New Start Teacher concerned about Burien intersection after two students hit

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by Scott Schaefer

New Start High School Science Teacher Bev Mowrer is concerned about a Burien intersection after two of her students were involved in a car crash last week.

Mowerer told The B-Town Blog that her students were leaving New Start (located at 614 SW 120th Street) on Thursday night, Feb. 16, after helping at the Kiwanis Club Baked Potato Dinner, which ended at 8:30 p.m.

“They were driving west on SW 120th towards Ambaum Blvd. SW, when they stopped at the sign (at 12th Ave SW),” she said. “They looked for oncoming traffic and when they looked to the left, no cars were on the short cut off road, and nothing was coming from the right, so they proceeded through the intersection but were plowed into on the driver’s side by a car that had taken the cut-off.”

Luckily there were no major injuries, but both cars were totaled; here are photos of the cars involved in the accident (click images to see larger versions):

This is the car the students were in:

This is the vehicle that crashed into them:

The cut-off in question is 12th Ave SW, which heads north in a straightforward direction from Ambaum near the Salmon Creek Ravine. This is where Ambaum has an S-shaped turn, just north of Schick Shadel Hospital. The speed limit on Ambaum in that area is 35mph:

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Here are photos of the intersection (click images to see larger versions):

“I have heard students complain about that intersection for years, as drivers and walkers,” she added. “I am wondering what the community thinks about making it an all-way stop. I think it will make the intersection MUCH safer. I am very concerned about this particular intersection.”

We’re curious what our Readers think of this intersection. Have you had concerns about it yourself? What, if anything, do you think should be done? Please leave a Comment below…

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7 Responses to “New Start Teacher concerned about Burien intersection after two students hit”
  1. Lee Moyer says:

    If the student saw no car coming from the right, where did it come from? The visibility is good, unlike the other end of SW 120th at 4th SW where an out of control hedge intrudes onto the street and makes a very blind corner. A pedestrian from teh right can not be seen until he steps into the traffic, which has stopped but has to edge forward to see to the right. I live nearby and use SW 120 whenever I leave my house. A four way stop could back traffic up onto Ambaum and make a more dangerous situation. The most dangerous maneuver at this intersection is exiting Ambaum northbound and turning right onto SW 120. The car behind you can think your signal is on because you exited Ambaum and not realize you are slowing to turn.

    • Bev Mowrer says:

      The car that hit the girls came from the left. This has almost happened to me at the same intersection and I have been driving accident and ticket free for over 40 years. In other words, I am a pretty darn safe driver. My husband almost got hit there too and he was a Deputy Sheriff before retiring after 20 years of service; in other words he is a very experienced driver. He too feels that it is a very unsafe intersection.

      • Lee Moyer says:

        The visibility to the left is very good but you are right, they do come fast. In over forty years of usage, I’ve never had a problem pulling out as the students did but I am aware of how fast some oncoming traffic is moving. Getting onto Ambaum to go south from SW 120 is even more exciting. I think a speed bump would cause hard braking that will surprise following cars who see the brake lights already lit because the car is exiting Ambaum.
        Maybe a reminder sigh that “cross traffic does not stop” would help.
        Another possibility would be to make the exit from Ambaum more of a right hand turn by bending the end of 12th SW. This was done where Ambaum veers south toward Five Corners from the East-West street (156 or so?)

    • Bev Mowrer says:

      Yes, it could cause a back up onto Ambaum but would it any more so than any other turn off of Ambaum? Perhaps the solution might be speed bumps….I personally hate speed bumps but if that is what it would take to make it a safer intersection then that might be the answer. Anyone out there with another idea?

      The cars coming off of Ambuam are often traveling at excessive speeds(for that intersection) …a stop sign would not be needed there if folk traveled slower after cutting off of Ambaum. Maybe those less irritating mini bumps that are supposed to wake you up when you are veering off the side of a road. All I know is that it would be nice if that particular intersection was a bit safer.

  2. jim clingan says:

    If the students only looked left as far as the cut-off, maybe they should have looked further up Ambaum. A four way stop isn’t necessary and would probably back up onto Ambaum. In looking at the picture of the student’s car, they got popped in the left front, so I have to believe the car that hit them was very close to exiting Ambaum. I go through that intersection regularly and the visibility toward and on Ambaum is very good. Me thinks the students need to look a little further up the road, both to the left and the right.

    Glad everyone is OK.

  3. Latisha Miller says:

    I was the student driving the Buick. When approaching the stop sign I had stopped and looked BOTH ways, after seeing that it was clear I continued forward trying to get onto ambuam. The last thing I remember seeing was a silver four door continuing down ambuam, because of the curve you cant really see that much further down ambuam. I was about 15ft from the stop sign at the time of impact. Personally I feel that Mrs. Mowrer is correct this should be a four way stop, theres never more then few cars exiting ambuam at the same time therefore traffic wouldn’t really be all that much of an issue. If not a four way stop there should be speed bumps and the 35mph speed limit sign should be brought up toward the actual exit from ambuam. Also givin that there are two high schools less then a .75 miles away from this intersection their should be SOME action taken. If everyone were to use common sense and abide by speed limits when driving this road it would be safer, but I learned the hard way not everyone follows speed limits or pays enough attention to rely on this alone.

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