The Most Dangerous Intersections in Burbank

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Burbank and Victory, Burbank's busiest intersection (Photo By: Edward Tovmassian)

In relation to Burbank’s road safety, examining the recent history of the most hazardous intersections in the city may indicate overall trends in driver vigilance and the effectiveness of alterations made by the City.  

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Currently, the City lists the three most dangerous intersections in Burbank as Victory Place and Burbank Boulevard (50 accidents between 2015 and 2020), Olive Avenue and Buena Vista Street (45 accidents between 2015 and 2020), and Buena Vista Street and Victory Boulevard (41 accidents between 2015 and 2020). Out of all collisions at these sites from 2015 to 2020, none resulted in fatalities, and only two resulted in severe injuries. In addition, both of these two more serious accidents, which took place at Olive Avenue and Buena Vista Street, involved a driver hitting a fixed object rather than another vehicle.

Traffic Accident Olive and Buena Vista car vs traffic pole. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Between 2015 and 2018, all three intersections saw a gradual increase in accidents. Peak numbers were reached in 2018, with 12 accidents annually at Buena Vista and Olive as well as Burbank and Victory, and 11 accidents for the year at the Buena Vista and Victory intersection. 

The City largely attributes accidents experienced at these locations to their overall heightened amount of traffic. Each of the three intersections experiences a passage of anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 cars every day. Burbank and Victory is the busiest intersection in the City and sees a flow of over 6,400 vehicles every hour during afternoon rush times. 

Most accidents experienced at these stops involve one driver turning on a yellow, while the through driver advances late in their yellow light, sometimes running a red light. The City has made efforts to compensate through increased light times for drivers, but this usually results in a fleeting decline in overall accidents.

BurCal Apartments8715

“Signal timing in Burbank has always been conservative, providing more yellow and all-red time than required by Federal and State standards,” a City spokesperson said. “Historically, increases in yellow and all-red time have been followed by a reduction in accidents for a time, but after a few months, drivers become accustomed to the new timing and again begin to push the yellow and red clearance intervals.”

Other rationales for accidents are running red lights for alternate reasons, such as driving under the influence or with distractions. The City cites the AAA Foundation’s statistic that 28% of crash deaths which occur at signalized intersections are the result of a driver running through a red light, something that the City itself is unable to prevent through engineering efforts.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

“Unfortunately, no amount of engineering or increasing of yellow or red signal timing would change these cases,” the City Spokesperson said of reckless drivers running red lights. “We are seeing more and more instances of minor ‘bump’ rear end collisions between vehicles waiting at a red light. These are again most likely due to distracted drivers not being aware that they have released their brake or have their head down while releasing their break.”

The number of accidents at the intersections has declined steadily since 2018, however, which the City notes can be attributed in part to stay-at-home orders from COVID-19. Even prior to the pandemic, however, 2019 accident numbers were reduced to a total of 7 accidents annually at both Buena Vista and Victory and Burbank and Victory, and a total of 4 accidents at the Buena Vista and Olive crossing. This figure of 4 annual accidents has remained for Buena Vista and Olive in 2020, while there have been zero reported accidents for the year at the remaining two intersections. 

“Please note that the data we have for [the] year 2020 and beyond may be skewed by the pandemic’s impact on traffic volume,” the City Spokesperson said. “[Burbank] PD reported a sharp decrease in overall traffic collisions, including reported traffic collisions, due to COVID-19, the Safer at Home Order, and [a] reduced number of vehicles on our roadways. We will continue to monitor and analyze these locations to check the trending of accidents.”

Future updates to these locations are not currently planned by the City due to preexisting alterations, including Victory and Burbank being modified from a five-way intersection to its current pair of intersections as a part of the Costco development in 2001.

“The intersection is built out, all the left turn movements have protected green arrows, and the traffic signal is programmed to operate at its maximum efficiency,” the City Spokesperson said of the Victory/Burbank intersection. “So there is no plan for any changes other than equipment and hardware upgrades as part of our normal signal maintenance program.”

Furthermore, both The Buena Vista/Victory and Buena Vista/Olive stops were upgraded with new signals in 2017 by the Public Works Department’s Traffic Section. These updates came as a result of the Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program grant project, entitled the “Buena Vista Street Safety Improvement Project.” 

“The project deployed signal timing plans, system parameters for traffic responsive plan selection, system detection, fiber optic connections, flashing yellow arrow and right turn overlap signals,” the City Spokesperson said. “[This was done with the] goal of enhancing safety by improving signal timing and traffic operations of 13 traffic signals on Buena Vista and 23 signals on crossing arterials.”

