Wednesday, June 18, 2008

City removes yield signs from Benton Circle

It did not take long for the city to yield to residents concerns about new traffic signs at the Benton Circle.

Last week, city engineers quietly switched the two stop signs at the corner of St. John Avenue and Benton Boulevard with a handful of yield signs. Residents who called our offices said the new signs created a safety hazard as cars would speed though the intersection without looking for oncoming traffic.

City engineers however rudely dismissed those concerns and insisted that the signs were safer and it was residents who did not know how to use the traffic circle properly. Residents were also miffed that the city did not notify anyone from the neighborhoods about the change.

City engineer Wei Sun curtly indicated to The Northeast News that it was not his job to keep residents informed about changes in traffic signs in the area.

“Changing stop signs are safety issues, but we don’t send a notice out. We only publish changes in The Daily Record – everyone has access, they just don’t know it,” Sun said.

Just so you know, The Daily Record is an online newspaper. For the record, Sun didn’t even know how to get a copy of it — he said they just get mailed a copy to the city clerk’s office.

“This is not a public opinion process, it is a decision we made," Sun said, obviously making safety a secondary concern. .

But when The Northeast News began investigating the matter, city engineer Sun took our reporter for a "safety demonstration" at the circle to prove that his yield signs were better than the stop signs that had controlled the intersection for decades.

During the demonstration Wednesday, two cars nearly collided with each other, right in front of our reporter and Sun. Sun mumbled something about public safety, climbed in to his city issued vehicle and hurriedly left the scene, leaving our reporter standing alone in the street.

In less than hour Sun and his team had the stop signs back where they had been so hastily removed last week.

— Kristi L. Dalberg


Applecart T. said...

No mention of Benton Circle reconstruction (St. John Corridor) plan by NEN or Mr. Sun. I'm confused!

Eric Rogers said...

This is not surprising. KCMO traffic engineers are generally concerned with moving as many cars as fast possible. The impact of that traffic on neighborhoods is not a primary concern.

I actually agree with the engineer that stop signs are not appropriate for a roundabout. I have always been confused by this circle and it's unusual stop signs. However, the way the engineer handled the situation was completely inappropriate.