For the second straight year, back-to-back intersections top the Charlotte Department of Transportation's list for the highest crash rate in the city.
The Ninth Street/College Street and Eighth Street/College intersections again rank No. 1 and 2, respectively, with 12th Street/College also making the top 10 for crash rates in 2007.
“The problem is that we're not seeing any clear patterns that we can treat,” said Charles Jones, a CDOT traffic safety manager. “It's kind of a mix of different crashes.”
Ninth/College was the only intersection in Charlotte with a crash rate, which calculates the number of collisions per million of vehicles that pass through an intersection, of more than 3 in 2007. The intersection's crash rate reached 3.63, with Eighth/College at 2.98. The intersections combined for 15 crashes, but had a higher rate because of the lower amount of vehicle volume.
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Pineville-Matthews Road/Providence Road had the highest number of total wrecks last year in Charlotte with 57.
On College, Jones said, a number of factors contribute to the problem. Much of the area around Ninth/College and Eighth/College is undeveloped, which keeps people from slowing or stopping.
Construction on College Street toward the center city also often leaves motorists frustrated, Jones said.
“People get jammed up between (Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) and Seventh (street) with all that construction,” he said. “Once they get past Seventh, it opens up again and that's when they really get on it and try to head out of town.”
As a whole, College Street's crash rates improved from the 2006 numbers, when five intersections on the street made the top 30.
Much of the street is undergoing some changes to improve safety. Many of the intersections have or will get larger 12-inch red, yellow and green traffic signal heads. The heads have new LED technology that's brighter and easier to see. A couple of years ago, the city removed a crosswalk at Eighth/College that some people confused for a four-way stop, while motorists on College have no stop sign or light at that intersection.
Jones also hopes future development of the area helps, while CDOT searches for other remedies.
“We're constantly looking at ways to improve safety,” Jones said.