Letters to the Editor

Letter | Accident at 40th, 86th was waiting to happen

Today (Friday, Jan. 21) around 12:30, I witnessed the aftermath of an accident at S.E. 40th Street and 86th Avenue S.E., where the newish traffic signal is. Although I didn’t witness the accident, the damage on the cars involved suggested that a car turning south onto 86th from westbound 40th was hit by a car traveling east on 40th.

This has been an accident just waiting to happen. The sight lines looking west on 40th are very poor, so that it’s difficult to see an eastbound car approaching. In addition, this intersection has been made much less efficient than the previous four-way stop (where I don’t think there was ever an accident). The timing during certain times of the day, especially for cars northbound on 86th, means they sit for at least two minutes, even on weekends and when no cars are coming on 40th. I think that part of the rationale for the light was to help move traffic at the end of the school day. Well, it doesn’t work — the back-ups are as bad as they ever were.

This intersection is just one more failure on the city’s part to alleviate traffic problems. This particular intersection needs better timing as well as a left-turn signal (a dedicated left-turn/green) for westbound traffic. The intersections in the central business district on 27th Street at 77th and 78th Avenues need the signals promised for months. And of course the disastrous ICW/44th/Merrimount intersection needs correction, preferably the road-diet so cavalierly tossed aside by the City Council. These fixes were in the budget long ago. What’s taking so long?

Robert K. Clark

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