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Questions in city council about dangerous Uithof intersection

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Political parties ChristenUnie and CDA are asking clarification from the Utrecht city council on why nothing has been done in the past few years to make the T-intersection at the Universiteitsweg and Leuvenlaan safer. Last month, a motorcyclist had a fatal accident at this location.

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Both parties state they’ve received numerous messages about the crossroad after the accident, which led to the death of a 22-year-old man. Visitors of De Uithof feel the intersection is unsafe, and it’s said plans to improve the situation have been sitting on the shelf for ten years or so.

The T-intersection has indeed been known as a dangerous situation for a long time. The maximum speed for cars on the Universiteitsweg is 50 kilometres an hour, even though the intersection at the Leuvenlaan is very unclear. Drivers cross each other’s paths, and have to deal with several different priority rules.

Students and employees have to cross the road from university to the UMC Utrecht. At the same time, motorists who turn on to the Leuvenlaan have to consider the high numbers of cyclists and motorists coming from the campus centre going into the direction of sports centre Olympos, or the other way around.

Six years ago, professor Bert Brunekreef already wrote on DUB about the ‘infamous intersection’. Even last year, the University Council committee asked questions to the University Board after a traffic accident that involved a DUB employee. The employee sustained a leg injury as a result of the accident. A spokesperson for the university says the municipality has received numerous messages about the dangerous situation at this intersection.

The two city council parties are now calling for an explanation from councilwoman Lot van Hooijdonk of why nothing at all has been done since 2009 with the numerous proposals about the situation, such as installing traffic lights, or expanding the deceleration lane on the Universiteitsweg. A safety analysis from last year apparently clearly showed the necessity of additional safety measures.

The parties say they feel as though adjustments to the intersections were consistently neglected as a result of a lack of budget, as well as due to discussion between municipality departments about the possibilities of installing speed bumps or zebra crossings.

When prompted by local tv broadcast RTV Utrecht, the municipality says police investigation shows the accident involving the motorcyclist on March 21st is not related to the way the intersection is designed. “In a broader sense, we are working to improve this crossing for cyclists, especially in making it easier to cross the road,” the spokesperson says.

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