One of the newly-launched GRTC Pulse buses was in a collision with a pickup truck that was making a left-hand turn through the dedicated bus lane on West Broad Street, around 5:50 this evening, at the intersection of Broad and N Allen Ave.
According to Carrie Rose Pace, GRTC Director of Communications, five passengers claimed injury and requested medical services. Several of these passengers were seen being taken from the bus on stretchers. Pace said “The other passengers boarded the next Pulse bus and proceeded. There were no disruption to service.”
Neighbors who witnessed the aftermath called the intersection dangerous. Among them were Kim Washington and Renada Harris, co-owners of Silk Hair Studio at the corner of Allen and Broad, who said accidents happen regularly in the intersection. When asked how often, Harris said accidents happen “Once a week.” Washington had her own estimate. “No, every two weeks. Maybe once a month,” she said.
Harris conceded that her business partner could be right, but added, “Potential accidents? Every five minutes!”
Larkin Garbee, owner of 804RVA, a co-working space in the same building, agreed with Washington and Harris. “It happens on a regular basis,” Garbee said. She said the intersection has been dangerous long before the Pulse, which she described as popular with her community of co-workers. “This intersection has always had safety issues, long before the bus, and we hope those can be addressed.”
Washington said she’s contacted the city several times about the intersection in the past, but no one has ever followed up with her. She and Harris pointed to the unusual layout of the street to explain the frequent accidents. Allen doesn’t run directly across Broad; it’s separated by about 75-feet of asphalt, and left-hand turns are barred from Allen next to their hair salon. Harris said it’s a confusing intersection, especially for people who aren’t used to the area, and agreed with Washington that it needed some safety improvement. “It should be a right turn only from this side, and a right turn or straight from the other side,” Harris said. “It already is,” Washington added. Both women agreed that the intersection could use a redesign to improve safety.
Even a redesign might not have prevented this crash, though. The two vehicles were travelling parallel on Broad before the collision. “Looks like automobile attempted to turn left in front of the bus and hit the front right of the bus. Minor bumper damage to Pulse bus on front right with some scratches,” Pace said, describing the accident over text. She said she didn’t have a police report yet, but noted, “If the automobile didn’t have the green left, then they were making an illegal movement.”