With tens of thousands of drivers passing through each week, the East Side intersection of East Washington Avenue and North Stoughton Road saw more than 40 crashes last year, earning it a dubious title from police: Madison’s most dangerous intersection.
It topped the department’s list of 10 intersections with the most traffic crashes, made up of busy thoroughfares and a pair of roundabouts drivers have had trouble navigating on the Far West Side.
There were 5,054 traffic crashes in Madison last year, according to police. That was up slightly from 2012’s total of 4,676 crashes.
The 10 intersections police spotlighted in a report released Monday account for 295 crashes.
East Washington Avenue and South Stoughton Road — or highways 151 and 51, respectively — didn’t claim the No. 1 spot because of any design flaws, authorities said.
Rather, the intersection’s problems are more due to the sheer volume of cars passing through it.
There were 42 crashes at the intersection in 2013, leading to 13 injuries, according to the report, authored by Madison police Sgt. Rahim Rahaman and two department interns.
Saul Camargo, a supervisor at a Subway restaurant that looks out onto the intersection, said he was not surprised to learn there were so many crashes there because of how busy it is.
“It’s probably just drivers who don’t pay attention,” Camargo said.
“They’re on their phones or something.”
Two other East Washington Avenue intersections made the top-10 list, something police also said had to do with traffic volume.
Three intersections along the Verona Road corridor appeared on the list as well, in part because of the major construction project unfolding there, police said.
Once complete, the re-engineered Verona Road should be much safer, the report’s authors said.
Interactive map: Madison's most dangerous intersections
Madison police compiled this list of the 10 intersections in the city using crash data from 2013.
Fast times on Stoughton Road
Two other intersections that ranked in the top 10 can be found a few miles south of the first-place finisher on South Stoughton Road, which the report’s authors attribute to a speed limit they called excessive.
With 33 crashes, Stoughton Road and Buckeye Road earned second place on the list.
Nearby, Stoughton Road and Pflaum Road placed seventh with 26 crashes, which led to 17 injuries — the most injuries of any intersection named on the top-10 list.
Stoughton Road’s speed limit through both of those intersections is 55 mph, which makes the traffic lights at Pflaum and Buckeye roads a hazard, police said.
Rear-end collisions accounted for 47 of the 59 crashes — about 80 percent — at those two intersections, according to police.
“Due to the large amount of traffic in both directions, we believe that the speed limit should be lowered,” the report said.
The circular intersection of Mineral Point Road and Pleasant View Road fell from first place to fourth between 2012 and 2013, and saw 16 fewer crashes, for a total of 30.
Rounding out the top 10, the intersection of Highway M, Pleasant View Road and Valley View Road had 25 crashes, a slight increase over last year.
Police say drivers are becoming more familiar with roundabouts, and signs ahead of the circles are helping them navigate the traffic patterns.
Still, crashes associated with drivers not yielding to people already in the roundabout remained an issue, accounting for the majority of crashes at both intersections.
The roundabouts had the lowest injury totals of any intersection named on the list — four people were injured in the 55 total crashes between the two.
Slideshow: Madison's most dangerous intersections, as seen from space
Madison police analyzed more than 5,000 traffic crashes from 2013 to create their list of the 10 most dangerous intersections in the city. Here's how those intersections appear in recent satellite images provided to flashearth.com by NASA.