Sunday, July 29, 2007

Eureka #1 In Traffic Accidents?

Why does this surprise me? I know Eureka has its fair share of auto accidents, but I wouldn't have expected Eureka to have so many more than other cities.

Not shown on the online version of the story is a map of Eureka showing some of the intersections that are accident hot spots. Among them: Fourth and F streets, 5th and H, Wabash and Fairfield, Henderson and Broadway, Henderson and E and Buhne and H (that's Carson Park Ranger's corner. We'll blame him for that one).

Most of those are heavily traveled intersections and one would expect the more heavily traveled intersections to naturally have more accidents, but wouldn't intersections with heavy traffic tend to make drivers more alert? I don't know.

The article throws out three possible reasons for Eureka's high accident rate: Bad driving, lack of enforcement and bad street design, suggesting it might also be a combination of all three.

I have a hard time believing people are going to speed and run stop signs simply because of lack of enforcement and I'm also not so sure that our streets are designed better or worse than elsewhere.

But, someone is at fault in just about any accident and I suppose one could say that equates to bad driving. So why are there so many bad drivers in Eureka? It's either something in the air, or maybe it has something to do with attitude?

I suspect there's a certain attitude prevalent in a lot of Eurekans that results in bad driving. Why that certain attitude- whatever that attitude is- prevails amongst so many Eurekans and not in cities elsewhere, I have no idea.

Maybe it is something in the air?


At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think CPR is up a block from Buhne and H.I briefly talked with him while knocking on doors for Nan Abrams.Yes,I remember that day well,it was quite rainy.

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, Highway 101 going straight through the middle of town might have something to do with something. That's a lot of first-time drivers speeding through the heart of Eureka on their way to someplace else. The only businesses who benefit are McDonald's, Burger King and Applebees. Let's get the damn bypass already and save some lives.

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 6th Street intersection has had more accidents as there is more traffic headed down Myrtle Ave. now with the street no longer a one way from 101. More traffic from both directions make it harder to get across Myrtle. I no longer turn at V St. to 6th. I go a few blocks more to avoid this intersection.

Have seen a few cars just roll through stop signs to cross 101 and have had some near misses.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

esquan wrote, "I think CPR is up a block from Buhne and H".

I'm pretty sure he's on the east side of the Buhne and H intersection, right on the corner across from the park.

If I'm wrong, I've had it wrong all this time.

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tire of the personal attacks on this blog. It's so seventh grade.

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Steve Lewis said...

I just got through posting a comment on my blog explaining why I do censor personal attacks. If bloggers stick to the issues then there's no problem but when they start in with the character attacks, out they should go.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Joel Mielke said...

Eureka drivers are awful. Our house has been hit, Dave Berman's house has been hit. I've watched as vehicles have driven the wrong way on H and I streets, run red lights and stop signs, race, failed to pull over for emergency vehicles, etc.

When pedestrians or bicyclists complain, the aggressive drivers reply that the pedestrians and bicyclists are out of line.

At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what an analysis of cause and the weather conditions at the time of these accidents would reveal? It seems to me that the drivers in the city of Eureka are no worse than elsewhere, there has to be some other commonality rather than just an isolated pool of bad drivers.

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did they hit your house CPR?

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen said...
I just got through posting a comment on my blog explaining why I do censor personal attacks. If bloggers stick to the issues then there's no problem but when they start in with the character attacks, out they should go.
2:49 PM

It's too bad Stephen doesn't follow his own advice.

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Joel Mielke said...

4:31, the driver was high on heroin and drifted off the street and into the house.

We stood in the front yard once and witnessed a woman, who was driving the wrong direction crash at full speed, head-on into our neighbor's new truck.

It would seem inexplicable, that Eureka has worse drivers than other places, but we noticed the bad driving when we first arrived here and the statistics in Heather Muller's piece seem to support our anecdotal observations.

At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Fred, you wrote you "suspect there's a certain attitude prevalent in a lot of Eurekans". So what is that attitude you are referring to ???

At 6:23 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I have no idea. I can't believe the mindset here is any different, on average, than anywhere else. It just seems to me, with the vast discrepancy in statistics, there has to be some sort of mindset that makes Eureka lead.

It might take some major study to figure it out, but I'm not sure that would work.

If it was all that simple, you could probably take pictures of all those involved in our accidents and, if they were a bunch of low lifes- most of them anyway- attribute it to that.

I don't think that's the case, though. I'm sure there's a little bit of everyone involved in these accidents.

If a major study was done, it probably wouldn't work. You'd have to interview all the people involved,and try and ascertain their mindset just before the accident.

Tough row to hoe, since most will be on the defensive, not wanting to be held liable for the accident.

No easy answer there. I don't know the answer, but it must be some sort of mindset, or attitude.

At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drivers in Eureka seem to have taken a turn for the worse in the early to mid-1980s. Before that, live and let live seemed to rule the road.

