October 12, 2006

What's the worst road/intersection in the area?

For every road and intersection, there's someone who designs and lays it out. I would guess they'd be civil engineers, though there may be others involved.

But obviously, they don't always get it right, and sometimes you've got to wonder if they were drunk when they designed some streets and intersections.

What intersections do you find maddeningly dangerous and/or poorly designed?

I have two that spring immediately to mind.

The first is perhaps the most baffling layout in the Quad Cities, namely the 3 way intersection and immediate 4 into 2 lane merge located on the East Moline/Silvis border where the "Avenue of the Cities" veers off in all directions.

This is especially dangerous and crazy when traveling from east to west.

You approach a three way interesection at a relatively high speed, and then the road curves sharply just before the lights.

The curve, rather than being banked towards the turn, banks AWAY from it, and the intersection itself is a crumbling mess, full of bumps that tend to make it hard to hold the car in one lane.

Then once you've survived the intersection, within a few feet, you're confronted with traffic merging from a curve that is directly in a blind spot behind and to the right.

You can't see this traffic in your mirrors, because it curves in rather than a straight merge. But that doesn't really matter anyway, as you only have about a half second before the four lanes instantly become three.

There are, by the way, no signs indicating which lanes end or which way to merge or who has the right of way. And just to make it extra exciting, the lane markers have long ago been worn away to nothing.

It's like the start of a race where several cars all try to crunch into the first corner. Only it's utterly blind.

So now you've managed to fit into three lanes, and you think you're ok, but in another second, the left lane suddently disappears without warning. If you're stuck there, you'll find yourself plunging into the rutted muddy shoulder, which got that way because so many people go off the road.

So many people go off the road because there's no indication that the pavement ends in that lane. And it only ends for about 50 feet, and then begins again, but now it's the left turn lane for the next intersection.

Well, that might not be a good description, but those who have passed through this place will no doubt know exactly what I'm talking about.

Whoever designed the whole thing must have been a sadist, more concerned with making a cool three way intersection than having it be a sane design.

You pass through an 3-way intersection on an S-curve, then instantly merge 4 lanes into 3, and the next second, 3 into 2. A nice little test of driving skill.

The other area isn't a state or city issue, but rather the developers of the Wal-Mart sprawl in Moline.

The outer access road carries an enormous amount of traffic daily, yet the road seemed to be designed by the guys pouring the concrete.

First of all, the road bed was laid so poorly that the pavement was fractured and broken within months, leaving slabs tilted every which way.

Secondly, the thing changes widths at random, the curves aren't standard, turn lanes are an afterthought and some are actually on sharp curves, and every so often a curb will jut way out into the lane. It's not a natural flow at all, and you can see that hundreds of people run into these curbs every day.

Do these two places give you fits too? It's not that you can't negotiate them, but rather why they're so poorly designed in the first place.

What are your nominations for the most annoying/dangerous/worst planned streets or intersections in the area?

Any places you drive which make you wonder what the hell they were thinking?


At 10/12/2006 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dope -
As for the "Octopus", can not really help there! Way stupid!
As for Wal-Mart, right on! You would think a Civil Engineer would do that work, but in developements like that it is an Architect. The pavement failures are do to the thin concrete and probablly a pour base. Question though, is it a City street? Moline has requirements and standards that developers are suppose to follow.

At 10/12/2006 3:35 PM, Blogger Benton Harbor said...

Anon you're right - thin pavement and a poor base, since it was all fill. Probably hadn't been compacted correctly.

The road in front of Wal-Mart is numbered as 41st Avenue Drive, but I'm almost positive it is considered a private drive as opposed to a city street. The city will not take responsibility for a street that is not up to city specs (I live on such a street and the residents are responsible for it (because it does not meet width requirements). Generally they won't plow it either.

Dope... the next worst intersection is going to be that can of worms tieing into John Deere Road from the Carr Crossing Bridge. I'm going to sit and watch the day that's opened to count the accidents and near-accidents that occur as people try to figure out what to do and how to get where they want to go.

Trivia: do you know there are two "Memorial" bridges crossing rivers in the QC?

At 10/12/2006 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest the top of the hill in Moline along 11th or 12th Avenues where traffic sailing uphill doesn't have a stop sign. Most of those intersections are so blind you have to enter without knowing what will come flying up the hill.

At 10/13/2006 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whichever one my wife happens to be at!

At 10/13/2006 9:39 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

HA! I think I dodged her the other day. Just hope you have good insurance.

Seriously, it may have been sexist to make jokes about women drivers back in the day, but I swear that most of the REALLY fast, really reckless drivers I see lately have been, to my surprise, young females!

But I don't think they'll ever overtake young guys for sheer craziness behind the wheel.

But these days of high gas prices and young ganster wanna-bes fondness for huge old 4-door boats, it seems like they prefer getting stoned and cruising around very slow, quite a change from a few decades ago where drag racing was a common occurance and speed was king.

At 10/15/2006 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 20:51 is right. The 10th and 12th Street intersections of 12th avenue in Moline are downright scary.

These are neighborhood streets where cars just fly through the stops.

If you are coming up the hill on either street with clearly marked right of way (you do NOT stop), the only way you can prevent one of the three other cars from pulling in front of you is to NOT put your left turn signal on. If you do, the other cars think you will stop and turn in front of you. OR they think they can "beat you" before you get to the intersection.

I have been nearly smashed dozens of times by stupid people who assume a stop sign is always a 4 way stop.....no matter what the rest of the warnings say outside that red octogon.

At least the bus system took 10th street off their route. That has helped a little with the congrestion and traffic. But there are still accidents there at least one every 90 days or so.


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