The intersection at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way isn’t particularly complicated, but what it lacks in complexity it makes up in sheer traffic.
So it won’t be a surprise to many to learn that the busy junction at the heart of the city is Abbotsford’s most crash-prone location. Every year, dozens upon dozens of vehicles collide at the intersection. Indeed, in a new report for the city show that the intersection averages more than 100 crashes each year.
The 690 collisions at Gladwin and SFW between 2011 and 2015 outpaced all other crossings in the city, according to the report. Indicative of South Fraser Way’s status as the city’s main east-west artery, three of its intersections were among the five busiest accident spots. In addition to the city-worst intersection at Gladwin, SFW crossings at Trethewey Street and Clearbrook Road were the fourth- and fifth-most collision hotspots in Abbotsford, with 558 and 548 accidents, respectively.
In the number two and three spots, squeezed between the South Fraser Way collision confluences, were two heavily trafficked junctions with Highway 1: intersections between the highway’s onramps and Sumas Way and Mt. Lehman Road, were the site of 664 and 631 collisions, respectively.
- 690 – Gladwin Road/South Fraser Way
- 664 – Sumas Way/Highway 1
- 631 – Highway 1/Mt Lehman Road
- 558 – South Fraser Way/Trethewey Street
- 548 – Clearbrook Road/South Fraser Way
- 498 – Mt Lehman Road/Fraser Highway
- 426 – Marshall Road/Sumas Way
- 413 – Marshall Road/Mccallum Road
- 399 – Highway 1/Whatcom Road
- 358 – Gladwin Road/George Ferguson Way
The detail doesn’t reveal the number of injuries caused by the collisions, although Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald noted that crashes at intersections tend to be less-serious than those on straight roads at higher speeds.
MacDonald stressed the need for drivers to pay closer attention to the road, and leave their cellphones alone.
“People come to a stop and they invariably turn their heads down,” he said. Left-turn crashes are also common at intersections – and sometimes among the most serious such collisions.
Such crashes, he said, are often “caused by [impatience] and by people who at the end of the day are taking a leap of faith.” MacDonald said poor weather like that seen this week in Abbotsford reduces vehicles’ acceleration and stopping power can also be a contributing factor and requires drivers to adjust their behavior.
Sandy Carey, an office manager at Jack’s Towing, wasn’t surprised to hear about the prevalence of accidents at Gladwin Road. Carey also pointed to the intersection of Lonzo Road and Highway 11 – an intersection with a non-intuitive traffic pattern – along with Harris Road and Bates Road as being particularly bad.
Carey said that while many crashes at the Lonzo/Sumas Way intersection could be attributable to driver confusion, most accidents are avoidable.
“If drivers have a little more patience, we wouldn’t see the rollovers,” she said.
The report also revealed that several major intersections in the city received failing grades for congestion.
A study analyzed 49 intersections around Abbotsford and graded them on a six-point level-of-service scale, from A (meaning no delays) to F (significant delay and line-ups). While most intersections were rated D or better during peak level, several received E and F ratings.
Peardonville Road’s intersections with Clearbrook Road and Livingstone Avenue garnered an E rating, in the morning and afternoon, respectively. But the most congested stretch was Highway 11 and Sumas Way, where intersections with Lonzo Road, Marshall Road, South Fraser 1 and Highway 1 all received E or F ratings during afternoon peaks. The report says that means delays at each intersection average more than one minute per vehicle.
The report comes as part of the city work on a new transportation master plan. It includes results of a survey for which residents were asked about the places and issues that irritated them when driving around Abbotsford. That resulted in 328 location-specific traffic congestion complaints and 179 safety-related gripes.
Predictably, congestion issues were centred around major intersections, along with the western stretch of Highway 1 in the city and Fraser Highway. Safety issues were clustered around those intersections, along with a few other areas. Old Yale Road, east of Highway 11, was the focus of multiple safety complaints, as was Clayburn Road near Clayburn Village. And Townline Road’s intersection with Clayburn Road also resulted in numerous safety complaints, as did every major junction with Highway 1 – save for Clearbrook Road.
Check out Friday’s paper for the intersections with the most reported pedestrian and cycling collisions.