List of Worst Intersections Bypasses L.A.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Something is missing in the most recent Top 10 list of the nation's most dangerous intersections.

The ranking, released Wednesday by State Farm Insurance, includes no mention of any Southern California intersection.

Hello?

Southern California is known around the world for gridlock and road rage. It's home, for example, to the Toluca Lake intersection where actor Jack Nicholson jumped out of his car a few years ago and pummeled a Mercedes-Benz with a 3-iron.

Instead, State Farm dubbed the intersection of Flamingo Road and Pines Boulevard in the Florida suburb of Pembroke Pines as the nation's most dangerous. Also on the list were two intersections each in Philadelphia, Tulsa and Phoenix, and one each in Frisco, Texas, and Metairie, La.

The only mention of California was Fair Oaks Boulevard and Howe Avenue in Sacramento, which came in 10th.

State Farm spokesman Bill Sirola laughed when he was informed that his company may have bungled the list by overlooking Southern California.

"We looked long and hard at that," he said.

Two Southern California intersections made State Farm's Top 10 list two years ago: Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards in Beverly Hills and Adams Avenue and Brookhurst Street in Huntington Beach.

Sirola suggested that the reason Southern California didn't make the list this year is that the rating criteria used by State Farm have changed. Two years ago, State Farm ranked the intersections based solely on the number of accidents reported by the insurance company's clients. This year, he said, the criteria also take into consideration the number of injuries and the severity of the crashes.

Still, some Southland motorists were surprised to find the intersections they navigate every day did not get a nod.

Peter Bovino, a salesman from Redondo Beach, said State Farm should examine the massive traffic circle at Lakewood Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach. He called the junction "pretty nutty" because cars enter the circle from six different directions.

Bovino made his nomination while sipping coffee outside a Starbucks coffee shop at Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards in Beverly Hills. Then he looked over his shoulder and said: "This intersection looks a little suspect too."

Others at the Starbucks agreed.

"There is a lot of road rage here," said Russell Mayes. "People honk and yell."

Ahamed Beashu, who has cruised Los Angeles streets for two years as a Yellow Cab driver, said the scariest intersection he has encountered is 7th Street and Figueroa Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. He was parked at the intersection, waiting for a fare when he noted that Figueroa Boulevard is a one-way street heading north. But too often, Beashu said, tourists and other newcomers barrel down the boulevard in the wrong direction.

"It's because they have no big signs up there," he said, gesturing at the intersection. "I've seen two accidents already."

If any of these Southern California intersections had made the Top 10 list, State Farm would have contributed $120,000 to improve traffic at each crossing.

Sirola said Southern Californians should not feel bad about being left out. State Farm will produce a new list in two years.

"You can try harder next time," he said.

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