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Is This the Most Dangerous Intersection in the Bay Area?

If you've ever had to contend with the beastly intersection at the West end of Berkeley's Gilman Street, you know just how harrowing it can be. First, there are eight lanes of traffic leading to and from Interstate 80. Then, you have four different frontage roads. Right nearby, there's the Bay Trail for cyclists and pedestrians, who are also forced to navigate this intersection along with the many, many cars on the road. The situation leads to drivers taking risks they shouldn't be taking, resulting in accidents that could have been prevented. All told, this could very well be the most dangerous intersection for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in the Bay Area.

Sure, it's a bold claim. There are poorly designed intersections scattered all throughout the Bay (check out a few of them here). But I have definitely had to navigate this intersection before, and let me tell you, I avoid it at all costs.

Well, according to the Chronicle, there is a Whole Foods going in not too far away that is set to open later this year. As anyone who has ever been to a Whole Foods can tell you, this is bound to create substantially more traffic in that area, making that Gilman Street intersection even worse than it already is.

Reporter Kale Williams writes that the city is very aware of the hazards of this intersection, and this is yet another example of how slow big construction projects like these can be. Apparently, the city has been discussing possible solutions for a while now. They have contemplated placing additional stoplights and other signals at the intersection to regulate the flow of traffic, and while this would be the easiest and fastest solution, it has been ruled out because it would likely back up traffic onto Interstate 80.

The working solution, which is still in what Williams calls "the study phase," is to construct two roundabouts on either side of the freeway that would funnel those cars into the intersection in a more controlled way. Its estimated to cost a whopping $15.7 million, so predictably, funding is an issue. In November, voters will decide whether to raise taxes by half a cent in order to generate tax revenue to make this intersection safer, but even if the measure is approved and everything goes according to plan, construction apparently wouldn't start until summer of 2016.

This is too long to wait. Surely, once the Whole Foods opens, it will push the traffic situation over the edge and a fix will be even more urgent than before. How many accidents will happen between now and summer, 2016? Isn't there something that can be done in the meantime to help prevent car, bike and pedestrian accidents at this intersection?

Do you have experience navigating Berkeley's Gilman Street intersection? What do you think is the most dangerous intersection in the Bay Area? Please share it with us in the comments section.

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