Top 10 worst intersections in Kent

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style=”color:#0000FF;text-align:left”>Map of high-accident

intersections in a larger map

The city of Kent is hoping to make intersections around town a little safer for residents.

The Kent Police Department released its 36-month high-accident intersections data from 2009-2011, with the intersection of State Route 261 and Franklin and Sunnybrook avenues being number one.

Jim Bowling, Kent city engineer, said the city looks at updated accident data on a regular basis and is in the process of working on 16 of the worst 32 intersections in Kent, though they are in different phases of repair.

“The whole reason we are doing this construction project that’s now its fourth year is because of safety concerns,” Bowling said.

Top 10 locations

1. State Route 261/Franklin and Sunnybrook Ave

2. South Water St/Bowman Cherry

3. South Water/Summit

4. North Mantua/Fairchild

5. East Main/Horning

6. East Main/Lincoln

7. State Route 261/Mogadore

8. State Route 261/Summit

9. East Main/Midway

v10. Summit/Lincoln

Intersections currently being fixed by the city

  • Mantua and Fairchild
  • Water and Crain/Lake
  • SR 59 project (includes intersections with Horning, Lincoln, Midway, Water, Depeyster and Luther/Terrace)
  • Summit Street improvement project (currently in design phase, construction to start in 2014) (will include five intersections including Terrace)
  • SR 43 signal improvements (will include three intersections) (currently in the planning phase)

Worst intersection podcast

An overview of the intersection repair projects.

The data, which was released earlier this year, does not include any of the new traffic signal synchronization systems installed in the city.

Bowling said he thinks many of the accidents at these intersections are traffic related.

The more cars—the more accidents,” Bowling said.

But that isn’t the case at every intersection that made the police department’s list of top 32 worst intersections.

“For instance (State route) 261,” Bowling said, “The problem isn’t the amount of traffic. There’s less than 10,000 vehicles a day, it’s a four-lane divided highway—it has more than enough capacity. The problem is speed…While we’re not getting a high volume of accidents, they’re more severe.”

William Lillich, Kent public safety director, said the city couldn’t alter state routes without assistance from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

“(State route) 261 is not an effective roadway for Kent,” said Lillich, who added the space between the lanes is too wide.

Bowling said the improvements to the 16 intersections that are planned or that are currently being worked on come with a $45 million price tag.

“To give you some perspective, the city’s annual revenue that comes in its general funds is around $18 million,” Bowling said. “The majority of this $45 million is coming from grants that come from federal gas tax monies and others. And some of those programs are specifically to solve safety problems.”

While the intersection of State route 261 and Summit Street is ranked in the top 10, Lillich said the city didn’t manage the intersection until recently because it wasn’t in the city limits until a few years ago. The Ohio State Patrol was responsible for the intersection before Kent State annexed the area to the city.

“(State route) 261 is a definite need, and it’s on our list of issues to deal with” Bowling said. “It just hasn’t reached the top of the list.”

Lillich said the data from 2011 doesn’t include any of the new developments such as the State route 59 project.

Bowling said the project included six of the worst 32 intersections in Kent, but the project isn’t completely finished. A contractor accidently crushed the fiber optic line that connected the traffic signals to a main control center at the Kent Fire Department, which would allow for a consistent flow of traffic.

The contracting company is paying for the repairs, but the process could take up to a week, Bowling said. The line that was damaged was near the downtown construction sites, so the repairs have been put on hold temporarily.

One drastic improvement from 2009 to 2011 was Summit Street and Franklin Avenue, which jumped from No.7 to No. 32.

Lillich said visibility is a major factor in that intersection’s ranking.

“We’re a little limited at Summit and Franklin because of the railroad,” Lillich said. “We would have a traffic signal, but for the railroad tracks, it could leave somebody sitting on the tracks.”

Bowling said all the improvements being done to intersections come down to one thing.

“Safety is the number one factor that dictates which jobs we pursue from a transportation standpoint,” Bowling said. “They’re big issues and we’re working on them, but we’re definitely trying to make it so that it’s safer for everybody.”

Contact Britni Williams at [email protected] and Brad Tansey at [email protected].