Schenectady official identifies intersections with most accidents

This May 14, 2018 photo shows two vehicles involved in a collision at Erie Boulevard and Seneca Street.

This May 14, 2018 photo shows two vehicles involved in a collision at Erie Boulevard and Seneca Street.

SCHENECTADY – With 48 car accidents since 2016, the well-traveled Erie Boulevard, where it meets with Seneca Street, holds the dubious distinction of having the highest frequency of crashes at an unsignaled intersection in the city, signal superintendent John Coluccio told the City Council’s Public Safety Committee Monday night.

The superintendent reported the top 25 unsignaled intersections during a discussion about which locations might benefit from LED stop signs.

Separate intersections with State Street appear on the list five times.

But Coluccio said he wanted to spend the next two weeks delving deeper into the numbers to determine the reasons behind the crashes and report back to the committee.

Depending on the circumstances of a particular batch of crashes, LED stop signs might not be the answer, he said.

Coluccio called the examination “an opportunity to look at these intersections and find out what’s going on and see how we can correct them.” In some cases, pavement markings, picking better signage, or enforcement of speed might be the better remedy, he said.

For instance, at Erie and Seneca, it may be that an accident was caused by someone crossing two lanes of traffic on the boulevard, and a stop sign wouldn’t have prevented the crash, the superintendent suggested.

In other cases, it could be that the accident actually occurred 200 feet from the intersection, or closer to a resident’s driveway, Coluccio said.

Close behind Erie and Seneca during the same span of January 2016 through this month were Altamont Avenue and Brower Street, with 45 accidents, and Fehr Avenue and Golf Road’s 43 collisions. 

Bedford Road and Eastern Avenue had 36 accidents, with the 33 accidents at Becker and Division streets round out the top five locations. 

The 25 locations were spread throughout the city.

Rounding out the list:

– Furman and State streets had 23 crashes, while the intersections of Crane and Van Velsen streets; Division and State streets; and Howard Street and Main Avenue each had 22.

– Dean Street and the Plaza; Glenwood Boulevard and Rugby Road; and California and Norwood avenues each had 21 accidents.

– Brandywine Avenue and Stanford Street; Crane Street and Sixth Avenue;  and Lenox Road and Raymond Street each had 20 crashes.

–Becker and Furman streets; Grove Place and State Street; McClellan Street and the Plaza each had 19.

– Albany and Frank streets; Craig and Strong streets; Eagle and State streets; Elder and State streets each had 18 accidents.

– Congress Street and Third Avenue; Crane Street and Fourth Avenue; and Crane Street and Third Avenue each had 16 accidents.

Coluccio highlighted Bedford Road and Eastern Avenue, along with Becker and Furman streets and McClellan and the Plaza, as intersections that at first glance would appear to benefit from LED stop signs.

In regard to California and Norwood avenues, Coluccio said he would report his findings about that intersection to the state Department of Transportation since it is under its jurisdiction.

Coluccio said the cost of an individual LED stop sign is $1,693, while a batch of eight would cost the city $13,544.

Council Majority Leader John Polimeni thanked the superintendent for his review thus far. Polimeni said the council wanted to take a data-driven approach to reduce accidents, and digging deeper into the numbers would be vital to ensuring the panel wasn’t “inefficient with scarce resources.”

To Councilwoman Carmel Patrick’s observation that accidents had decreased at some locations over the five years, Coluccio noted that only a half year’s data had been collected for 2021, and he suggested the COVID-19 pandemic had reduced the amount of traffic since it began in March 2020.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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