The visitor

Do hummingbirds have really, really small wristwatches? A hummer was flitting by about 2 p.m. every day to check out these red fellows. I got my camera, a chair, and a book (one of Philip Kerr’s excellent Bernie Gunther novels) and settled in to wait. Sure enough….


WisDOT contentions die in fiery crash with truth

WisDOT wants us to believe that if only I-94 had more lanes there would be fewer crashes, and fewer people would be maimed or killed.

One of the main reasons for rebuilding I-94, WisDOT says in the I-94 reconstruction / expansion Draft Environmental Impact Statement, is to “address the obsolete design of the I‐94 East‐West Corridor to improve safety and decrease crashes.”

That crash you hear is WisDOT’s spin job slamming into the hard wall of facts presented by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin. The group got a set of crash data and did its own analysis of crashes from 2005-2009, the same time frame examined by WisDOT. Here’s a few of the findings.

  • There were five fatalities that occurred on the stretch between 2005 and 2009. All of these happened outside of peak hour congestion periods, usually late at night or early in the morning.
  • Of 42 incapacitating injuries that occurred – only 11 took place at peak hour.
  • Of a total of 1,373 crashes that resulted in injury, or possible injury in the selected time period, speeding was a factor in over forty percent.  
  • Alcohol was a factor in 35% of all crashes that resulted in incapacitating injury or death.
  • Of a total of 4,745 crashes, 71% were rear-end and sideswipe crashes. Only sixteen of 2,659 rear end crashes resulted in incapacitating injury (6%) – and speed was a factor in fifty percent of those. Half of these crashes occurred outside peak hour, even though the corridor has far lesser traffic volume during that time.
WisDOT’s own Strategic Highway Safety Plan, which 1000 Friends notes was ignored in the DEIS, contends that “Nationally, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, failing to yield, and running red lights contribute to approximately 93 percent of traffic crashes. In 57 percent of these crashes, driver behavior is the sole reason for the crash.”
The accidents were not caused by congestion and not by design flaws. They were caused by bad driving. And on I-94, the vast majority of most serious crashes occurred when the freeway wasn’t crowded.
Not exactly a persuasive arguments for spending a billion dollars to add lanes.