The fatal crash that killed six people at the intersection of Ham Lane and Vine Street on Tuesday — as well as a motorcycle accident that left the driver dead on Ham near Vine in July — have some people questioning whether one of Lodi’s busiest streets is safe.
Mary Powers, who has lived near the intersection where the collision occurred for almost 20 years, said she regularly sees cars speeding through the intersection. She has seen a number of wrecks on Ham Lane over the years, she said.
“We use that intersection every day, and now I’m even afraid to get in my car and go anywhere,” Powers said.
Betty Volb, who has lived near the same intersection for 35 years, said she thinks Ham Lane may be one of the most dangerous streets in the city.
“We have too many accidents, and people are getting killed now,” she said. “Something is going to have to be done about it. It’s gotten to the point that Highway 12 doesn’t have the top honors anymore. This is going to open some eyes.”
The data is inconclusive at this point as to whether Ham Lane is the most dangerous street in Lodi.
City spokesman Jeff Hood said Wednesday that numbers from the Public Works department show Tuesday’s crash was the fourth collision at the intersection of Ham and Vine this year.
The fatal motorcycle crash in July was not included in the figures because it didn’t happen in the intersection.
The intersection ranks 11th in the number of wrecks since 2010, and is the seventh-busiest intersection in the city, according to data from Public Works provided by Hood.
Since 2010 there have been 17 crashes at Ham and Vine, which sees an average of 18,500 cars pass through per day, Hood said. The only fatal collision in the numbers provided by the city for that intersection was the one that occurred Tuesday.
Hood said collisions at the intersection don’t tend to be fatal, because speed on city streets tend to be relatively low. Witnesses to Tuesday’s crash have told the News-Sentinel that they believe an SUV involved in the crash was speeding.
Most of the collisions at Ham and Vine since 2010 were caused by people failing to yield to oncoming traffic while making a turn, Hood said. Two of the 17 collisions in the intersection since 2010 involved vehicles hitting pedestrians, he said.
Three other intersections on Ham Lane had more wrecks than the one at Ham and Vine, according to Hood.
More crashes have occurred at Ham Lane and Tokay Street since 2010 than at any other Lodi intersection. The intersection at Ham Lane and Lockeford Street had the third-highest rate, and Ham Lane and Lodi Avenue ranked ninth. Five Intersections on Kettleman Road have also seen more collisions since 2010 than Ham and Vine.
Hood did not provide the number of crashes for each of the 10 more dangerous intersections. He said any further data will come from a Lodi Police Department press conference in the near future.
Mayor Alan Nakanishi, who was in a car crash on Ham Lane near Lockeford Street in 2007, said he believes the street is safe.
“It’s a relatively safe road,” Nakanishi said during a phone interview from Kofu, Japan, where he is touring Lodi’s sister city. “I was very surprised the accident happened there.”
Between 1994 and 2011, there were four crashes that involved fatalities on Ham Lane — one each in 1994, 1995, 2008 and 2010, for a total of four deaths — according to data from www.city-data.com, which gathers statistical data on cities throughout the United States. Statistics on traffic fatalities only run through 2011 on the website.
During that time period Lodi saw 61 fatal traffic collisions, according to the data.
Ham Lane ranked fourth in the number of fatalities from traffic collisions, placing it behind Highway 99, which had 11 fatalities, and Highway 12 and Turner Road, which both had seven fatalities from 1994 through 2011, according to the data on www.city-data.com.
Lodi News-Sentinel reporter Kristopher Anderson contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Todd Allen Wilson at email@example.com.