City- Signs not warranted at Cape hilltop intersection

Friday, June 17, 2005

The hilltop intersection of Missouri Avenue and Stoddard Street doesn't warrant signs to slow down traffic, Cape Girardeau city officials say, insisting that most motorists aren't speeding through the residential neighborhood.

But neighborhood residents still worry that speeding motorists, line-of-sight problems and children at play could lead to a deadly accident.

Christa Rhodes, who lives at 1407 Stoddard St. near the street's dead end just east of the intersection, asked the city to install signs to warn approaching motorists that children may be crossing the street.

"I was trying to save some kids' lives," she said Thursday.

Rhodes believes city officials still need to address the situation. "It is in their hands. They have decided to drop it," she said of the decision of city staff.

Public works director Tim Gramling said his office is preparing to purchase two radar units that can be mounted to sign posts. The units, costing about $3,000 each, will display the speed limit and the speeds of passing motorists.

Gramling said the city plans to first use the speed-display devices at the Kurre Lane and Melrose Avenue intersection where residents in that neighborhood have voiced concern about speeding motorists.

The units later may be placed temporarily in the Missouri Avenue neighborhood so both motorists and neighborhood residents can see how fast the vehicles are traveling, he said.

Rhodes said such radar units won't alert motorists to watch out for children in the neighborhood. "A children-crossing sign would be better," she said, particularly during the school year when children are walking home from a nearby bus stop.

But city engineer Josh Richardson said the city conducted a traffic study from May 31 through June 3 that showed the Missouri-Stoddard intersection handles little traffic and that most vehicles travel under the 30 mph speed limit.

On Missouri Avenue, north of Stoddard, there was an average of 91 vehicles a day. The average speed was 20 mph, Richardson said. One vehicle was clocked at 48 mph.

Missouri Avenue, south of Stoddard, carried an average of 216 vehicles a day. The average speed was 21 mph, he said. The highest speed clocked on that section of roadway was 35 mph, Richardson said.

Missouri Avenue drops sharply north of the intersection. "There is a big dip out there," Richardson said. "There is a little bit of a line-of-sight problem but not at the speed you should be driving," he said.

In the past three years, there hasn't been a single accident reported at that intersection, said Richardson. "It's not a huge problem," he said.

"Most of the people who are driving through the area are driving safely," the city engineer said.

But that's little consolation to Rhodes who insists that even one speeding motorist puts neighborhood children at risk.

335-6611, extension 123

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