Suddenly, lots of local drivers decided that saving a few seconds traveling was worth risking their own lives and the lives of others.

Somewhere along the way, the police department stopped stopping red-light runners.

There are lots of reasons that driving in Eureka is so dangerous. Meanness and Selfishness must be high on the list.

At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compare the rise in traffic accidents with the increase of traffic on 101 through Humboldt County. Ask CalTrans for the highway stats. I dare you.

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its really very simple. Eureka has a major highway through the middle of it. While all other cities and communities have rerouted highways away from downtown, the infinitely wise Eureka business community, demanded that Eureka be stuck with this burden forever. so while in other communities accidents have gone down, as highway traffic increases Eureka will continue to have more accidents. This decision will forever make Eureka's downtown undesirable and unlivable. This impacts the whole community, not with just increased accidents.

At 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The map and graphic with the story are now on the ER website and are helpful in showing the hotspots.

At 9:08 PM, Blogger Rose said...

I don't remember the specifics, but a few years ago law enforcement got a grant to step up patrols in McKinleyville because they were supposed to be some of the most dangerous streets - which seemed incredibly absurd and made me wonder if it was just a case of making statistics do whatever you want them to do... it's a bunch of 35 mph streets, how can it be that bad?

At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4 lane streets have more accidents than 2 lanes do.

At 11:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would make most sense for my family to live in Eureka. I won't live there as long as there is high crime and a highway smack dab in the middle of town. The city is outright unfriendly.

At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eureka's bad drivers are amateurs. For professional grade, try Boston.

and of course, foreign countries make us look like pram pushers

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eureka's bad drivers are amateurs. For professional grade, try Boston.

and of course, foreign countries make us look like pram pushers

7:56 AM

Are you kidding? Boston is one of the most dangerous places to drive a car/bicycle in the nation! It is terrible!

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I think he means Boston drivers are professional bad drivers, 8:17.

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First the highway and now the Chamber of Commerce wants freight trains through Old Town, coming from a noisy stinky container port! Boy, these guys are really trying kill themselves.

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The building I work in is on the corner of 7th & I. I see people turning the wrong way on the one way street (both ways) at least 3 or 4 times a day...and that's on a slow day!

At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, All those words you wrote for 6:23 say exactly nothing. You say you "have no idea" and "don't know" but still offer a lot of opinions. Having no facts and still forming an opinion is idotic, just mouthing off. Pure drivel.

You also suggest "take pictures of all those involved in our accidents and, if they were a bunch of low lifes- most of them anyway- attribute it to that."

Since when does a picture of someone determine their guilt or attitude. Your concept of justice and fairness is Anti-American and reflects extreme predjudice. You comfortably sort people into a category of "low life" which explains all their behavior. That idea is offensive to American law and the US Constitution.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I don't think so 1:14. There's nothing wrong with "thinking out loud", so to speak.

As far as the "low lifes" comment is concerned, if you had pictures of 95% of the parties responsible for Eureka's accident, and they appeared to be low life druggies, it might be fair to come to the conclusion that the high accident rate can be attributed to Eureka's druggies.

That hasn't been done, of course, and probably can't be done. Even if it could, I think you'd find a cross section of Eureka society responsible for the accidents, not just low lifes.

So what would the common denominator be?

I suspect most accidents are caused by the so- called failure to yield. In other words: running a top sign or red light and, by extension, stopping but not seeing cross traffic and pulling out in front of traffic (happens in spurts on my corner of Trinity and E. Had one just a few days ago).

If most accidents are indeed caused by running stop signs and red lights, why do so many people do that in Eureka? I know we all make mistakes, but why are so many more made in Eureka?

I have no idea but it has to be some sort of mindset (attitude). Either that, or the statistics don't tell the whole story and something's being left out.

At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As traffic load increases, a funny thing happens. People go crazy just to not to get stuck sitting at a red light.

Navigate through a metropolitan area and you'll see people driving solid through a yellow, with one,two or three stragglers hanging on through the intersection as the light turns red.

Today in Eureka I saw that at three intersections at 2 p.m. on a very-clogged Broadway/101 -- cars stuck in mid-turn in the middle of an intersection because of backlogged cars in the lane ahead... then my light turns green and I can't go anywhere. People take chances, even if it means having everyone gawk at you as you block ALL traffic in the middle of an intersection.

On Highway 101 through Eureka it's worse because the lights are timed. Locals know that when a they see a yellow above, the other lights ahead are about to go yellow, so they speed up to stay ahead of the yellows. Couple that with heavy traffic due to the fact that you're driving on a frickin highway in the center of town and you have a recipe for disaster. I pity anyone who actually works in Eureka and has to deal with Highway 101 on a daily basis. No wonder people complain about traffic everywhere else in town -- people are going everywhere trying to find a faster, safer route.

