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Friant Road Intersection Draws Concern in Fresno

Torem & Associates

A notorious intersection in Fresno’s affluent northeast sector, the Friant Road interaction with  Shepherd Avenue, has come into the limelight for its alarming safety record. The last two years have witnessed numerous accidents, including T-bone collisions leading to serious injuries and, notably, the loss of a young woman’s life a year ago. Despite growing public outcry, the city of Fresno has yet to implement either immediate or long-term measures to mitigate the dangers of this intersection.

Recent Collision  at Friant Road Intersection Highlights Ongoing Safety Issues

A significant incident captured on video on March 8 features a black SUV speeding through a red light at the intersection, colliding with a UPS truck executing a left turn. The collision dramatically underscores the intersection’s dangers, where at least one major accident is reported monthly, often involving vehicles making perilous maneuvers to avoid crashes.

History of Fatalities Raises Alarms

The safety record of Friant Road is grim, with videos showcasing numerous fatal accidents. Notably, a tow truck ran a red light last April, hitting a sedan and killing a 22-year-old woman. Nearby intersections along Friant Road have also seen tragic accidents, including the death of a 20-year-old man in a multi-car pile-up at Friant and Audubon, a cyclist killed at Friant and Audubon, and a 10-year-old boy hit by a vehicle at Friant and Fort Washington.

Concerns Over Inadequate Stoplighting

The cause of many accidents at the Friant Road intersection may be attributed to insufficient stoplighting. Particularly problematic is a lane on northbound Friant Road without a dedicated overhead stoplight, leading to confusion and frequent running of red lights. The issue is exacerbated by a green arrow that may mislead drivers into making illegal right turns on red.

City Officials Respond to Intersection Safety Concerns

Councilmember Garry Bredefeld has pointed out that the intersections aren’t the issue but rather inattention and distracted driving. Mayor Jerry Dyer is considering additional safety measures, including prohibiting right turns on red along certain sections of Friant Road. While plans for redesigning the Friant-Audubon intersection are near completion and focus on improving pedestrian safety and business access, there are no current plans to address the Friant Road intersection with Shepherd Avenue specifically.

Comparative Accident Statistics

Although the Fresno Police Department does not maintain detailed citywide accident logs, records indicate the Friant Road intersection with Shepherd Avenue experienced 42 collisions from January 2020 through April 2024. This toll starkly contrasts with the California Highway Patrol’s data, which identifies Palm and Ashlan as having the highest number of crashes in Fresno for 2020, with 25 incidents, followed by 14 at Friant Roulette.

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