Pittsburgh's Most Dangerous Roads: Then and Now

Every driver has "the one" – that one road or intersection you dread because it's too congested, too narrow, or too confusing. With Pittsburgh's many one-way streets, hilly topography, and sometimes confusing traffic signs, you may even have "the two" or "the three."

For almost 100 years, the city has kept track of which streets are the most likely to cause an accident. Below we list which streets made the top five recently and in 1930. Keep reading to see if your "one" made the cut.

Pittsburgh's Most Dangerous Streets Then

car accident 1930

In 1930, the Pittsburgh Press addressed the issue of dangerous streets in the city. They identified "street sectors" that were responsible for the most accidents, deaths, and injuries based on a survey that spanned from January 1923 until June 1930. The five most dangerous streets in Pittsburgh at that time were:

1. East Carson Street from Smithfield Street to Beck's Run Road
Number of deaths: 49 (37 pedestrians)
Most dangerous point: foot of Castle Shannon Incline (9 deaths)

2. Bigelow Boulevard from Seventh Avenue to Craig Street
Number of deaths: 34 (16 pedestrians)
Most dangerous points: Bloomfield Bridge (5 deaths), Herron Avenue (6 deaths), and Seventh Avenue (6 deaths)

3. East Ohio Street from Federal Street to the city line
Number of deaths: 34 (19 pedestrians)
Most dangerous point: Walker's Bridge (10 deaths)

4. East Street from Perrysville Avenue to North Avenue
Number of deaths: 30 (18 pedestrians)
Most dangerous point: Howard Street (4 deaths)

5. West Carson Street from Steuben Street to the Smithfield Street Bridge
Number of deaths: 25 (16 pedestrians)
Most dangerous points: foot of the Duquesne Incline (6 deaths) and South Main Street (4 deaths)

carson street 1930

From January 1, 1923 until June 1, 1930, a total of 1,152 people were killed in traffic accidents in Pittsburgh, according to the Bureau of Traffic Planning. Traffic Safety Observers noted that failing to stop for a red light was the most common cause of accidents. Next on the list were reckless driving, speeding, and passing a street car on the left.

The Better Traffic Committee had several recommendations to improve safety, including prohibiting parking downtown and purchasing two tow trucks so that the city could remove illegally parked cars.

Pittsburgh's Most Dangerous Streets Now

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) ranks locations that have high crash rates. In a recent report, over 300 Pennsylvania roads were deemed dangerous based on the number of serious crashes, the number of people hurt and killed in accidents, and traffic volume in the previous five years.

Here are the five most dangerous roads in Allegheny County according to PennDOT's data. All statistics are from a five-year time period:

dangerous streets chart

1. East Carson Street, Northbound
Number of crashes: 374
Number of injuries: 281
Number of deaths: 3

2. Penn Avenue/Washington Boulevard, Northbound
Number of crashes: 342
Number of injuries: 244
Number of deaths: 4

3. West Carson Street, Northbound
Number of crashes: 155
Number of injuries: 97
Number of deaths: 2

4. William Penn Highway, Eastbound
Number of crashes: 187
Number of injuries: 159
Number of deaths: 2

5. Washington Boulevard/Penn Avenue, Southbound
Number of crashes: 279
Number of injuries: 192
Number of deaths: 2

accident causes

In 2013 (the most recent year for which data is available), there were 21 fatal accidents, 22 fatalities, and 5 pedestrian deaths in Pittsburgh.

When Car Accidents Happen

Serious car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. In an instant, an ordinary trip to the grocery store or your familiar commute to work can become a life-changing experience. Afterwards, you'll likely have some important questions about what will happen next. That's where we can help. We're available 24/7 for people who have been seriously injured in car accidents.


“Fatal car crashes and road traffic accidents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.”

“Historical Facts and Photos.” The Brookline Connection. June 22,2015.

“Sixteen sections of area roads deemed hazardous.” Pittsburgh Tribune Review. March 2, 2013.

Downtown Pittsburgh Photo Credit:

“View of downtown Pittsburgh from Mount Washington, near the Duquesne Incline.” Jiuguang Wang. August 19, 2010.

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