INDIANAPOLIS — Neighbors living near the intersection of Delaware and 24th streets say they don’t feel safe in the area they call home.
“I just don't feel safe, so we try to avoid this intersection as much as we can even though we live right here,” Shasta Grant Huntington said.
“I can't even count how many that there are, you know, it's been a lot,” Roy Shawhan said.
Shawhan and Grant Huntington are neighbors who have lived in Fall Creek Place for years and they both say the intersection of 24th and Delaware streets is dangerous.
They tell us they predicted a fatal crash like the one that killed Rashid Conteh on September 29 would happen, and they’ve been trying to get the city to make changes for years.
“In the last five years there's been at least one or two per year, like major accidents,” Grant Huntington said.
Whether it’s adding speed bumps, more visible stop signs or getting rid of the intersection entirely, neighbors at Fall Creek Place tell us something needs to change at the intersection of 24th Street and Delaware Street.
Two weeks ago in the early morning hours of September 29 Conteh was killed in an crash at the intersection.
“I emailed my City Council Rep and I know other neighbors had emailed their City Council Rep over the years," Grant Huntington said.
"In an e-mail I sent him three years ago I predicted that one day someone was going to die here and it's heartbreaking that that actually happened,” Grant Huntington said.
On September 30 another crash at the same location left neighbors wondering, when is it going to end?
“What they've talked about is putting speed humps here at the intersection and making people slow down before they come out on Delaware Street,” Shawhan said.
“I'm not a city planner so I don't want to speak to what should be done but I think something has to be done. I think the city is actually working on things now. I think we have their ear after this recent accident,” Grant Huntington said.
We reached out to a department of public works spokesperson, Ben Easely, who tells us the intersection is on their list to review.
He said their data shows between June of 2019 to June 2021 seven crashes were reported at the intersection, which he says isn’t a large amount. But he also notes that number could be larger if other crashes weren't reported to authorities.
"In line with historical data, these crashes seem to have resulted when eastbound/westbound motorists attempted to cross or turn onto northbound Delaware Street," Easley said.
Although the overall crash count doesn't put the intersection as a high priority, Easley says the fact that a fatal crash has now occurred will move it up to the top of their to-do list.
He also points out that the intersection is appropriately equipped with the standard informational signage directing traffic, as well as crosswalks and hi-vis pedestrian signage, but those safety measures don't work if people disregard them.
"As is now standard practice—following any criminal investigation as conducted by IMPD—a cross-departmental Fatal Crash Review Team will examine this incident in further detail," Easley said.
Any recommended changes to traffic flow or signage would require Council approval and support from the district Councilor.
Easley said the proposed DPW budget for 2023 includes funding for a safety engineer position. That person would be devoted to the Fatal Crash Review Team and proactively work with DPW to review the safety dimensions of the city's transportation projects and assets.
The budget also includes dedicated funding for safety infrastructure improvements, something that has not been included in the past.
"These two additions to the budget are historic investments which have not been seen in the past, and we hope they will make a substantive difference in our ability to effectively plan for and implement traffic safety infrastructure," Easley said.
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