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Report: 337 accidents at 12 Manchester intersections in 2 years

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

August 13. 2018 11:27PM
Two vehicles crashed at the corner of Beech and Orange streets in Manchester in March. Officials have concerns about several intersections along the Maple, Beech and Union street corridors. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER File)



MANCHESTER — Three hundred and thirty-seven accidents were reported between 2015 and 2017 at 12 intersections along the Maple, Beech, and Union street corridors between Webster and Bridge streets in Manchester, according to an advance copy of a report compiled by city public works and police staff.

City aldermen are scheduled to hear a presentation on the report during a meeting of the Aldermanic Committee on Public Safety, Health and Traffic Tuesday at City Hall. The meeting is scheduled to start “immediately following” a 5 p.m. meeting of the Committee on Administration and Information Systems.

City public works staff were asked to take a close look at accident and speed data in the Maple and Beech street area in an effort to draft options to address safety concerns in the area.

After hosting two neighborhood meetings earlier this year at the Currier Museum on the topic of dangerous driving conditions near the museum, Ward 2 Alderman Will Stewart asked fellow aldermen to direct Department of Public Works staff to study traffic on Maple and Beech streets between Bridge and Webster streets. Stewart also requested that staff “propose safety and operational alternatives within the study area,” using input from the police, planning, health, economic development and other city departments.

Back in March, public works personnel told the aldermen that traffic counts conducted at the intersection of Maple and Sagamore streets show installation of a traffic signal at that location is not warranted.

Maple Street

Traffic counts for Maple Street show average daily traffic volumes ranging from 4,400-5,400 vehicles per day. Between 2015 and 2017, 84 crashes were reported along the Maple Street corridor, with the intersection of Maple and Bridge streets reporting the highest number of crashes at 21. Of the 84 crashes, 37 — or 44 percent — occurred at the signalized intersections of Webster, Blodget, and Bridge streets. The most common crash factors at these locations were ‘running the red light’ and ‘rear end’ collisions.

Of the total number of crashes, 23 involved vehicles heading northbound on Maple Street attempting to turn left from the right lane. At the intersection of Salmon Street and Maple Street there were seven crashes caused by eastbound traffic not yielding the right-of-way to vehicles on Maple Street.

Five of these ran the stop sign and two stopped and did not see any northbound traffic approaching.

Beech Street

Between 2015 and 2017, 102 crashes were reported along the Beech Street corridor. Of these, 37 — or 36 percent — occurred at the signalized intersections of Webster, Blodget, and Bridge streets. The most common crash factors at these locations were ‘running the red light’ and ‘rear end’ collisions.

Of the 102 crashes, 23 involved vehicles headed southbound on Beech Street attempting to turn from the wrong lane.

Twenty-six percent of vehicles that ran a stop sign or failed to yield at unsignalized intersections on Beech Street were where parked cars can block the stopping sight distance on Beech Street.

At the intersection of Salmon Street and Beech Street there were seven crashes caused by eastbound traffic not yielding right-of-way to Beech Street. Two of the vehicles involved ran the stop sign and five stopped and did not see any southbound traffic approaching.

Union Street

From 2015 to 2017, 151 crashes were reported along Union Street. Of those, 32 percent — or 49 crashes — occurred at the signalized intersections of Webster and Bridge streets. The most common crash types at these locations were ‘running a red light,’ ‘rear end collisions’ and ‘left-turning traffic failing to yield to oncoming vehicles.’

Of the 151 crashes, 72 percent involved right-angle crashes where vehicles ran a red light or failed to stop or yield the right-of-way at a stop-controlled intersection. At the intersection of Salmon Street and Union Street there were 28 crashes caused by eastbound traffic not yielding the right-of-way to vehicles on Union Street.

The report suggests mitigation options ranging from replacing signal heads to improve visibility, replacing standard stop signs with LED flashing stop signs at locations where a high number of vehicles run the stop sign, such as Salmon Street, and putting lane-use arrows on pavement at locations where vehicles are turning from the wrong lane.

The report also mentions installing ‘Left Turn Yield on Green’ signs at Union and Bridge streets intersection to reinforce yielding behavior, and adding a double yellow center line on Union Street at all approaches to stop-controlled intersections.

According to the report, ‘next steps’ include identifying funding sources to replace signal heads — at an estimated cost of $30,000 for seven intersections — and to install vehicle-activated blinking stop signs at an estimated cost of $12,000 for three locations.

The report can be viewed below:



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