Near West End neighbors push for change at dangerous Richmond intersection: ‘It’s really scary to cross’


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– A congested intersection is raising concern for some Richmond residents in the West End area.

According to First District City Councilmember Andreas Addison, reckless driving and speeding in the city has increased over the last couple of years. At the crossing of Patterson and Pepper avenues, residents are asking for a solution.

Ilana Lessin lives near the intersection, which some call ‘treacherous’ for pedestrians and drivers.

“I walk my kids across with the stroller and I have two little ones. It’s really scary to cross,” Lessin said.

Security camera video from Keneseth Beth Israel Synagogue on Oct. 28, shows a white car slamming into a tree and flipping over during a crash on Patterson. Lessin said she heard the impact.

“I knew right away that it was another accident. It was actually the second time that week,” Lessin said.

Dovid Asher is the rabbi at Keneseth Beth Israel. Opening in 1856, it’s the oldest traditional synagogue in Central Virginia. Asher told 8News, the synagogue was having prayer services at the time of the crash. Members and people nearby heard the sirens and started to gather in the front lawn.

“It is very unnerving for them to have to try to navigate their way, whether their walking across the street to attend services, or coming for a program,” Asher said.

Neighbors told 8News, there are many accidents at the junction of Patterson and Pepper avenues. Elliot Fitzgerald has lived in the neighborhood for more than six years and serves as the President of Keneseth Beth Israel. Fitzgerald said he was in a minor crash there a few years ago.

“I was on Patterson heading to the east, trying to make a left onto Pepper Avenue. I just got clipped going across the intersection,” Fitzgerald said. “I just worry for the whole community. It’s unsafe for walkers and joggers in the area, but also for drivers.”

Some nearby residents worry about speed, a downward slope on Pepper Avenue and a large bush that blocks incoming traffic.

“I see a car coming and I reverse and inch back,” Lessin said.

According to the Department of Public Works, traffic engineers performed a traffic signal study at Patterson and Pepper.

“This intersection met the necessary Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) traffic signal warrants. Safety is, and will remain, our highest priority.”

Paige Hairston, Department of Public Works

Hairston said a traffic signal is planned for the area.

Councilman Addison said most of the traffic comes from St. Christopher’s School’s drop off and pickup. Addison told 8News, the speed limit in the area has been lowered. The previous speed limit was 35mph all the way from Three Chopt Road to Maple Avenue. Now the speed limit at Pepper Avenue to Maple Avenue is 25mph. Addison has also requested speed enforcement from Richmond Police.

According to Addison, he has concerns over adding a traffic light to the intersection and he thinks this is a larger issue.

The City Councilmember is taking part in “No Car November”, and will be traveling throughout the city by foot, bike, and bus throughout the month.

“It’s a way for me to experience the good and bad of traveling the city as many residents depend on everyday. I’ve seen firsthand the recklessness of drivers from running stop signs, running red lights, not yielding to pedestrians, to speeding, etc. It’s why I’m prioritizing the vision of creating a 15 minute city where everything from work, school, parks, healthcare and food is within 15 minutes of every front door by foot, bike or bus,” Addison said.

Councilman Addison said he’s pushing for City Council to support a request to the Mayor to create a Department of Mobility and Multi-Modal Transportation in the Department of Public Works.

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