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Cleveland-Old State is city's most dangerous intersection

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:49 PM

There were nine accidents in 2006 at the intersection of Cleveland and Old State roads, making it the top intersection with the most crashes.

Norwalk Police Chief Kevin Cashen cited the amount of traffic as a contributing factor.

Norwalk Safety-Service Director Dale Sheppard attributed the cause to driver impatience. "Speed might also have something to do with it," he added.

"They don't want to sit there long," Sheppard said about the Cleveland Road stop sign, so motorists attempt to get across Old State Road as soon as they see a break in traffic.

On Thursday, Sheppard was on the way to get coffee at Sunrise Fuel Plus when he saw a tractor-trailer driver forced to lock up his wheels in order to avoid hitting a sports utility vehicle that sped north across Cleveland Road.

Those type of incidents, Sheppard explained, lead to "T-bone type accidents" and road rage, with motorists honking horns or yelling and gesturing at other drivers.

The next most dangerous intersection was Milan and Gallup avenues, which had eight accidents. There were seven crashes at Milan Avenue and Westwind Drive. Six accidents happened at Whittlesey Avenue and Monroe Street as well as Whittlesey Avenue and League Street.

Sheppard said the biggest factor in those four intersections was drivers failing to maintain enough distance between each other. In addition to tailgating, the safety-service director mentioned speed, driver impatience and inattentiveness, such as motorists talking on cell phones while driving.

Norwalk Public Service Coordinator James Sawyer, who started Jan. 8, said he wasn't comfortable commenting on the statistics because he doesn't have a "feel for the intersections" yet. He referred questions to the Ralph Seward, who is retiring April 1, but he didn't answer repeated requests for interviews.

Whittlesey Avenue and League Street had the highest number of accidents in 2005 with 11. Cashen said the number dropped to six last year because there was an increase in police presence at the intersection.

Between 2004 and 2005, there was an average of two crashes at Milan Avenue and Westwind Drive. There were a record seven accidents there last year.

Cashen attributed the sudden increase to the "shear volume of traffic" as well as nearby road improvements and the opening of the Wal-Mart Supercenter.

"For people on the west end, it's a shortcut to the shopping center," the police chief said.

There were 416 total accidents in 2006 and two less than that the previous year. Norwalk had 456 crashes in 2004.

Cashen is pleased to see the numbers in the low 400s for two years in a row.

"The community should want us to hold that level," he said.

So how do motorists reduce their chances of being in an accident?

Sheppard said he knows there are many times when people only give themselves 10 minutes to reach a destination that should take 15.

"Give yourself more time," he said.

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