In addition to running for President of the Board of Aldermans, Alderwoman Green is ready to put her foot down on dangerous driving in metro driving.
I don’t know who my choice may be to fill the void that the disgraced former President Reed left. But I am going to do my research, before voting time comes a calling.
Here is what she has to say:
|A few weeks ago, late on a hot summer night, a high school-aged boy was struck and killed by a speeding car. It happened not far from Ted Drewes, where horrified onlookers were simply standing in line for frozen custard. This tragedy isn’t even the latest tragedy.
On Monday, a man died after being hit by a car in the 6300 block of Hall Street. Earlier this summer, a man was struck while crossing Grand. He, too, died.We have to address the dangerous traffic situation. That requires changes in the enforcement of our traffic laws, changes in our infrastructure, and changes to our public transit system. First, we need better enforcement of our traffic laws. Rolling through stop signs and blowing through red lights is as common as it is dangerous.
Our police officers prioritize violent crime, and stopping people for traffic violations takes them off their beat. Other cities have explored creating separate traffic enforcement agencies with traffic – and traffic alone – as their mission. That could be a good solution in our City, where relationships between the police and the community are already strained.
In the meantime, we need to enforce the laws that we have with the resources we have. Lives are on the line. But enforcement is only part of the solution to our traffic problems. Let’s talk about infrastructure change. Traffic experts say that you can’t enforce your way out of an engineering problem.
Streets can be designed to be fast-moving, prioritizing vehicle movement – or they can be designed to prioritize pedestrians and safety. In St. Louis, it’s clear that the priority in the past has been making streets faster. I think the priority going forward should be making them safer.
But here’s something you might not know. In St. Louis, traffic strategies – that are often called “traffic calming” – are done at the Ward level, and with Ward capital dollars. That means traffic strategies and traffic safety change, sometimes abruptly, at Ward boundaries.
Each year, an Alderperson gets a set ward budget of $300,000 for everything that needs to be done in the Ward. That sounds like a lot, but the traffic calming strategies that we used around Tower Grove Park cost $1 million. We were able to get a grant for that work.
But had we relied just on the Ward capital budget, we would have had to wait for 5 years (or more) to save up the resources to get that work done. This hodgepodge ward-by-ward traffic system needs to stop. We need a comprehensive strategy. Traffic is a citywide issue, and it needs a citywide response that’s not dependent upon the needs of and priorities for different Wards.
Mayor Tishaura Jones’s administration has hired a first-class Streets Director and is already pulling together the traffic studies that have been done by different Wards, and that’s the necessary first step. We need to take it the rest of the way.
We have unprecedented revenue for infrastructure, so let’s use those funds strategically to make safer streets for all of us. Finally, we need to increase our use of public transit. Public transit is ten times safer per mile than traveling by car. All public transit should be free, full stop. We need to pay bus and Metro drivers competitively so that we can recruit, train, and retain the best drivers for our residents.
I also support the north-south Metro link expansion along Jefferson Avenue, and making greater investments in public transit – including our bus system, which needs more routes and more reliability. We can use a Bus Rapid Transit (“BRT”) system along heavily trafficked routes that will decrease travel times and improve efficiency.
These changes will make it easier for people to choose to use public transit and decrease our reliance on cars, which is also part of our Green Green Plan. Together we can make walking, and driving, in our City safer. I’m committed to it. I hope you are, too.
|In solidarity, Megan