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River Falls’ Main Street requires caution, attention

May 6, 2010

Main Street in River Falls has become one of the most dangerous streets in Pierce County, with a total of 69 accidents in 2009, according to the River Falls Police Department.

According to the RFPD there have been 538 car accidents in Pierce County in 2009 with 69 of those accidents occurring along a single stretch of Main Street in River Falls.

Main Street stretches across about 2.8 miles in River Falls. The street is lined with several restaurants, antique shops and other store. It is also lined with street parking with old dime meters, sidewalks and a few cross walks for pedestrians.

A car crashed into Beyond Lighting on Main Street about four weeks ago, according to April Ingalls, the owner of the building. “This building has been hit three times before,” says Ingalls “I see crashes happen all the time from the store window. Its always people trying to park and do U-turns cause problems on this street.”

The reason that Main Street has the most car accidents is because of the “volume of traffic and traffic congestion, and the dynamics of many entrances and exits, stoplights and pedestrian movements,” River Falls Police Chief Roger Leque said, adding that all the variables put demand on his department.

“There is a demand on our resources to respond, investigate and report the accidents,” Leque said in an e-mail. “It is also a demand on other services such as the fire station, emergency medical services, the River Falls hospital, etc… as it relates to road blockage and injuries.”
According to Leque, the most common reason for these accidents on this street is rear end accidents that are due to the abrupt stopping of vehicles and inattentive driving.

Gina Rice, a sophomore at UW-River Falls, who was in a car accident last fall at the intersection of Main Street and Division Street, said that she worries about pedestrians crossing the street on the crosswalks along Main Street.

“If a driver can’t even see a car every once in a while, it makes me wonder how often we don’t notice a pedestrian,” she said. “That’s dangerous.”

When accidents occur along Main Street the police call towing companies to get the cars out of the way. Chad Svoboda, an employee of Swede’s towing Service, said he sometimes gets a call from the police telling him to tow the cars away from the site.

“We take the car to their house, the shop or wherever they want depending on what they plan to do with the car afterwards,” Svoboda said. “Most of the accidents that I deal with are fender benders or minor crashes that happen near by.”
UWRF junior Joseph Schneider said he had an accident on Main Street and understands that the road can be dangerous.

“I had an accident at the intersection of Main Street and Cascade Avenue last month,” Schneider said. “I don’t think it’s an unsafe road because there are a lot of stop light regulations, although I think it can be a busy road particularly around 4:30 (P.M.) until around 5:30 (P.M.) when it gets really busy and congested with a lot of traffic.”

Even though the road is dangerous, Schneider said that he thinks the city should come up with other options to keep vehicles off the dangerous road.

Although the street can be dangerous, Schneider said that it’s up to the driver to fix the problem of the number of crashes that happen. “Drivers just need to keep their eyes on the road, and be aware of their surroundings.”