Monday, March 19, 2012

One dangerous intersection

This is the intersection of E. Madison Street and 37th Avenue E., located adjacent to the southeast corner of Broadmoor's enclosing wall.  It was at this intersection that on a rainless morning last September a student riding his bicycle to McGilvra Elementary was hit by a car and seriously injured.  Police reportedly determined that the driver of the vehicle was not at fault since the driver, when stopped at the stop sign facing south on 37th, could not have seen the boy on the bicycle, who was heading east on the sidewalk. The child apparently didn't stop at the intersection before heading into the path of the oncoming car, which was turning right onto Madison.

We admittedly missed this story at the time the incident occurred. This, in spite of the fact that he happened upon the scene shortly after the accident.  We mistakenly believed that there had no serious injuries, and we were only disabused of this idea when we sat through the greenways presentation at a meeting of the Madison Park Community Council last month. The incident was used as an example of what can happen when there are not well-designed bicycle paths and good lines of sight between vehicle drivers and pedestrians and cyclists. Because of the location and configuration of Broadmoor's wall, this particular intersection is relatively blind unless a car pulls forward of the stop line.

The reason for reporting this story now, a full six months after the accident, is twofold: 1) it is a cautionary tale that all drivers should take note of, especially given that there are also other difficult intersections in the neighborhood where vehicles and children can meet in unpleasant ways, and 2) Broadmoor could give serious consideration to changing the configuration of that particular corner of its property in order to provide better sight lines.

According to Maurice Cooper, a longtime resident, Broadmoor will soon be doing some reconstruction on several brick columns of the wall near community's Madison Street gate.  Knowing this, he says he had raised the subject of extending the work to include redoing the brickwork at the 37th Avenue corner of Broadmoor to re-angle that section of the wall. He introduced the idea at a recent meeting of Broadmoor residents, he reports, and is hopeful that the community will take the necessary action.

In the meantime, for this intersection and others, it's driver beware.

[The McGilvra student injured in the accident reportedly recovered fully from his injuries and was able to return to school quickly.]


  1. Yes, this is one of many dangerous intersections in Madison Park. Others are McGilvra BLVD East at East Blaine as well as East Madison at 43rd Avenue East.

    In many cases these speeding drivers are driving with their CELL PHONES up to their ear, talking rather than watching! How many of these drivers know that it is illegal to drive with your cell in your hand?

    To very blunt, it's dangerous to cross a street in Madison Park even if it is a marked intersection! My only suggestion is to try to have eye contact with drivers if possible before crossing.

  2. GIven that young children's' lives are at danger, Broadmoor would be really remiss if it does not act and make a change to the intersection. If they leave things as is and another kid is hurt, I personally will come over with a back hoe and tear that all down at 37th E.

  3. I walk my kids to McGilvra every day, we have to go right by this intersection. The stop sign is a good 20 feet back from the intersection. If the sign got moved closer to Madison, it would help solve some of the problem.

  4. Agreed, about moving the sign. If I am driving that intersection I purposefully move beyond the sign so that I can have a clear view before making the turn. Broadmoor could help by getting rid of the hedge so that you can see. Sometimes you have to use common sense when driving and make sure that you are clear in both directions before making your turn. Just because the sign says stop 20 feet away doesn't mean that you should shoot out into traffic or pedestrians, as the case may be.

  5. Idiot-proofing everything in the world has done nothing but make it easier for people to behave like idiots, abandoning their common sense and responsibility for their OWN well-being.

    The kid on the bike was in the wrong here. Any intersection is dangerous when people don't obey the law. That's generally why laws exist. Do the only thing you can be sure of, which is to watch out for yourself.

  6. In this case of an out-of-control bicyclist, there was nothing to be done.

    I know it is fun to attack Broadmoor, but it seems to me that the City owns the real problem here. The sidewalk on Madison stops at least 10 feet short of the intersecting roadway (37th).

    Extending the sidewalk east so it ends at the actual roadway on 37th would give drivers a clear line of sight of people waiting to cross 37th and people waiting to cross 37th, a clear view of traffic on 37th.

    Now, whether drivers and pedestrians choose to take advantage of being able to see one another is not something you can plan for. It's up to them.

  7. The last two commenters seem to be forgetting that we are discussing the safety of children, not holding bicyclists vs. others responsible. The proposed changes will make things safer for the children coming to McGilvra. And simply watching out for yourself is not a prescription for a healthy vital community with small children in it. Shame on you for essentially calling the kid that got hurt an 'idiot'. It is idiotic to view things in such black and white terms.

  8. Hello, I am the mom of the kid whose accident at 37th Ave E & E Madison Street prompted the article and discussion here. Carl spent two nights at Harborview for observation, but he did not sustain serious or permanent injury. Carl is a strong rider but he did not observe basic ped-bike-vehicle travel guidelines despite years of instruction from his parents. Our error is our belief that he was mature enough to handle the commute to McGilvra without a chaperone, and we are lucky that our error did not cost us our son.

    37th Ave E & E Madison Street is a busy intersection at two times a day: drop off and pick up at McGilvra Elementary. Carl rode into the car of a fellow parent, a friend's mom; he sailed over it, and he clipped the rearview mirror with his stomach. Ouch. The driver could not see Carl until he had made his turn onto 37th Ave E. Why? Three factors impede visibility at this intersection: the placement of the stop sign on 37th Ave E, the termination of the sidewalk well before 37th Ave E, and the ivy growing thick upon the fence that encloses Broadmoor. A driver cannot see a sidewalk user until he is in the street. Upping the ante here is the heavy use of 37th Ave E at two times a day by parents and children travelling to and from McGilvra Elementary on foot or bike or by vehicle.

    I tell my kids every time we get on the bike, "Drivers aren't looking for you. They don't see you. They will hurt or kill you. You have to look for them." I am tasking them with responsibility for their safety as pedestrians and cyclists. This is an ongoing process. However, this does not eliminate our obligation to help drivers, pedestrians and cyclists see one another. Move the stop sign. Extend the sidewalk. Eliminate the ivy. Best, Wallis Bolz


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