AUSTIN (KXAN) — When Sydney Rosa moved into her east Austin apartment at the corner of 11th Street and the Interstate 35 northbound frontage road, she never thought she would have to worry about traffic crashes.
“The pattern for how people get into accidents at this intersection is always the same,” Rosa said.
That’s what she has noticed over the last two and a half years of living near the intersection. Initially, Rosa thought maybe it was a traffic light issue but officials at the City of Austin’s Transportation Department said they had personnel check the traffic light system and everything was working as it should. Nonetheless, Rosa believes the intersection is dangerous and she has had a close call.
“I was coming eastbound on 11th Street, my light had turned green and because I know about this particular intersection, I usually wait for a second or two longer to make sure no one else is coming,” Rosa explained. “I start to pull out and someone almost plows into me and we both end up turning our wheels to avoid a collision, but everyone behind me also slammed on their brakes because they were moving forward as well. I had a green light and that’s when I was like really fed up and I was like something has to be done about this.”
She said the crashes she has witnessed always seem to be the “same type of accident.”
“You always have someone who is going east on 11th Street, and then someone coming on the frontage road and T-boning them,” she said.
It’s a safety concern she wants to see addressed for her and her neighbors’ safety.
“I am absolutely concerned for everyone who lives in this building because we have to cross that intersection every day just to get to school, or work or to see our friends and loved ones,” Rosa said. “Someone has to take responsibility and do something about it now. The city owes that to its residents.”
Since 2018, the transportation department reports there have been 34 reported crashes at the 11th Street and I-35 northbound frontage road intersection. One of those was a deadly crash. In February, a child died following a crash involving a CapMetro bus. There, the city believes the driver of the vehicle involved ran a red light.
Over the last several months, Rosa’s neighbor has also been keeping a tally of the crashes at the bustling intersection.
“Working from home, especially during the pandemic, you would just hear the wrecks nonstop outside and I thought usually it would be maybe during rush hour or something like that but it’s throughout the day, no matter what time of the day it is,” said Layne Box, Rosa’s neighbor.
Transportation officials said when comparing this intersection to others along the I-35 frontage road, the 11th Street and I-35 intersection is not in the top 30. ATD said, for the most part, the city says frontage roads are typically more dangerous than other city streets. Speeding continues to remain a top factor for crashes.
But Rosa and Box hope that by sharing their story they warn drivers and help keep them, pedestrians and their neighbors safe.
“I just hope that the volume of accidents, preventable accidents goes way down,” she said. “And I can enjoy my apartment and my life here without hearing accidents all night.”