McDuff Avenue traffic concerns resident

McDuff Avenue traffic concerns resident
This two-car accident occurred on July 16 at 6:08 p.m.

Called the Death Corner by nearby resident David deForrest, the intersection of Riverside and McDuff Avenues has seen more than its share of fender benders or worse, as long as deForrest has lived there.

Fortunately for those involved, there have been no deaths on Death Corner.

“No one has actually been killed or gets hurt. The cars get destroyed, they get taken away on flatbeds,” deForrest said. “Sometimes an ambulance is called to the scene but I’ve never seen anyone sustain a serious injury. But it’s just a matter of time of until someone gets seriously hurt.”

Part of the problem lies with the swale to the north of McDuff Avenue. As vehicles driving southbound on Riverside Avenue enter the dip in the road at Willowbranch Avenue, they “disappear” for a second or two. When they re-appear, it’s often an unpleasant surprise to motorists entering the intersection from McDuff Avenue.

“I’ve lived here 11 years and can tell you anecdotally, we see one accident per month as an average,” said deForrest, who has recently taken to posting photos of each accident on the NextDoor website in an attempt to prove statistics collected by the City of Jacksonville are not accurate. “This is a monthly occurrence, regular as clockwork.”

Most of the crashes are angle collisions, rather than head-on crashes according to the Traffic Engineering Division, which noted 19 crashes at the city-maintained intersection from September 2011 to September 2016.

In response to calls and issues submitted to 630-CITY, to improve sight lines the city has relocated some traffic signs and installed No Parking signs to restrict curbside parking near the intersection, within the past month or two, according to city spokesperson Tia Ford.

Shortly before the No Parking signs were erected, deForrest stated he encountered “some kind of officials with paint markers and blueprints or documents on clipboards. They claimed there were a total of six accidents at this corner in the last five years. As anyone living adjacent to ‘The Corner’ can tell you, it’s more like 8-12 per year,” he said.

“The thing is, with modern cars, no one gets really hurt in these encounters although often the vehicles are severely damaged. This diminishes the pressure to take this stuff seriously,” he said.

What deForrest would like to see is a traffic signal put in, but traffic volumes observed at the intersection will not satisfy the warrants for a traffic signal, according to Ford. “The installation of traffic control devices start with satisfaction of warrants listed in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). It is followed by an assessment of projected traffic operations,” said Ford on behalf of Traffic Engineering.

Joyce Bates, who moved to a corner home on Riverside and McDuff nearly 30 years ago, said traffic – and accidents – weren’t as bad when she and her husband, Robert, moved in.

“It has gradually gotten worse. I can’t account for that except that people are generally less aware of where they are and what they are doing,” said Bates. “One month recently we had two. I’ve had a section of my retaining wall taken out to the tune of $9,000 and people regularly end up on my yard, which damages the sprinkler system and the landscaping.”

Bates said the recently installed No Parking signs have not done much good because people normally don’t park there, but she is also not fully on board with a traffic signal, saying it would only back up Riverside Avenue traffic during rush hours. 

“People have been talking for years about having a stoplight there,” said Bates. “An overhead blinking light might help to call attention to the intersection, but a four-way stop sign wouldn’t do any good because people who don’t observe a two-way won’t observe a four-way.”

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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