Even though a 2019 study determined no traffic light is warranted at the intersection of 700 South and 100 East in Logan, concerns about safety at the blind corner there are not going away.
An online petition calling for more traffic control at the location received 328 signatures in one day this week, and a resident behind the push is meeting with city officials next Monday armed with accident statistics from the intersection.
Carlie Swenson lives and works in the area and makes sure her children never cross the street there. The intersection, just south of the Riverwoods apartment complex, has through-traffic on 100 East with a two-way stop sign for vehicles on 700 South. Cars traveling north arrive at the intersection just a few hundred feet after rounding a curve shielded by trees.
“The amount of time that we as citizens have witnessed other citizens as pedestrians get hit right there, and car accidents, and close-call accidents, it’s just ridiculous,” Swenson said. “For drivers coming around the curve heading northbound on First East, that intersection kind of creeps up on you. You don’t know there is a pedestrian there or a car there until it’s too late. It’s just such a huge blind spot. It’s just incredibly concerning.”
In an appeal for signatures on Facebook and Change.org, Swenson noted the latest accident involving a pedestrian occurred just this week. However, it turned out that was actually a situation where a pedestrian fell on his own and was injured.
Still, the frequency of accidents and near-accidents at the site has been an ongoing concern for Swenson and her neighbors.
“Hearing about that incident lit a fire under me, but regardless of what happened on Monday, it’s still super dangerous and people do get hit and almost hit while trying to cross, so it wouldn’t change my want for traffic lights to be out there,” she said.
According to Logan police data, there have been 14 accidents in the intersection over the past five years — one fatal and three others resulting in injuries. The fatal accident was the result of a two-car crash in which a vehicle accelerating from one of the stop signs hit a passing car. Of the other injury accidents, one involved a bicyclist getting hit by a car and two involved pedestrians hit while crossing 100 East.
After the fatal accident in September 2018, a “warrant study” was conducted on the intersection in accordance with procedures set down by the National Highway Administration for determining the need for traffic signals.
“A warrant study determines what type of traffic control should be used at a given intersection,” Logan Public Works Director Paul Lindhardt said, “and at that time the warrant study recommended a two-way stop configuration. It did not warrant a four-way stop or a traffic signal.”
Lindhardt added, however, that concerns about pedestrian safety did prompt the city to install special signage on 100 East. This included button-activated flashing pedestrian signs at the crosswalk and a permanently flashing pedestrian-crossing sign around the curve and intended to be seen by northbound traffic.
“Due to the configuration of the road and the curves, our city engineer reached out to the local office of the Federal Highway Administration and just said, ‘Hey, are there other things we can do here to increase the safety of this intersection if a signal is not warranted,’ and that’s when we made some changes out there with some additional signage,” Lindhardt said.
Lindhardt has been in contact with Carlie Swenson and indicated he welcomes a chance to meet with her and discuss concerns and options.
“There’s no question that the curvature makes it more difficult than a typical intersection,” he said. “If there is any outlying factor that the warrant study didn’t cover, we can look at that.”
Asked if traffic volume might have increased since the study, thereby necessitating a new analysis of the situation, Lindhardt responded, “I think it would be good to update the warrant study and see if there have been any changes.”
Swenson said her goal in circulating the petition and meeting with the city is to convince decisionmakers of the need for either a traffic light or four-way stop.
“I am just hoping there’s a bigger push and that we are able to get the Federal Highway Administration to understand how dangerous this intersection is,” she said.