City: No traffic light at accident intersection - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

City: No traffic light at accident intersection

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Despite a deadly accident, Richmond will not install a traffic light at an intersection that residents claim is dangerous to cross. You may remember a wreck last month at Belmont and West Belmont Roads, in which a school bus and SUV collided. A passenger in the car was killed. 

Just a couple hours after rescuing children from the back of the destroyed SUV on May 10th, Ray Wilson described the intersection where he's lived for the last ten years. 

"We figure sooner or later there are enough deaths or accidents that they will do something about it," he said.  

The city decided to pursue a formal assessment of the South Richmond crossing. 

"We wanted to make double sure, was there anything that we're overlooking out there in terms of the physical geometrics or layouts of the intersections," explained transportation engineer Tom Flynn. 

We looked into exactly what criteria the city has to follow. A complicated federal formula comes down to two factors: how many vehicles drive here and how many crashes have occurred. 

The Department of Public Works put down rubber hoses to count the number of cars coming through the intersection. It turns out, it actually only had half the volume of traffic needed to install a light. 

The Richmond Police Department has recorded just nine crashes here in the last five years.  That averages out to less than two per year, which is a relatively low number, according to Flynn. 

After that explanation, Ray Wilson realized his original theory may be reality. 

"I guess we'll have to have a few more accidents and that will probably warrant a light," he said. "It's sad. It's very sad." 

But the report also states, engineers believe a traffic signal would actually increase crashes at the intersection. 

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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