Outrage at traffic violence is boiling over in St. Louis. A century of social engineering to coerce more and more driving has left as long a path of collateral damage. A combination of faster, heavier, hard-to-see-out-of poorly designed cars, poorly designed streets, a poorly designed regional transportation system, bad land use policy, distracted driving, and driver psychopathy with a pandemic nitro boost are synergizing resulting in even more death and destruction than the amount we’ve been conditioned to accept.
Fed up residents put on South Grand, where a pedestrian and a cyclist were struck and killed by jaydrivers recently, fake city notices taped to light poles offering helmets to pedestrians crossing the street garnered much attention for the issue this week.
The stinging rebuke of the city’s role in coercing driving, worshiping at the alter of level of service, and coddling of jaydrivers coincided with a meeting at Carpenter Library to discuss what the city is doing and going to do to reduce the carnage.
And Streets Department Director Betherny Williams said some changes to the road could be coming to make things safer for pedestrians and cyclists within six months.
“We are committed to making changes you can see,” Williams told an audience of roughly 100 people in a room at the Carpenter Library.
Shaneka Davis, a rider of the 70 Grand bus, told KSDK about the dangers she faces from cars. “I could lose my life over just trying to walk across the street just to get to the bus stop.” She summed up her frustrations, “stop talking about it, stop having meetings, stop talking about this situation, and just do it.”
While taking some time to evaluate is prudent, let’s consider something we can do right now. Put Schoemehl pots in the center turn lane in the middle of some blocks. Put some reflectors and hi-viz clothing on them. This will hinder jaydrivers from using the center lane as a driving or passing lane. If there’s some unforeseen negative effect (no, crashing a vehicle into them doesn’t count), they can be removed just as easily as they were put in.
That’s it. Just do it.