Flashing warning signals installed on Yacht Club Road

Ortega Boulevard intersection site of many accidents

Ortega and Venetia residents know all too well the perils of driving through the intersection of Ortega Boulevard and Yacht Club Road. Stop signs are posted on Yacht Club Road, but it is not a four-way stop intersection.

            Within the past 15 months three accidents have occurred, one which resulted in critical injuries, because drivers on Yacht Club Road failed to stop at the intersection.

            In March 2018, Venetia resident Trey Martin was driving north on Ortega Boulevard when he saw a westbound driver on Yacht Club Road barrel through the intersection and cause a three-car wreck.

            “He didn’t even slow down. He clipped another car traveling my direction that was sent crashing into my driver’s side door. It totaled my car,” said Martin. “I’m still paranoid cars aren’t going to stop every time I go through that intersection! The driver that ran the stop sign said he didn’t see it, and thought I had a stop sign on Ortega.”

            Two months later, in May 2018, two people on a motorcycle were seriously injured, one with life-threatening injuries, when a van ran the stop sign and hit them.

            This year, on April 16, a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer on a routine patrol was involved in a crash on Yacht Club Road after failing to stop at the intersection with Ortega Boulevard. The officer struck a vehicle, which had two children in car seats, traveling north on Ortega Boulevard. One passenger was taken to a local hospital.          

            Elizabeth Howard said, via a post on social media, that she has lived near that intersection for more than 30 years and, along with others, has been trying for decades to get safety measures there. Doug Blanchard, of Venetia, corroborated with Howard, noting when he worked on an ambulance, his unit experienced several “near accidents” at the intersection, while Judy Davis, another Ortega resident, stated that “many people have paid dearly on that corner which has been run from both sides of Yacht Club Road.”

            Last month, in mid-June, flashing signals were installed on Yacht Club Road approaching Ortega Boulevard.

A new flashing signal on Yacht Club Road alerts vehicles to a stop sign at the intersection of Ortega Boulevard.
A new flashing signal on Yacht Club Road alerts vehicles to a stop sign at the intersection of Ortega Boulevard.

            Yet, just a few days after the flashing signal was installed, another Ortega resident posted “Drivers should still be defensive when approaching that intersection. Just this afternoon, I was headed south on Ortega Boulevard, my left turn signal on to turn onto Yacht Club and a Jeep just rolled through the stop sign heading west. Had I not slowed down, we would’ve crossed paths. Hopefully the signs help, but I’m always on the lookout.”

            The Resident reached out to the City of Jacksonville’s Office of Public Affairs asking if the installation of the flashing signals was a result of the April 16 collision by a JSO officer or if the signals had been planned for some time.

            “After the recent crash, citizens asked that the City investigate the intersection,” responded James Croft, assistant director of public affairs. “The Traffic Engineering Division reviewed crash data for the past five years and found an angle crash trend. Some motorists were not stopping at the stop sign, so a flashing stop sign was installed to help build awareness.”

            As opposed to a “head-on” collision, an angle crash, also referred to as a side collision, is when one vehicle impacts with the side of another vehicle, Croft explained. “These crashes are common at intersections, parking lots and when two vehicles pass on a multi-lane roadway.”

By Kate A. Hallock, Resident Community News

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