It’s not quite like the streets of San Francisco, but a hilltop in Omaha can give drivers a thrilling ride. A resident says there have been too many crashes, including one just last weekend.
“I heard a crash, I came down and there was a car on my terrace.” Danielle Smith says this isn't the first time drivers going in opposite directions have met at the top of 49th and Pratt. “I'd say close calls have a potential to happen very often."
The crest of the hill doesn't give drivers much time to see oncoming traffic and react. The speed limit on Pratt is 25, but realistically how many people are going that slow and come over this hill? That's the problem if they meet you at the crest and they're on your side of the road.
Residents say they've heard or witnessed several crashes over the years. “They get to the top of that hill they don't realize this hill is like it is.” They’d like the city to install signs warning drivers to be cautious when approaching the hill from both directions.
“Anything that gives drivers an indication that it’s going to be a dangerous area because we have tons of little kids around here,” says Smith.
One cab driver turned around rather than take the hill. “Come over that hill and see a car parked right there, you slide toward the center, it’s not good,” says the driver. Those living on Pratt hope city traffic experts will come up with a way to slow over the hill drivers.
Omaha traffic reports show the hill has averaged one crash a year through 2011. Residents say they've witnessed two this year and several near misses. The city traffic engineer's office will evaluate the street lighting and see if any warning signs need to be added.