A Decade of Crashes Along Colorado Boulevard

Take Back The Boulevard – the initiative that has sparked my interest in studying the conditions along Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock – is an opportunity for us to improve our main street. One of the main components involves improving traffic safety, and some supporters of the initiative make the case for improving safety by comparing crash statistics on Colorado in Eagle Rock with neighboring Glendale and Pasadena.

However, Take Back The Boulevard really is an opportunity for us to improve traffic safety in Eagle Rock regardless of findings in neighboring cities. Though, if one really wants a quick comparison one can look to a map that shows every road fatality between 2001 and 2009 in the entire United States. This map includes road fatalities along Colorado as the street runs through Glendale, Eagle Rock and Pasadena. Not the most solid of data to draw conclusions but it indicates what many suspect– Eagle Rock’s portion of Colorado Boulevard has been deadlier than it is in our neighboring cities where the street is only two lanes in each direction according to nearly a decade of records. Eagle Rock’s bit of Colorado Boulevard saw more deaths than Pasadena’s portion despite spanning a short distance and at about the same distance as Glendale’s portion of the street yet with more deaths. While one cannot speculate too much, it would not seem far fetched if the increased number of deaths in Eagle Rock are partially the result of conditions which allow for greater speeds (higher speeds, not surprisingly, are more likely to result in death in the event of a crash).

But I hesitate to draw a comparison between Eagle Rock and its neighbors if for no other reason than the fact that we shouldn’t have to justify Take Back The Boulevard due to circumstances in Glendale or Pasadena. If we, as a community, want to change our portion of the street because we are dissatisfied with the dangers and unpleasant nature Colorado presents, that should be enough reason to call for a safer, friendly street.

And one element of Take Back The Boulevard that attempts to make Colorado safer and more pleasant is reducing the number of through traffic lanes, a ‘road diet’ as they are frequently called. Road diets have been proven to increase safety for all users (read about it from the U.S Department of Transportation here or from the LA Department of Transportation Bicycle Blog here) so it is unlikely that a reduction in lanes on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock would be any different. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration considers road diets a Proven Safety Countermeasure.

(Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration)

In addition to the increased safety, often these lane reductions result in a more pleasant atmosphere. A local road diet Eagle Rock residents may be familiar with is one that was implemented along York Boulevard between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Avenue 54. This portion of street was reduced from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction with a center turning lane. Since this portion of York Boulevard was transformed the street seems to have become a lot more inviting, and less stressful, to the local neighbors and visitors alike.

As for Colorado Boulevard, it seems Eagle Rock has little to lose should our main street undergo a road diet, especially given the evidence that shows road diets provide many benefits. Regardless of what Take Back The Boulevard’s efforts may yield, it can be beneficial to reflect on the real, current conditions along Colorado. Here is a look at a decade of crashes from the year 2000 to 2010.

2000

Each blue marker represents a collision.

  • 42 crashes
  • 56 injuries
  • Primary Causes of Crashes:Failure to Yield Right-of-Way( 11 times); Unsafe Speed (10 times); Running Stop Sign or Red Signal (6 times)
  • Top Crash Intersections: Eagledale Avenue (5 crashes); Ellenwood Drive (5 crashes); Lockhaven Avenue (3 crashes)

2001

Each blue marker represents a collision.

  • 52 crashes
  • 52 injuries
  • Primary Causes of Crashes: Failure to Yield Right-of-Way (15 times); Unsafe Speed (12 times); Running Stop Sign or Red Signal (8 times)
  • Top Crash Intersections: Sierra Villa Dr ( 7 crashes); Dahlia Dr (4 crashes); Vincent Ave/ Mt. Royal/ Glen Iris Ave/ College View Ave (3 crashes)

2002*

Each green marker represents a collision.

*For this year I looked at raw data which made locating Primary Causes and Injuries difficult, I may update the post later with that information.

  • 57 crashes
  • Top Crash Intersections:Ellenwood Drive (6 crashes); Eagledale Avenue (6 crashes); Townsend Avenue (5 crashes)

2003

Each yellow marker represents a collision.

  • 50 crashes
  • 48 injuries
  • Primary Cause of Crashes: Unsafe Speed (11 times); Failure to Yield Right-of-Way (10 times); “Other Improper Driver” (7 times)
  • Top Crash intersection: Townsend Avenue (7 crashes); Sierra Villa Drive (6 crashes); Lockhaven Avenue (5 crashes)

2004

Each pink marker represents a collision.

