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

Police investigating death of jail inmate

Kansas City detectives are investigating the death of a 51-year-old man who died at a hospital after collapsing while in jail.

Allen L. Streit, 51, was arrested on Monday at 4:45 p.m. after officers pulled him over at Roberts Street and Indiana Avenue in Northeast. Streit was a passenger and was questioned after the vehicle responded with warrants. Streit was removed from the car and while being interviewed by the officers, swallowed what officers said looked like a plastic bag.

Officers found plastic bags containing what preliminarily appeared to be methamphetamine in a container Streit had in the car. Streit was placed under arrest for possession of methamphetamine and a municipal warrant for passing bad checks.

At about 8:30 this Tuesday, a detective was trying to question Streit about the narcotics. The detective said Streit was acting strangely and would not leave the detention area with him. Officials alerted the detention staff about his condition and before Streit could be returned to his cell he collapsed.

Jail staff began immediate life saving measures and notified MAST. Streit was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

The investigation is still on going.