Green Bay and Elm tops Winnetka’s 2011 accident list
The intersection of Elm Street and Green Bay Road is a high accident location in Winnetka. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 20, 2012 10:57AM
WINNETKA — The intersection of Green Bay Road and Elm Street in Winnetka’s downtown business district isn’t particularly tricky to navigate or hair-raising to drive.
But the 15 collisions that occurred there in 2011 were enough to push the junction to the top of the Winnetka Police Department’s list of crash-prone locations in 2011.
“Green Bay and Elm is a straight-on intersection; there is not anything complicated about it,” observed Steve Auth, assistant director of public works for the Village of Winnetka.
But start with a main thoroughfare for North Shore motorists; factor in some rush-hour congestion and hurried drivers trying to catch the next train, and conditions are ripe for mishaps along Winnetka’s stretch of Green Bay Road, according to village officials.
In all, five Green Bay Road locations were among the nine spots that made the police department’s list for 2011, based on the frequency of traffic accidents. The junctions of Green Bay Road and Tower Road in north Winnetka, and Green Bay Road and Winnetka Avenue in south Winnetka, each racked up 10 collisions. The intersection with Pine Street registered 7 accidents and the T-shaped intersection at Willow Road, 6.
Train stations are near most of the intersections.
“You do have increased volume during peak commuter times,” said Auth. “There is a tendency for people who need to find parking and catch a train to be kind of hurried. These intersections would be a collection point for all these people who are in a hurry during commuter hours,” said Auth, offering a possible explanation, but stressing he’s not examined the circumstances of the accidents.
Two blocks immediately east and west of the Green Bay/Elm intersection also were among the accident-prone locations: Elm Street and Lincoln to the east and Elm Street and Chestnut to the west.
The department has traditionally named the top five locations by frequency. However, the list usually includes more than five locations, as it did this year, because multiple intersections are tied in the number of collisions.
The number two location, according to accident frequency, was a “regular” on the accident list: The intersection of Hibbard and Willow roads.
The nine locations accounted for 81 of the 306 traffic accidents that were reported to Winnetka police last year. Injuries were reported in 12 percent of all accidents.
Locations that did not make the accident-prone list for 2011, but have appeared in recent years, included the ravines on the 900 to 1100 blocks of Sheridan Road and the Winnetka Avenue block that includes New Trier High School.