  • 56 crashes
  • 53 injuries
  • Primary Cause of Crashes: Unsafe Speed (14 times); Failure to Yield Right-of-Way (10 times); Running Stop Sign or Red Signal and “Not Driver” (6 times)
  • Top Crash Intersections: Ellenwood Drive (9 crashes); Eagle Rock Boulevard (5 crashes); Broadway and Eagledale Avenue (4 crashes each)

2005

Each red marker represents a collision.

  • 49 crashes
  • 47 injuries
  • Primary Causes of Crashes: Failure to Yield Right-of-Way (14 times); Unsafe Speed (12 times); Running Stop Sign or Red Signal (6 times)
  • Top Crash Intersections: Sierra Villa Drive (5 crashes); Eagledale Avenue, Argus Drive and Townsend Avenue (4 crashes each); Caspar Avenue, Eagle Rock Boulevard, and Lockhaven Avenue (3 crashes each)

2006

Each green marker represents a collision.

52 crashes

  • 56 injuries
  • 2 deaths
  • Primary Causes of Crashes: Unsafe Speed (16 times);  Failure to Yield Right-of-Way (14 times); Running Stop Sign or Red Signal and Improper Turn (each 4 times)
  • Top Crash Intersections: North Figueroa Street (6 crashes); Lockhaven Avenue, Eagle Rock Boulevard (5 crashes each); Sierra Villa Drive (4 crashes)

2007

Each red marker represents a collision.

  • 53 crashes
  • 60 injuries
  • Primary Causes of Crashes: Unsafe Speed (15 times); Failure to Yield Right-of-Way (14 times); Running Stop Sign or Red Signal (6 times)
  • Top Crash Intersections: North Figueroa Street (4 crashes); Eagledale Avenue, Lockhaven Avenue, Sierra Villa Drive, College View Avenue, Ellenwood Drive, Highland View Avenue, and Eagle Vista Drive (all with 3 crashes each); Live Oak View, El Rio Avenue, Eagle Rock Boulevard, Vincent Avenue, Townsend Avenue, Mount Helena Avenue, and Los Robles Street (all with 2 crashes each)

2008

Each purple marker represents a collision.

  • 55 crashes
  • 55 injuries
  • 5 deaths
  • Primary Causes of Crashes: Failure to Yield Right-of-Way (16 times); Unsafe Speed (14 times); Lane Change and Running Stop Sign or Red Signal (each 4 times)
  • Top Crash Intersections: Eagle Rock Boulevard and Sierra Villa Drive (4 crashes each); Eagledale Avenue, Broadway, Highland View Avenue, Townsend Avenue, and North Figueroa Street (3 crashes each); Linda Rosa Avenue, Loleta Avenue, Floristan Avenue, Dahlia Drive, Vincent Avenue, Argus Drive, Caspar Avenue, Ellenwood Drive, and Lockhaven Avenue (all 2 crashes each).

2009

Each red marker represents a collision.

  • 57 crashes
  • 63 injuries
  • Primary Causes of Crashes: Unsafe Speed (15 times); Failure to Yield Right-of-Way (14 times); Running Stop Sign or Red Signal and Improper Turn (each 5 times)
  • Top Crash Intersections: Eagle Rock Boulevard (9 crashes); Townsend Avenue (6 crashes); Sierra Villa Drive and Eagledale Avenue (4 crashes each)

2010

Each red marker represents a collision.

  • 41 crashes
  •  46 injuries
  • Primary Causes of Crashes: Failure to Yield Right-of-Way and Unsafe Speed (each 11 times); Running Stop Sign or Red Signal (5 times); Lane Change and Following Too Close (each 4 times)
  • Top Crash Intersections: Eagle Rock Boulevard, College View Avenue and Sierra Villa Drive (4 crashes each); Hermosa Avenue (3 crashes); Eagledale Avenue, Lockhaven Avenue, Ellenwood Drive, El Rio Avenue, Highland View Avenue, Mount Royal Avenue, Townsend Avenue, Loleta Avenue, North Figueroa Street (all 2 crashes each)

As one can see, it is not one isolated year that was dangerous along Colorado Boulevard. While there were intersections that had more crashes than others, hardly any part of Colorado Boulevard was ever collision free.

*This post has been ‘in the making’ for a couple weeks now. After seeing Biking In LA and Eastsider publish similar style posts I decided to push myself and finally get this finished

** This post does not include collisions that went unreported or where Colorado Boulevard was the secondary street of collisions (for example: if a crash occurred on Ellenwood Drive and Colorado Boulevard but the primary street was Ellenwood, that crash is not included in this data)

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7 thoughts on “A Decade of Crashes Along Colorado Boulevard

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