A St. Louis alderwoman is taking the safety of neighborhood kids into her own hands by installing her own stop sign near a school. Many residents are applauding her efforts, but the city had a very different reaction.

On Sept. 20, Ward Alderwoman Cara Spencer said she requested a stop sign be placed on the corner of Chippewa and Marine.

"In this case I was the citizen requesting the stop sign and after several months it was deemed unnecessary," said Spencer.

It's an intersection in front of the St. Louis Immersion School, and residents said the traffic becomes chaotic with school drop-offs and pick-ups.

"It's like a race track. This is like the highway," said Scott Smith, a nearby resident.

Spencer's request for a stop sign was finally denied in January. City officials told 5 On Your Side it didn't mean the requirements under a city ordinance.

By March 1, Spencer had bought her own stop sign off Craigslist and installed it at the intersection. Within hours, the city had it removed. According to a spokesman for the Mayor's office, it was removed because the sign did not meet height requirements, the sign was not installed securely at the proper depth and, the sign was illegally placed.

But 5 On Your Side found since 2009, there have been six accidents at the intersection. The latest accident in December, involved a car crashing through the Immersion school's gate, and onto the playground. No one was injured.

"There needs to be something done," Smith said. "They drive up and down Marine Street really fast. We got a lot of kids that play down here."

So what can be done here? Although the city took down a stop sign Spencer tried to erect herself, she said she isn't giving up.

"We really are inadequately staffed to deal with these issues," Spencer said. "My only option is to introduce an ordinance and so when we reconvene in may, that's an option. Legislating stop signs is a goofy thing for a municipality to do."

We checked to see what you should do if traffic concern in your area, and it depends where you live.

If you live in the city of St. Louis, you're advised to contact your alderman.The requests will be evaluated based on: the following:

  • Traffic Calming Policy: Board of Public Service-approved policy that provides an evaluation procedure for addressing public complaints related to speeding, cut-through traffic, and pedestrian/bicyclist safety on "neighborhood" streets. It is of importance to note that one of the steps included in this policy is to validate public complaints (i.e., perform a speed study to verify there is a problem that warrants a solution). 
  • Traffic Calming Policy Diagram: This is a flow chart that illustrates the decision making process within the policy itself. 
  • Traffic Calming Ordinance: This is the ordinance that mandates public requests be handled via the BPS-adopted traffic calming policy.

If you live in St. Louis County of St. Charles County:

  • You're advised to contact your alderman, council representative or trustee. Those requests are generally discussed with local highway departments. Recommendations are then made to the county.

To request a stop sign/traffic sign for roads in unincorporated St. Charles County:

  • Interested parties must submit a petition requesting a traffic regulation change — in this case a stop sign/traffic sign. The petition must have 15 signatures from residents 18 or older who live in the area of the request. The County Engineer reviews the request, considering the impact to residents and motorists, and forwards the request, along with his comments, to the County Council. The County Council then holds at least two traffic regulation public hearings prior to their consideration of the change. This procedure is established by County ordinance. (source: St. Charles County Dept of Communications)