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Viral video documents string of crashes at downtown Seattle intersection

One man has spent years cataloging crashes at the I-5 southbound off-ramp on Union Street.

SEATTLE — A viral video is raising new safety concerns about a downtown Seattle intersection. One man has spent years cataloging crashes at the I-5 southbound off-ramp on Union Street.

Michael Basconcillo says he's lived near the corner of 7th and Union for 20 years and grew tired of the constant screeching of tires and loud noises outside his door.

He would often run outside to find the aftermath: a car and driver crashed on the side of the road.

Basconcillo decided he would mount a camera at the intersection to document the problem of people exiting too fast on the southbound exit of I-5, near the Convention Center. Every once in a while, he'd catch a spectacular crash, and put together a montage of the problem.

This week, somehow he says, it ended up online and had thousands of views.

"I had two friends text me yesterday morning, and said you're famous, your video is on Reddit, I go, what's Reddit?" Basconcillo said with a laugh.

But the issue is no laughing matter, he says, as there is a crash at the spot by his estimate four to six times a year.  "They see a 20-mile-an-hour exit sign, and that doesn't mean anything."

SDOT and WSDOT data is inconclusive, but the tire marks and scratched pavement is prevalent at the spot, which is technically a city street connected to a state highway.

WSDOT says it is aware of the issue and has been making changes since 2019, adding and replacing signage to urge people to slow down to 20 miles per hour on the sharp turn.

But Basconcillo says he believes the agencies could do more, like add divots or bumps in the roadway which increase vibration and encourage people to hit the brakes.

"It would wake somebody up, it would get their attention, and get them to slow down," he said.

    

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