lamar Blvd
- Burnet Road
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd FM 969
- Guadalupe St
- East Riverside Dr.
- Airport Blvd
- William Cannon Drive/ Slaughter Lane
Improvements, yes. But what kind of improvements? The city isn’t talking pot holes or repainting lines though -yes- there will be improvements like that too. The city wants to move more streets into smart corridors they say will reduce car accidents.
The fourth intersection to see improvements is possibly the most deserving. The intersection between Lamar Blvd and Parmer Lane will see a $650,000 improvement in the shape of a right-turn island, high visibility cross walks, and a new traffic signal with a pedestrian hybrid beacon. Across Austin city planners have added a laundry list of improvements to make roadways safer those who use them. Pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists are all accounted for when designing roadway improvements.
Take Guadalupe – a high traffic street for both cars and pedestrians. On a typical day throngs of students crowd at the side of intersections waiting for a walk signal while cars, buses, and mopeds pile up to travel north and south. The problems don’t just occur by shear volume of foot traffic and automobile traffic. Issues truly arise when an entire lane is blocked by one vehicle turning left. Issues that can be addressed by installing a medium between the two lanes so that drivers are prohibited from turning left. Plus there’s the additional technology that would be added if voters approve the proposed transportation bond.
City planners are looking to approve something called “adaptive signal control” to time the streets. In a street with the new technology, a driver’s red light signal would change so that wait times at stop lights where there’s no traffic coming in the opposite direction. Proponents of the bond say that improvements would reduce clogging, reduce car accidents or protect pedestrians through smarter parking options or protected bike lanes.
Ultimately it’s up to the voters to decide whether adaptive signal control and protected bike lanes would improve their commute. Read on to later in this post for how to maneuver around bicyclists in intersections for a safe commute.
Finding Austin’s Most Accident Prone Intersection
There’s only one crossover between Austin’s 6 Most Car Accident Prone Intersections and Austin Transportation’s Most Dangerous Intersections: Lamar Blvd and Parmer Lane. In 2012, it was the most common place to be in a car accident (with 34 crashes.) That year it was the number one most dangerous intersection.
And in 2015, it was identified as one of Austin’s most dangerous intersections. 2015 set Austin’s record for the highest number of traffic fatalities. While transportation experts weren’t able to say “why” they were able to point to “where.” This research resulted in identifying five of Austin’s Most Dangerous Intersections in terms of traffic fatalities.
Austin Transportation Department’s List of Most Dangerous Intersections
- West Slaughter Lane and Manchaca Road;
- Lamar Boulevard and Rundberg Lane;
- Lamar Boulevard and Parmer Lane;
- U.S. 183 Service Road and Cameron Road;
- I-35 Service Road Southbound and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The city developed plans to change each of these intersections. Could it be a safer place to drive, with fewer car accidents in 2017?
No matter your commute to work in Austin (unless you work from home) there’s one thing that’s clear. There’s no love for the daily rush in Austin, TX.
Bicycling through Austin’s Most Dangerous Intersections
Until Austin’s most dangerous intersections can be updated for alternative modes of transportation and cars, it’s important for drivers to watch out while approaching and crossing intersections. Bicyclists are often hit while crossing intersections. This is because of all the dangers that are posed to riders as they approach a cross section, whether it be a stop sign or a stop light.
Three reasons why cyclists into accidents in intersections:
- The first big challenge for cyclists is remaining in visible sight of the traffic they’re riding alongside. Often times the driver of a motor vehicle may have a right turn coming up and forget to check their blind spot, thus turning right in front of or even into the unsuspecting bicyclist. That is why it’s important for cyclists to maintain a relative riding speed to the traffic if possible and always sport reflective gear or lights when possible. Any bit of notice for a vehicle can be the difference between making it to your destination and taking a trip to the emergency room.
- Another challenged faced is the intersecting traffic that may not be looking for or expecting a cyclist. If a light has just changed then often times some last minute traffic stragglers will attempt to quickly make the last second of a light and even end up running it, without stopping to look for what is coming. That is when cyclists will commonly be struck by a negligent vehicle and could be serious injured or even killed.
- One of the last threats to a cyclist at an intersection is their own blind spot while approaching a corner. Often times they may be turning right and have a difficult time seeing which traffic is exactly headed their way. If a motor vehicle happens to drift into the bike lane while crossing an intersection, even for a moment, it could spell disaster for the rider. Although bright reflective gear and noticeable riding lights are encouraged, there is no guarantee that the driver will get the signals before it is too late.
If you are cycling through the city and approaching an intersection, be sure to take caution and remember these hazards.
Infographic | USA: Most Car Accident Fatalities in the World
In an evaluation of 20 developed nations, the CDC and WHO report that U.S.A. has taken a tragic “gold” in traffic fatalities and injuries. Based on several factors, including speed of car, intoxicated driving, and seat belt use, American drivers are more at risk for being involved in an injury accident or traffic fatality.
Settlements: Experienced Car Accident Attorneys Secure Illegal Turn Settlement
$2,030,000 Award to an Austin Man struck by vehicle making illegal turn A car illegally turning left in an intersection crashed into oncoming vehicles.
$1,080,000 Recovered; Car Underrode Truck Trailer
Deceased's vehicle underrode a commercial truck's trailer blocking his lane on the highway. Jason McMinn represented the deceased's spouse, on behalf of the estate, negotiating the $1.8 million settlement, providing $702,000 to the deceased's family and estate. more about this case, including coverage by American Association of Justice.
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