Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, May 29, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Request for a fence alteration or a traffic signal at Edgewood Lane and Hill Road; reader concerned about crashes at Front Street and Avenue A in Boise

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: I was so pleased with the end results of the much-anticipated Hill Road extension from State Street to Idaho 55 in Eagle. However, there's one glaring problem. When coming down the Edgewood Lane hill where it now meets Hill Road, it's almost impossible to make a left turn onto Hill Road without dangerously jutting out to see around the fence on the northwest corner of the intersection. Due to the number of drivers on Edgewood wanting to turn east onto Hill, it's imperative that either a signal be installed or the fence cut back. Can you tell me if a signal is in the future or will ACHD wait until several accidents occur to prove its necessity?

Road Wizard:

First of all, ACHD doesn't wait for accidents to happen before installing a traffic signal. There are nine factors considered when making the decision, with crash records being just one of them. The goal is to identify reasons to take action before the collision count demands a signal. Helen, thank you for taking action about your concerns!

Of course, traffic signals don't prevent all crashes, and in some cases may increase the number of crashes (side-angle collisions resulting from running red lights is an example). A signal wasn't installed during the extension project because the intersection didn't have enough traffic; that's another factor taken into account with traffic signals. But ACHD will do a post-construction analysis to see if much has changed.

As for the fence, the view of vehicles on Hill Road from Edgewood meets sight distance requirements. It may feel uncomfortable to creep beyond the stop sign to see around the fence. However, this is the legal expectation for drivers, and the analysis of the intersection indicates that it can be done safely.

Dear Road Wizard: Recently we had yet another accident at Front Street and Avenue A. I'm not sure why people are so incapable of handling such a simple intersection, but they aren't. If I had to hazard a guess, it's people running the red light on Front because with the 13 or so signals in less than a mile of road, they would like to actually get somewhere TODAY. Has ACHD looked at this intersection to see if anything can be done?

Road Wizard:

I get the sarcasm, but nine of the signals on one-way Front between Broadway Avenue and 13th Street in Downtown Boise are actually nicely synchronized. Except the signal at Avenue A isn't part of that coordinated system for various reasons. That may catch some drivers by surprise.

There are 11 recorded crashes at the intersection between 2011 and what's been finalized of the 2015 data. Three cases involved drivers running a red light on Front and crashing into Avenue A vehicles. A bicyclist also ran a red light with a similar result.

To put that into perspective, those 11 incidents are out of 28,000 reported crashes in Ada County during the same period. And consider that approximately 25,000 vehicles pass through Front every weekday, and roughly 5,000 use Avenue A. That's close to 40 million trips in five years.

ACHD operates the traffic signals on Front, a road which otherwise is Idaho Transportation Department territory. While the crash rate isn't alarming, ACHD is still investigating signal modifications that might better showcase the red lights for those not anticipating a stop.

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