Survey pinpoints the city’s accident hotspots

Highway 152 from Monterey Road to San Ysidro Avenue sees the highest concentration of accidents in Gilroy.

The most dangerous intersection in town is the one on Murray Avenue and Leavesley Road with 35 collisions, including three DUIs and one involving a pedestrian, according to a report released during a special city council study session.

Out of the top 10 dangerous intersections in Gilroy, six are found along State Route 152 from data collected between 2102 and 2016 by the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System.

The report, compiled by the Hexagon Transportation Consultants, found that during that time frame 175 collisions occurred at intersections along Highway 152. Among the most dangerous intersections include Welburn Avenue and Monterey Road, Camino Arroyo and Pacheco Pass Highway, Miller Avenue and First Street and Church Street and First Street.

The heaviest concentration of accidents occurred from between the intersections of Welburn Avenue and Monterey and the Highway 101 off ramp at San Ysidro Avenue a half mile stretch of road that has seen 99 accidents from 2012 and 2016, according to Jeff Elia, Vice President of Hexagon Transportation.

The study reported that no fatalities occurred at any of the listed intersections but three severe injuries occurred at the intersection of Chestnut and Tenth streets and two severe injuries at Camino Arroyo and Pacheco Pass Highway.

The intersection with the highest rate of collisions, based on crashes per million vehicles entering the intersection, are the intersections of Santa Teresa Boulevard and Longmeadow Drive and Miller Avenue and First Street where each sees .65 collisions for every million cars entering the intersection. Murray Avenue and Leavesley Road, which topped the report for total crashes, witnessed .55 collisions per every million cars entering the intersection.

The safest intersection studied was Santa Teresa Boulevard and Day Road East which only sees .06 crashes per every million cars entering the intersection.

At Leavesley Road and Murray Avenue, 51 percent of accidents were rear-ended collisions, while 20 percent consisted of head-on and broadside collisions resulting in 16 injury accidents. Reasons listed for the high rate of accidents are the location of gas stations, high peak morning and afternoon traffic, impeded traffic from the Highway 101 ramp and the lack of lane line extension marking.

Among the potential measures to reduce collisions at the intersection include better lane marking, more police presence, reduced speed, moving the speed limit sign closer to Forest Street and to lengthen and to make other changes that will keep traffic flowing during peak traffic hours.

The report, which is available in the City of Gilroy’s website, lists in detail recommendations on how to reduce crashes in the listed intersections.

At the intersection of Chestnut Street and Tenth Street, which had three severe accidents, 35 percent of collisions were either head-on or broadside and one collision was with a pedestrian. Six of the eight head-on or broadside crashes involved northbound vehicles, including three collisions with cross street traffic. The pedestrian collision appears to be caused by a pedestrian that failed to follow pedestrian traffic signals at the intersection, according to the report.

Factors contributing to accidents at Chestnut Street and Tenth Street include problems with signaling, worn pavement striping and marking and high rates of traffic from Highway 101 in part due to access to car dealerships and industrial vehicle traffic.

Hexagon Transportation Consultants, a San Jose based traffic and engineering consultant firm, conducted the study in the spring and early summer, using data collected from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System which tracks reported accidents from state and local police departments.

“I think it’s a very good report but we need to think about how we’re going to implement these fixes,” said Mayor Roland Velasco.

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