Report shows most dangerous intersections in Iowa City

Four of the top 10 are at Highway 6

Traffic moves through the intersection of Sycamore Street and Highway 6 as snow falls in Iowa City on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Traffic moves through the intersection of Sycamore Street and Highway 6 as snow falls in Iowa City on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The most dangerous intersection in Iowa City is Sycamore Street and Highway 6 on the city’s southeast side, a new report shows.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County submitted an analysis to the Iowa City Council of the city’s dangerous intersections, which factored in the number of collisions, crash rates and severity of crashes in 2015 through 2017. The report will help staff determine where and how to make improvements on its roadways.

Four of the city’s 10 most dangerous intersections were along Highway 6, with three at the top of the list — with the second being at South Gilbert Street and the third at Boyrum Street. Tied for eighth is the Highway 6 intersection with Riverside Drive.

“I don’t think there’s anything shocking in the results,” said Kent Ralston, Metropolitan Planning Organization executive director. “Primarily the high-collision locations are along the roadways with the highest volume of traffic.”

The Metropolitan Planning Organization has done similar studies for the area, but Iowa City wanted one that focused on traffic collisions. The effort was part of the City Council’s strategic plan item to make traveling through the city safer.

Ralston said city staff members plan to present findings in an upcoming council meeting.

The study also broke the city into quadrants, and staff will now look at the top 10 intersections in each quadrant and determine how to make each safer. They will look at whether intersections have proper signage, pavement markings, signal timing and visibility in the hopes of reducing crashes and their severity.

Ralston said staff have begun to perform field audits of the intersections and will make needed corrections in the next few months, weather permitting.


When it comes to midblock collisions, or collisions that don’t occur at intersections, the worst offender is Highway 1 between Sunset Street and Mormon Trek Boulevard, according to the study. North Dubuque Street between Taft Speedway and Kimball Road as well as North Dodge Street between Interstate 80 eastbound and Scott Boulevard round out the top three most dangerous midblock streets.

Also in the study was a list showing how Iowa City matches up when it comes to collisions per capita compared with 10 of its similarly sized Iowa counterparts, as well as Coralville and North Liberty.

Iowa City ranked fourth on that list with 57.3 collisions per 1,000 people between 2015 and 2017. North Liberty had the lowest at 19.4. Cedar Rapids had 48.1 per 1,000 people.

Davenport was the worst on the list at 90.3.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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