Latest crash adds to worry about Dover intersection

The Young & McNelis law firm building suffered cosmetic damage from a two-vehicle crash in downtown Dover Monday morning. Submitted photos/Saint Francis

DOVER — Seven crashes in 5 1/2 years at the same downtown intersection, the latest four days ago.

No wonder folks nearby get squeamish with every brake screeching and thump outside, though not all are crashes.

Running a red light at North and State street at approximately 6:35 a.m. Monday, a vehicle crashed into another; an SUV rolled onto its side and a car was pushed onto a sidewalk and near a building. The speed limit there is 25 mph.

Saint Francis EMS transported two persons with minor injuries to the hospital, while Dover Police and the Kent County Department of Public Safety also responded.

Thankfully no pedestrians were pounding the pavement and an early-arriving Young & McNelis law office secretary wasn’t in harm’s way this time.

A driver was cited by police for a traffic violation and insurance companies are now involved.

The nearest brick building’s exterior was only slightly scuffed up, resulting in superficial/cosmetic damage. A flower pot near the front entrance was “pretty much wiped out,” attorney Jeffrey A. Young reported.

On his way to work, Mr. Young received a text message “This can’t be happening again” along with crash pictures to confirm that it was.

Two motorists were taken to the hospital after a two-vehicle crash Monday morning at the intesection of North and State streets in Dover.

Reinforcement bar was earlier added to the three-deep brick structure after a crash and a desk was moved back 8 to 10 feet, so interior safety is better. Still, though, “I’m tired of a vehicle crashing into or abutting my front lobby every so often,” Mr. Young said.

“That’s no way to work in an office. It’s not like we sit around worrying about it [24 hours a day, 7 days a week]) but when [a crash] happens we’re not surprised.”

What to do

Mr. Young said the Delaware Department of Transportation has done all it can to safen the tightly situated intersection.

“I don’t think there’s a solution to it,” Mr. Young said. “DelDOT has done everything under the sun to address it but due to the traffic volume making a one-way impossible and the logistics of it, it’s just not a very good intersection.”

DelDOT spokesman C.R. McCleod said the agency’s traffic safety team identified the location “as part of our 2015 Hazard Elimination Program. Recommendations included increasing the yellow times and adding back-plates to the traffic signal heads.

“Both of those items have been implemented. No additional modifications are currently planned.”

An annual DelDOT Highway Safety Improvement Program report explained that “The Critical Ratio method (also known as the Rate Quality Control Method) uses a statistical test to determine whether the crash rate at a particular location is significantly higher than a predetermined average crash rate for locations of similar characteristics.”

According to City of Dover “The State has the responsibility of State Street and the city has West North. (Changes) would definitely have to be a collaborative effort but the State would be the lead agency.”

This week, nearby Parke Green Galleries this online message:

“Dear People. Please drive slowly in the historic district. We have a lot of accidents on the corner of North and State so be extra careful at that intersection.

“This is like the fifth or sixth accident in the last couple of years. Not sure how this can be addressed but a pedestrian walk sign and clearer crosswalk markings may help.

“Please slow down on State Street — especially from Water Street to Division Street. Slower speed is the only thing that is going to help this situation I think.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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