Congestion once was an ugly word for traffic engineers. Even today, some of these engineers remain singularly focused on relieving congestion and increasing vehicle speeds.
But as a report by The Bee's Tony Bizjak revealed Tuesday, Sacramento has become California's crash capital -- a dubious distinction. At least part of the reason is the nature of our high-speed thoroughfares.
Many of these multi-lane boulevards -- in Natomas and south Sacramento -- encourage motorists to top 50 miles per hour or more. They have massive intersections that are hostile to pedestrians and force motorists to spend long durations at red lights.
As a result, motorists become impatient, only to drive faster when the light turns green. High speeds are followed by sudden stops (when the car ahead slows for a child crossing a crosswalk). Collisions become much more severe.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the city of Sacramento had 4,404 crashes that resulted in injuries or fatalities in 2007. No other city in the state had such a high rate of per capita crashes that year. (Data for 2005 and 2006 also showed a high rate of crashes in Sacramento.)
To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.