Across the thousands of miles of city streets in Los Angeles, there is one intersection more than any other that causes trouble for vehicles and pedestrians alike: It’s where Sepulveda Boulevard meets Sherman Way in Van Nuys.
Last year, the Los Angeles Police Department recorded 47 collisions around the intersection, the most of any intersection in the entire city. There are 16 lanes of traffic that converge at the corner, which is ringed by strip malls. A busy on-ramp to the I-405 is just a few blocks away.
Drivers heading North on Sepulveda Boulevard often try to speed through the intersection onto Sherman Way before the dedicated left-turn light turns red, said Michael Owens, manager of Valley’s Finest Barber Lounge, which is located there.
“People try to beat the light, but meanwhile, pedestrians are still crossing at that intersection,” Owens said.
Van Nuys is peppered with collision-prone intersections. The third-most dangerous crossroads is just a few blocks south, at Sepulveda and Burbank Boulevard. It racked up 40 collisions last year. At Sherman Way and Woodman Ave., a few blocks to the east, there were 34 collisions.
We examined a year’s worth of collision data from the LAPD to locate the most dangerous intersections in the city. Van Nuys is home to four of the top 20 most dangerous ones.
Traffic collisions are a hallmark of living in LA.
The LA Mayor’s Office launched Vision Zero in 2015 to get rid of deaths from traffic collisions by 2025, but have seen lackluster progress in achieving this goal.
The city’s Department of Transportation has a special name for these streets where most traffic collisions occur: the High Injury Network. The network is used to identify and prioritize safety improvement projects as well as education and enforcement strategies on these streets.
All four Van Nuys intersections with the most traffic collisions are part of the High Injury Network.
Valley Glen also had more than one intersection show up in the top 20 most dangerous intersections.
Van Nuys also came in second place for the neighborhood with the most collisions. The only neighborhood with more was Downtown, one of the most densely populated and congested neighborhoods in the city.
Lt. David Ferry, with the Traffic Enforcement section of the LAPD, said that all of the Van Nuys intersections on the list were on his radar.
“I personally gave each officer a High Injury Network map and list of streets with valid engineering and traffic surveys,” he said.
The LAPD has more than 20 officers conducting traffic enforcement in Van Nuys.
Michael Browning, vice president of the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, said the council is aware of the numerous intersections that are prone to accidents.
“I work with the LAPD Van Nuys Division to post safety tips on their community police advisory board,” said Browning. He also posts the information on Next Door, a social network for neighborhoods.
Browning said that Van Nuys residents complain to the neighborhood council all the time about unsafe driving.
How we did it: We examined LAPD publicly available data on reported traffic collisions during 2019 compared to the previous year. For neighborhood boundaries, we rely on the borders defined by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about our data here.
LAPD data only reflect crimes that are reported to the department, not how many crimes actually occurred. In making our calculations, we rely on the data the LAPD makes publicly available. On occasion, LAPD may update past crime reports with new information, or recategorize past reports. Those revised reports do not always automatically become part of the public database.
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