A tractor-trailer drives by a damaged fence surrounding a stormwater detention pond along Fourth Street near Corbin Drive in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A tractor-trailer drives by a damaged fence surrounding a stormwater detention pond along Fourth Street near Corbin Drive in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Purchase Photo

Can bigger, shinier signs stop crashes at this Everett road?

A reader asks how the city addresses a situation where so many don’t negotiate a curve.

If you live in an area long enough, you start to learn some ins and outs.

Which stop lights take extra long to change. When traffic usually backs up in certain spots. And where crashes happen over and over again.

Shaun Hulbert, an Everett resident, has noticed a repeated-crash site on Fourth Avenue West where the road curves to an intersection with Corbin Drive. North of Corbin Drive, the road becomes Fifth Avenue West.

“Can you please ask the city of Everett and the police what they are doing about (Fourth Avenue West) in Everett from the fire station near Evergreen Way to the bend where people keep driving through the fence?” Hulbert wrote to The Daily Herald.

He noted that the fence was replaced with a different section where someone drove through and damaged landscaping.

“So I just went by there again and it looks like the car did go through the same area they replaced with a chain link fence and planted some trees, which a couple are now destroyed,” he said. “The speed limit is 25 mph so I wonder how fast they are going?”

They should have been traveling about 25 mph, which is the posted limit. Heading south on the road, the advisory speed is 20 mph.

That curve is a known problem to the city, which owns and uses the small lot as a stormwater detention pond. Over the past five years, the city has had nine reports of crashes near Fourth Avenue West and Fifth Avenue West, just south of Corbin Drive, Everett Public Works spokesperson Kathleen Baxter said in an email.

Of those nine crashes, five were during dark hours and four involved allegedly impaired drivers.

In recent years, the city has increased police enforcement and changed some warning signs about the road curve to alert drivers. Everett Police Department’s traffic officers have spent over 36 hours in the area since January 2020. In that time, they contacted 185 drivers about violations, Baxter said.

“We are always looking to improve the safety of our roads,” Baxter said. “ … Over the past five years, city Public Works crews have increased the size and reflectivity of the curve warning signs, added 3-foot-long reflective panels to the fence and reflective markers in the center of the roadway to assist drivers in identifying the curve.”

When the fence or other parts of the property are damaged by someone, the city is responsible for repairs, which have cost about $20,000 over the past five years. Sometimes the city seeks restitution from the person, if and when the driver can be identified, Baxter said.

Obviously, signs are limited in their ability to prevent 3,500 pounds of sedan — traveling too fast or turning too late — from crashing into the fence.

But maybe with enough time and enforcement, people can learn to slow down for that curve.

Have a question? Call 425-339-3037 or email streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your first and last name and city of residence.

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