ST. LOUIS — St. Louis and MoDOT leaders are working on ways to improve safety on major roadways throughout the city.
On Wednesday, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones committed $46 million to improve roadway safety.
Trailnet, an organization that pushes safe street strategies, conducted a road safety audit with MoDOT leaders on Page on Thursday.
"We have all of this money coming in but if that isn't spent right away, we can't wait two to three years because people are dying right now," Sam McCrory, a Trailnet spokesperson, said. "Our city is grossly overbuilt for the amount of people we have. That's because of the population loss we've had since the 1960's. We have overbuilt roads that allow people to speed. You've heard the horror stories of people going 70 to 100 miles per hour down Kingshighway."
Since 2017, Trailnet data shows these roads are the most dangerous in St. Louis:
- Chippewa Street
- Martin Luther King Drive
- Gravois Avenue
- Grand Boulevard
- Kingshighway Boulevard
- Natural Bridge Road
- Union Road
- Lindell Boulevard
He said 40% of pedestrian crashes and 46% of fatalities happened on these roads across the city. However, these roads only account for 1.5% of the streets in the city.
In 2022, 70% of crashes with pedestrians occurred on streets where the speed limit was 30 miles per hour or higher.
"The big thing is speed limit, the number of lanes and how wide they are," McCrory said. "This is controversial but I'm a fan of roundabouts. Roundabouts are proven to reduce crashes at intersections, it forces cars to slow down. I think saving lives is more important that saving people a couple of minutes on their commutes."
Changes have already been implemented and the data suggests they’ve immediately made an impact.
At the intersection of Goodfellow and Natural Bridge, there were 25 crashes with injuries in 2020. In 2022, there was one between January and October, according to a Trailnet study.
Trailnet suggests these strategies to improve traffic:
- building roundabouts
- reducing & reducing traffic lanes
- adding medians
McCrory said improving the infrastructure is great, but change must start with drivers behind the wheel.
"I'm a firm believer that (infrastructure changes) are the top priority,” McCrory said. “But we can't do a lot of this stuff without a proper enforcement system that tickets and penalizes drivers for hitting and killing people. Ruining lives. I would like to see a whole improvement of our traffic enforcement system. Utilizing speed cameras, red light tickets but also another big thing is education."