New traffic lights with FLASHING arrows installed in several areas of the city. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

Prior to the addition of the yellow flashing arrows at Buena Vista and Olive, the total number of collisions for the time period of March of 2014 to 2017 was 22, while from March of 2017 to March of 2020 the total number of accidents was 27. This increased figure can largely be connected to 2017 and 2018 collisions, while the following two years have seen a much lower total number of accidents as drivers have adjusted to this update. 

For tips on driving safely not just at these intersections, but throughout Burbank’s roadways, the City advises such suggestions as thinking safely, avoiding distracted driving, going the speed limit, and maintaining an awareness of bicyclists and pedestrians. 

“The advice that the City has for Burbank residents would apply to driving in general rather than just at these three locations,” the City Spokesperson said. “Safe driving is the first step in preventing accidents on the road. Every driver is responsible to drive safely to ensure his and others safety.”

Below are the full list of tips from the City on safe driving:

  1. Think safety first
  2. Avoid distracted driving
  3. Go with the speed limit
  4. Plan ahead
  5. Be aware of your surroundings and know your blind spots
  6. Be wary of pedestrians and bicyclists
  7. Stay alert and awake and pay attention to the flow of traffic
  8. Follow all road signs and signal indications
  9. Yellow light doesn’t mean speed up to pass the intersection
  10. Keep a safe braking distance from the car in front 
  11. Do not assume that the other drivers will stop for you
  12. Be aware of aggressive tailgaters and avoid road rage
  13. Avoid driving during inclement weather
  14. It is ok to miss your street; just make a turn on the next one
  15. Avoid hard braking, acceleration, and cornering

Where does your street stack up? Here is a list of traffic accidents with injuries during the past five years:

Street Name202020192018201720162015Total 
Alameda385854495266317
Allan 1  225
Amherst12625420
Andover 2431111
Angeleno771710131064
Ash   1  1
Avon23674628
Beachwood27434424
Bel Aire 4652421
Bethany  223310
Birmingham 111 25
Bob Hope1 231310
Bonnywood  433212
Brace Canyon    1 1
Brighton24265120
Broadway   11 2
Buena Vista306772765852355
Burbank223349382934205
Burton 11   2
Cabrini   1  1
California13214415
Catalina 2512111
Cedar 4411212
Chandler15657529
Chavez   1  1
Chestnut 2  1 3
Clark25524220
Clybourn14755527
Cohasset11 1227
Concord    1 1
Cordova 122 38
Cornell12 1116
Country Club111   3
Cypress384103129
Dartmouth  13127
Delaware53565731
Dymond  1 2 3
East  2  13
Edison1121319
Elm11  1 3
Elmwood11335114
Empire21141013773138
Eton1  11 3
Evergreen1 3 2 6
Fairmount 2 3 16
Fairview24135 15
Farley  1   1
Fifth21334316
First271118101260
Florence  122 5
Flower3 21  6
Floyd   1  1
Ford    1 1
Forest Lawn  1  12
Franklin1     1
Frederic23443420
Front37473529
Glenoaks224434474553245
Glenwood 11 114
Griffith Park 3 33514
Grinell1 12 15
Grismer4 11129
Groton    112
Hampton    1 1
Harold 1    1
Harvard 1674220
Hatteras     11
Haven   1 12
Heffron  11327
Hollywood Way254760434038253
Ikea216   9
Irving2 11 15
Isabel  1  12
Jeffries   1  1
Keeler    1 1
Kenmere  21 14
Kenneth1812331037
Kenwood12354217
Keystone22166825
Kittridge   1  1
Kling 11   2
Lake110249632
Lakeside 1 1  2
Lamer 1433112
Landis 2   13
Ledge    1  1
Lima13423114
Lincoln52183423
Linden11  114
Logan1     1
Lomita 1   12
Magnolia141517232620115
Main 4133 11
Maple36142117
Maria  2  13
Mariposa21213310
Monterey1 1 114
Myers 3144113
Naomi12516419
Niagara 2121410
Oak13215416
Olive232226242735157
Ontario2242 212
Orange Grove2 234314
Orchard12 2  5
Pacific1   1 2
Palm 1153212
Parish1 213`7
Parkside    1 1
Paseo Redondo 1    1
Pass75334527
Pepper 1 11 3
Peyton    112
Priscilla 1   23
Providencia 7325320
Reese 123 28
Riverside97544736
Rose  1 113
San Fernando13111520191189
San Jose121  15
Santa Anita33221213
Scott41    5
Screenland     11
Seventh  11215
Shelton11    2
Sherlock  1   1
Sherman12 2229
Sixth 2223312
Sparks2 222 8
Spazier   1 12
Sunset Canyon1     1
Third13233315
Thornton11  215
Toluca Park 1 1  2
Tufts1     1
Tujunga2 12 16
Tulare   1  1
University    1 1
Valencia23211 9
Valley11 1115
Vanowen  33219
Verdugo 165510151263
Victoria1  1  2
Victory2191510221289
Walnut1 21116
Warner 1  113
Whitnall  1   1
Winona2121  6
Woodland1     1
Annual Total3755376026065866335 yr total 3339
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2 COMMENTS

  1. Devin,

    Do you smell that? That is the stench of a high driver.

