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Milwaukee crash data points to major problems along Capitol Drive

Posted: 5:37 PM, Aug 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-13 17:32:53-04
One of the dangerous intersections in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE — New reckless driving numbers point to major problems along Capitol Drive. A recent study done by the Department of Public Works shows it is home to 60% of the worst-ranked intersections for crashes in Milwaukee. It also tells us that last year was the worst year for crashes ever in the city.

Reckless driving along West Capitol Drive may not seem like anything new to those, including John Calhoun, who have called Milwaukee's north side home their entire lives.

"I've been born and raised here, and all up and down Capitol Drive you've got speeders," Calhoun said. "They speed, they cruise."

The same goes for Maurice Sprewer.

"You can't live in this area and live on Capitol Drive and not see it," Sprewer said.

However, new data ranking the city's worst intersections puts the street's problems into perspective.

Here are Milwaukee's high-crash intersections:

Rank Intersection 2017 Crashes 2016 Crashes

1. W. Capitol Dr. & N. Sherman Blvd. 44 34

2. W. Capitol Dr. & 35th St. 36 40

3. W. Center St. & N. 27th St. 34 22

4. W. Capitol Dr. & N. 51st St. 30 40

5. W. Hampton Ave. & N. Teutonia Ave. 29 19

6. W. Hampton Ave. & N. Hopkins St. 28 17

7. W. Capitol Dr. & N. 34th St. 27 18

8. N. Teutonia Ave. & W. Villard Ave. 26 18

9. W. Capitol Dr. & N 76th St. 26 14

10. W. Capitol Dr. & N. Teutonia Ave. 24 11

11. W. Center St. & W. Lisbon/N. 60th 23 18

12. W. Hope Ave. & W. Hopkins St. 22 6

13. W. Capitol Dr. & N 26th St. 22 9

14. W. Fond du Lac Ave. & N. Sherman 22 14

15. W. Burleigh St./W. Fond du Lac/N. 35th 22 33

16. W. Fond du Lac & W. Locust St. 21 25

17. W. Capitol Dr. & N. 60th St. 21 26

18. W. Hampton Ave. & N. Sherman 21 21

19. W. North Ave. & N. 27th St. 21 14

20. W. Fond du Lac & N. 27th St. 21 12

DPW's latest study that used crash statistics from 2016 and 2017 shows six of the 10 most dangerous intersections in the city are along West Capitol Drive. Many of them are in Alderman Khalif Rainey's district.

"The issue just seems to span across the entire corridor of Capitol, and something cannot be done fast enough," Rainey said.

"I've been born and raised here, and all up and down Capitol Drive you've got speeders." — resident John Calhoun

Rainey's district has seen the most traffic fatalities during the last two years. Nineteen people were killed in District 7 between 2017 and 2018, highlighting a sense of urgency.

"It's an emergency, it's an epidemic, it's a crisis, it's something that the city of Milwaukee, the state of Wisconsin has to take a very serious look at and figure out how we can remedy this issue," Rainey said.

Across the city, there were more than 16,300 car crashes in 2018, the largest amount the city has ever seen. DPW statistics show more than 75% of those were caused by reckless behavior. Calhoun thinks it's time for harsher penalties.

"Extremely high tickets and long jail sentence the first time," Calhoun said. "Not two or three, the first time."