Baltimore officials have been offered a $20,000 grant to study ways to improve safety at Northern Parkway and Falls Road, the state's most dangerous intersection, based on the State Farm Insurance annual survey of perilous crossings.
In 1999-2000, about 181 accidents occurred at the crossroads, reported State Farm, which ranked intersections nationwide based on the number of crashes, their severity and the injuries sustained.
State Farm has offered up to $20,000 to fund a safety study by an agency chosen by the city.
University Boulevard at Colesville Road in Silver Spring and University Boulevard at New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park were ranked the second- and third-most-dangerous intersections in Maryland, State Farm said.
Kurt L. Kocher, spokesman for the city Department of Public Works, said the Falls Road intersection is fairly safe considering that it is the city's busiest at 75,000 cars daily.
The number of accidents is "certainly nothing alarming," he said. "In fact, maybe it says something with all the people going through that intersection and so few accidents that maybe Maryland drivers are among the best in the country."
City transportation officials will review State Farm's statistics, which might more accurately reflect accidents at the corner than police reports, because most people don't report fender-benders, Kocher said. He said analysis of the data could prompt improvements at the intersection.
"If someone's willing to give us money to make our intersections safer, we'll take it," he said.
Northern Parkway and Falls Road is in a four-way tie for seventh place in the number of accidents (seven) in the city this year, Baltimore police report. No fatalities have been reported at the intersection in at least five years.
Angela L. Mitchell, State Farm's Baltimore region spokeswoman, said the city would have to submit an application detailing who would conduct the study, projected costs, recommendations for improvements and crash risks.
City transportation officials and Mount Washington residents say several things make the intersection dangerous, including drivers coming off nearby Interstate 83 and the long, steep hill on Northern Parkway that westbound vehicles descend to the intersection.
Drivers running red lights at the intersection became such a problem that the city's first red-light cameras were installed there in February 1999.
In May 1999, a record 717 drivers received red-light citations at the intersection. Last year, there was a 40 percent to 50 percent drop in the running of red lights, Kocher said.
Also contributing to the heavy traffic, Kocher said, is that Northern Parkway is the major east-west connector in northern Baltimore and is the last exit off the Jones Falls Expressway before Baltimore County.
John W. Mack, president of the Mount Washington Improvement Association, said his group has long pushed for the city and county to explore adding interchanges to I-83.
Sun staff writer Jamie Stiehm contributed to this article.