For the first time in five years, the intersection of Main and West streets was one of the top five sites in Norwalk with the most crashes. Main and West streets ranks third with six.
And for the second time in three years, the intersection of Whittlesey Avenue and League Street had the most accidents. There were 11 last year, the same amount in 2005.
Norwalk Police Chief Kevin Cashen pointed out there were six crashes at the intersection in 2006. He attributed the spring 2007 intersection redesign to being the difference.
"People had to get used to a new traffic pattern," he said. "We have the improvement, so let's see what happens in '08."
Those improvements include making the intersection wider, adding one turn lane and, as Cashen said: "better lanes of travel of traffic flow."
Tied for second with the most crashes were: Main Street-Whittlesey Avenue-Benedict Avenue; and Milan and Gallup avenues with seven. Main and West streets ranks third with six crashes. There were five each at the last two intersections: Cleveland-Old State roads and Whittlesey Avenue and Washington Street.
The Cleveland and Old State roads intersection was the top ranking site in 2006 with nine. Annual police reports indicate the same location had the most crashes in 2004, again with nine.
In 2007, Cashen said officials added "stop bars" at the intersection to give the motorists a better view of their surroundings as well as flashing stop signs to draw attention to the stop sign. He believes those improvements are directly related to the intersection having four fewer crashes between 2006 and 2007.
Many residents wanted the city to add a traffic light, which Cashen said would have been very expensive.
"We decided to try this first to see if it helped the number of crashes," he explained.
Cashen couldn't remember the Whittlesey Avenue and Washington Street intersection ever having the most crashes. He believes the nearby improvements have increased the traffic on Whittlesey.
"I think that accounts for that intersection," the chief said.
Cashen was most proud of there being no fatalities last year something he wants to see repeated this year. There was one each in 2005 and 2006 and none the previous three years.
"The fatalities we've experienced in Norwalk have been (due to) driver error or bad luck or a combination of both," Cashen said.
Total traffic crashes
2007 2006 2005
Street crashes 362 389 368
Private property 42 27 46
Pedestrian 6 2 3
2007 2006 2005
Number of crashes 71 68 63
Number of injuries 93 94 89