Reporting Vanessa Borge
PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – Few in America had probably ever heard of Pembroke Pines until a State Farm Insurance report literally put the West Broward city on the map.
In 2001, the company named Pines Boulevard and Flamingo Road was ranked the “most dangerous intersection” in the nation. The report compiled accident claims from January 1999-December 2000 to determine rankings.
The number of accidents at that intersection over the two-year period of the study was 357.
“It was just known all over the place as the most dangerous intersection,” said Pembroke Pines resident Dawn Brookins.
“Things weren’t marked like they are today,” said resident Jim Flippen. “There wasn’t an awareness of the situation that we have today. There were a lot of accidents in fact one of my sons was in an accident there.”
So a decade later, does it still hold the title? After making headlines for the wrong reasons, the city of Pembroke Pines made change including adding another eastbound through lane, lengthening turn lanes, and closing an opening to a McDonalds restrurant in the median on Pines to prevent left turns into their parking lot.
“Approximately a year ago we put up red light cameras in three directions,” said Pembroke Pines Traffic Sgt. Scott Carris.
Sgt. Carris said the most significant change in the intersection are those red light cameras. At $158 a ticket drivers are putting a break to their red light running.
All those changes seemed to have worked… crashes dropped 64 percent in the four years after the changes were made. From 1997 to 2000, there were 431 accidents at the intersection, an average of 108 per year, according to state records.
From 2006 to 2009, there were 157 accidents at the intersection, an average of 39 per year.
And in the first six months of this year, Sgt. Carris told us there have only been four accidents in the middle of that intersection. “It’s definitely a safer intersection. It’s a lot more orderly, there’s more traffic but a lot more orderly than it was back in the old days.”
About 107,000 cars a day go through the intersection, which is in the heart of a growing West Broward community.
“The volume of traffic has gone up but I don’t think the amount of accidents has gone up to meet that,” said Carris.
State Farm Insurance no longer tracks dangerous intersections across America.