DOT Ranks Top 10 Intersections in Most Need of Improvement

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The downtown camera at 9th Street and Grand Avenue was originally just a red light camera, but police say they needed to do more.

The intersection was ranked the third most dangerous in Des Moines last year with 18 reported crashes.

“It’s not going to solve all the problems downtown, but it's definitely going to have an impact on the safety here at this intersection,” said Des Moines Sgt. Paul Parizek.

Even though it's not the most dangerous, police say through data collected it was determined there were enough vehicles that exceed the speed limit by 11 miles per hour or more, deciding that a speed camera would be effective.

The red light camera already in place has the capability to also be a speed camera, so with the flick of a switch, the camera is now “Speed on Green” capable.

There is no additional cost to the taxpayer for turning on this feature.

Drivers have mixed feelings.

“I drive it every day to work and in rush hour traffic. The last thing you want to do is to be against the speed, you got to go with the flow of traffic. For them to change it over to a cost-effective speed camera, as they like to put it, is just to generate more money. I’m not for it at all,” said Jean Johnson .

“You can see these lights are on a timer, so when people see the light start to go yellow, they really try and gun it to make all the intersections to get through downtown as quickly as possible. Probably a good idea to have some sort of full-time enforcement here,” said Francis Luzum.

The speed limit at 9th Street and Grand Avenue is 25 miles per hour. You will not be issued a ticket for speeding unless you exceed 11 miles per hour.

This is the second fixed speed camera Des Moines police use. There is one along I-235. Since it was installed there has been a steady increase in the number of citations, from 19,000 in 2011 to 55,000 in 2015.

Police also have two mobile speed cameras that move locations across the city.

A ticket from any one of the speed cameras will cost you $65.

DOT’s Top 10 Needed Improvements

Three Des Moines intersections are in the Department of Transportation’s Top Ten in most need of improvement. The DOT based its list off of traffic accidents between 2009 and 2013.

At No. 7 is the intersection of East Euclid Avenue and East 14th Street. The DOT says 69 accidents occurred in that time frame, seven of which involved a driver that ran a red light. None of the accidents involved speeding.

No. 8 is the Hubbell Avenue and East Douglas Avenue intersection, which had 47 crashes. More than half involved a driver running the stop sign. Again, none of the accidents were the result of speeding.

The DOT ranked East University Avenue and East 30th Street as the ninth intersection most in need of improvement. The DOT reported 73 accidents, five of which involved running a red light.

The 9th Street and Grand Avenue location didn’t make the list.