At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our traffic problems are based on too much Love of our Self and not enough Love of our Neighbor.

At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't find driving in Eureka any different than driving any place else. You have to always be on the defensive now matter where you drive.

The intersection at 6th & Myrtle is a hazard, as has been noted here and by ER Editor Glenn Simmons recently. Coming on 6th from the north, you can't see the intersection at 5th & Myrtle and there is a lot of asphalt to cover if you are trying to cross. Cars turning right off of 5th get to the intersection at 6th faster than you expect. I live in that area, but I now avoid that intersection as much as possible.

I have been driving to Fortuna twice per day for work recently. When I need to cross Main Street, people always stop when I approach the crosswalk. But in Eureka, it's the reverse. Almost nobody will stop for you if you are trying to cross 4th or 5th streets in the crosswalk.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I think I've mentioned here before that I feel stopping for pedestrians is problematic. I usually don't stop for pedestrians, and I don't want cars to stop for me when I'm on foot.

I prefer cars drive on through and I'll wait and find an opening to cross the street. I'd rather do that than have some car stop for me and the car behind him not seeing me or expecting the car in front of him to stop, thus causing an accident.

That said, I've stopped for a few people mostly those crossing E or F Streets in Henderson Center hoping other drivers will be more aware of pedestrian traffic there.

Stopped the other day for lady when I normally wouldn't have: Was heading down West Ave. past Long's Drugs down to V Street/101. There was an old lady with a walker trying to cross from south to north on West to get to Silvercrest(?) Residence.

That's a dangerous spot as you can't see cars coming up from V Street until the come up the hill right before the crosswalk.

If it was someone trying to cross that might be agile enough to get across the street quickly, I probably wouldn't have stopped. With the lady using a walker and being so slow, I figured she'd be trapped in the crosswalk once she got out there and it would be just sheer luck if someone didn't hit her.

I stopped and luckily everyone else did. She made here way across the street unharmed.

At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so what does that sya for Eureka? That we have to be compared to cities of MILLIONS of people?

People here drive like they care for no one and nothing. Is sad. Its sick.

Lived in 7 other states- NEVER seen
STUPID driving like I see every day here!

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred is a good example of stupid Eureka drivers. He knows the rules but chooses to not follow them. No excuses, just plain don't care and proud of it.

Eureka is populated with burned out blue collar rednecks and hicks. Many are soon to be laid-off from unproductive, unskilled jobs. They're the cause of local social problems, including unaccountable car crashes.

When sufficient numbers of educated, intelligent, and successful folks move here from other places and the local trash dies out, OD's out, or is run out to Del Norte and Trinity counties, this will be a different and better place. Its happening slowly, but surely.

At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stopping for pedestrians in a crosswalk is the law, Fred. No matter whether you think it's a good idea or not.

At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to mention, common courtesy.

At 6:42 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Andrew wrote, "Stopping for pedestrians in a crosswalk is the law, Fred.".

I know it is, assuming they're actually in the crosswalk. Not sure if it applies if they're not in the crosswalk yet, and the lady I said I stopped for the other day was on the sidewalk, not in the crosswalk.

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A BIG part of the problem is simply this-
The higher up you sit in a vehicle- the less speed seems apparent to you-

Thanks to marketing and gullibility, we now have millions of HUGE SUVs on the road- soundproofed, with no road feel whatsoever.

Average bozo driver gets behind the wheel and they think they are God,
immune to the laws of physics, and of course with no concern for anyone else.

Want a real eye-opener, read up on the history of the Ford Explorer sometime!
The guys that build them wouldnt
drive them!

At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Eureka Police Department actually told Eureka drivers NOT to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks! Apparently, police are worried that if one driver obeys the law and stops for a pedestrian, another car will crash into the stopped car.

I choose to ignore the police in this one instance. When I see a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk, I first check my rearview mirror to see if any slack-jawed idiot is riding my tail. If not, I stop for the pedestrian, as California law has required all my life.

At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was rear-ended TODAY by a kid on Myrtle avenue who was talking to his friend and didn't realize the traffic was backed up from the West/Myrtle intersection alll the way past Crossroads. To me, the #1 problem is more cars, no additional room for them. #2 Idiots who yak on cells while driving. #3 somehow it has become acceptable to change lanes without signaling. It shouldn't be.

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, Arnold signed a law to make cellphone use in cars illegal. He signed it LAST YEAR and it will go into effect NEXT YEAR. Pardon me for shouting, but I'm ticked off at the s-l-o-w pace of State Gummint.

At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like most agree the best way to prevent accidents is to obey the existing laws and enact new ones that make drivers more attentive.

Freds a miscreant for disobeying laws and the Eureka PD are bozos for not enforcing laws that save lives.

I think a few "Stop for Pedestrians" signs on 4th and 5th, like you see around schools, would help.


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