    What is really causing the steady increase in accidents is high times, phone calls and texting.

    Oh, yes and incompetent drivers who have no formal training to operate a piece of machinery weighting thousands of pounds. Driver’s without adequate training. California is notoriously good at giving bad drivers licenses to drive. Wow.

    I have even seen UPS drivers using their phone while driving. We have a duty to report them and I do. I always take pictures! Companies do not want their employees killing people, causing accidents and giving them a bad name so I let them know about these bad drivers.

    Let’s be clear, drivers are getting crappier by the year.

    No amount of nanny government activity will fix this. We must rise up, speak with our fellow Burbankers and educate. This is not the government’s job. PARENTS, FAMILY…AND FRIENDS MUST DO THIS.

    Folks, we have allowed our City to wasted millions of dollars trying to “fix” things that only education and community action can correct. You can only modify behavior with community action and awareness. Our City cannot do this and yet they keep raising taxes to “help” us…but these initiatives never accomplish the mission. These programs just add more expensive CalPERS pensioned workers to our City payroll. We need smaller government and better education for our young people who will help make our City better. We must rise up against the nonsense.

    The accidents have zero to do with anything the city can do. I tire of the wasted millions of dollars spent to build out new street lights at uncontrolled intersections just to “try” to mitigate accidents. Road diets for bike lanes are also upsetting many motorists, causing road rage.

    And cyclists don’t help by driving in the middle of the road when they could either share the lane or use a quieter side street.

    Councilwoman Sharon Springer reminds us she prefers the bike and got rid of her car but few of us are living the good retired life and most of us have to get around town for our jobs. The Councilwoman is one of those who has had her career and by all optics appears retired, living on the nice hillside area. Good for her but that’s not my life. I have errands to run and so do my employees. We have things to do and they require a vehicle.

    And the promise of wonderful public transportation? I tried the Burbank Bus multiple times. What a ripoff to the Burbankers. We are paying MASSIVE millions for these buses that run empty all the time. Don’t believe me? Ride one! Ride shares have changed the game. Most people I know do not want to ride the Burbank Bus and cope with the odor of the homeless on them. Indeed I witnessed that too when I rode the Burbank Bus. Our public library has become a hang out for these individuals too.

    It would be cheaper to have the city manage a “ride match” program with volunteers giving seniors and the disabled help rather than operate a silly empty bus system that bleeds out our tax money. Did ya notice Burbank’s sales tax is 10.25% while North Hollywood’s is 9.5%? Yep that’s to fund all these fun, pet projects! We have a city government that loves to spend like there’s no tomorrow. And Burbank is in a massive budget deficit! Millions and millions in the hole…no one wants to take a cut not even a small one (while the rest of us have to deal with less income, City workers are enjoying the good life).

    Every day I smell the stench of pot when I am driving. I smell that stench coming from vehicles.

    Don’t you?

    Let’s keep it real, accidents are being caused by high drivers, texters and people making phone calls.

    The last person who hit my car and caused an accident is a pot shop consultant.

    Trying to quantify car accidents using a slide rule is cool but useless information.

    I am FIRST generation American and 50% East Indian heritage, but I am 100% against the flood of alleged sanctuary applicants pouring into California. I have met many non-Americans here without authorization in the past 10 years and they drive cars. Now we hear cries of “racism” when our Police want to detain people without licenses, many of whom are not here lawfully.

    California would be smart to enforce current laws and demand that people have a proper education before being allowed to operate a vehicle.

    And in the past 30 days, I’ve had Amazon contract drivers blasting their music and parking on the wrong side of the street here.

    I complained to Amazon corporate and so should you.

    We must hold people accountable and pressure companies to do the same.

    Rise up and take action. Our government needs to be smaller and we need to focus on helping ourselves. That is the only way this will get better.

    • Maybe you should have just written a letter to the editor, Chris, I think your rant was longer than the original article.

      Burbank also has some complex intersections, owing to its angled grid (way too many 5- and 6-point intersections) and how the 5 serves as a barrier, forcing all traffic into a few undercrossings.

Comments are closed.