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Cab strikes local law firm, again

BY JULIA TRUSZKOWSKI | JUNE 11, 2013 5:00 AM

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As a local taxi veered off Linn Street Monday morning, one local law firm encountered a recurring event, 10 years in the making.

An Iowa City Yellow Cab car, driven by 26-year-old Iowa City resident Cristin Curlee, swerved onto Lawyer House property, 402 S. Linn St., at 11 a.m. and crashed.

Lori Klockau, a lawyer with the law firm, said the business — located on the intersection of Linn and Court Streets — has been victim to seven collisions in the past 10 years, due in part to the obstructed view of oncoming traffic and the lack of a four-way stop at the intersection.

Klockau said past collisions have resulted in power outages and pedestrian injuries.

“One of our employees was hit crossing the street one day,” she said. “It happened to be my daughter.”

She said in Monday’s collision, Curlee was taken to an area hospital, while the driver of the other vehicle suffered minor head injuries.

When The Daily Iowan contacted Curlee, she declined to comment.

The front porch of the Lawyer House suffered damage.  

Lawyer House lawyer Daniel Bray said one of the two vehicles collided with the stone foundation, and he expects the firm will have to replace one of the building’s limestone pillars.  

Klockau said she believes the business’s insurance policy will cover the damage.

Bray said the house, built in 1902, has sentimental value for both him and Klockau, and they both wish to keep it intact.

“It’s an old house that has some history to it,” Bray said. “This is one of the few that still remain.”
“[It is] about time [the city] recognized that this is a high-traffic area,” he said, given the expected addition of a 13-story building to be constructed at the intersection of Linn and Court Streets.

Jeff Davidson, the city director of planning and development, told the DI in an April 18 interview that a mixed-use parking structure to be built on the former site of the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church parish hall has been delayed until a new parking facility at 509 S. Dubuque St. is built.

Both Bray and Klockau are advocates of a four-way stop, which they believe will reduce the number of collisions in the Linn and Court intersection. This is an issue Klockau has brought up with the Transportation Department before, she said.

“They count the number of accidents,” she said. “They think the numbers don’t justify it.”

John Yapp, the executive director of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, said a four-way stop cannot be created “without us doing a study and giving a recommendation.”

Yapp said among the factors that need to be examined for a new intersection include alcohol consumption, weather, and reckless driving. In some situations, stop signs do not help,” Yapp added.

“Depending on traffic patterns, collisions could increase, particularly rear-ending,” he said.

Yapp said five collisions that could be corrected by a four-way stop must occur per year for a four-way would be deemed necessary. Officials must conduct an in-depth analysis, evaluating traffic volumes and patterns, visibility issues, and other factors.

Iowa City City Councilor Terry Dickens suggested getting the neighborhood involved through petitions and contacting the city to enact change.

Safety measures regarding traffic are ongoing issues for the City Council and are typically addressed as they are brought to the city’s attention, Dickens said.

He said that if collisions at the Linn and Court intersection are a “continual problem … we’ll check with the Transportation and Street Departments and see what can be done.”

As for the addition of a four-way stop, “if it’s for safety, then yes,” Dickens said.


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