Multiple crashes on Semmes Avenue have residents fed up, calling for change

People living along Semmes Avenue in Richmond are fed up with how fast drivers are barreling down their road.
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 11:31 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - People living along Semmes Avenue in Richmond are fed up with how fast drivers are barreling down their road. They say their street has become an expressway.

Mark Baker’s truck was smashed on Sunday, collateral damage from a four-car crash at the intersection of 31st Street and Semmes Avenue. Two people were sent to the hospital. Baker, who lives nearby, was left shaken.

“We’re sitting here and I’m still recovering from that and we hear it again. And we come out and there’s two more vehicles totaled likely. Another person going to the hospital,” said Baker, who lives along Semmes Avenue.

That’s right, another accident, less than 24 hours after the one he was involved in.

“We’ve spent money trying to improve our home and yet we don’t even feel comfortable, you know, taking a right onto Semmes Avenue in order to go to work,” said Baker.

And the stretch of road doesn’t discriminate. There are daytime accidents, night time accidents and even police-involved accidents.

Neighbors like Brian Thomson say it’s a pattern that’s becoming more and more repetitive.

“It’s been an ongoing conversation for years among the neighbors. You know, what can be done about it,” said Thomson, who lives on Semmes Avenue.

Thomson is in favor of a new traffic signal slated for 34th Street. It’s one of several improvements set to happen this fall. Others include improved pedestrian crosswalks and speed cameras for the school zone.

“These changes are not happening soon enough and further the type of real infrastructure improvement that we need to see because this is a state route, (which) requires additional funding,” said Stephanie Lynch, Richmond City Council.

The speed limit has also been lowered and there are enhanced speeding fines along Semmes Avenue.

“We need to look at solutions to narrow the road because that is really the only solvent to curtail this type of speeding behavior,” said Lynch, who wants to call a meeting between the community and VDOT to talk about potential plans and funding.

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