Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Are we driving each other crazy?

David Gaither
Speeding cars have been a consistent problem throughout the years in the streets of Kirkwood.

The average Kirkwood citizen may find themselves struggling to make it to places like work and school on time, experiencing speeding cars and bikers crowding the streets. This has been an area of concern when it comes to safety in the Kirkwood community. 

Michael Carmody, who graduated from KHS in 1969, is a member of Kirkwood Safer Streets (KSS), an organization that works to reduce the number of accidents and ensure traffic maintenance throughout Kirkwood. Carmody said the average drivers’ speed in Kirkwood has grown in the past few years. 

“On Big Bend Road, the average speed of a car in a 30 mph zone is 40 miles per hour,” Carmody said. “50% of the people on that road are exceeding the speed limit by 10 miles an hour. For pedestrians, [speeding cars can be] deadly.”

For pedestrians, [speeding cars can be] deadly.

— Michael Carmody

KSS was created in 2014, and 1,700 signatures were collected to bring the group together. Carmody said crosswalks are an area of concern in Kirkwood, as they are susceptible to car crashes. He said the viewing range for them should be from 10 to 20 feet.

“You can’t see somebody if they’re under five feet tall and you’re about 15 feet in front of them,” Carmody said. “Give yourself 20 feet when you paint those so the person stopping gives ample room for them to see the pedestrian. [This] allows the pedestrian to make sure nobody’s going around them and going to run [them over].”

Justin Pugh, Kirkwood police officer, has worked for the Kirkwood Police Department for two and a half years of his 12 years as an officer. He previously worked in towns like Sunset Hills and Warrenton. He believes traffic in Kirkwood can get congested at times. 

“Depending on if there’s an accident on the highway, a lot of people will start taking the side streets or Kirkwood road,” Pugh said. [Because of that], traffic tends to get heavier, especially in the morning or afternoon during rush hour.”

Recently, a road maintenance application was put in for Kirkwood Road, where a new apartment complex is being built. Carmody said multiple vehicle crashes have been reported there.

“There’s a formula that’s used throughout the United States, that [puts] a dollar value for how much [the crash has] impacted [the car],” Carmody said. “In this little area where the [apartments are] being built, They had $20 million in crash costs.”

Jack Strobach, junior, noticed that most of Kirkwood’s population consists of newly started families with small children. He sees this as a problem when it comes to car safety. 

“Especially downtown when you’re parking on the side of roads, kids are running all over the place,” Strobach said. “It’s awesome, but with people who are just trying to get somewhere or driving too fast, [it’s] always been my biggest concern.”

Carmody said there are programs the Federal Highway Administration provides through statistics and data showing how you can reduce car crashes. He said Kirkwood is seeking to add flashing lights on stop signs that should reduce car crashes by around 45%, as well as reducing road lanes from four to three. Gov. Mike Parson recently signed the “Hands-Free Bill”, which prohibits drivers from texting or calling people while driving. Strobach said  the bill will help traffic move faster, especially since it is most prominent by stop signs and intersections. 

“A lot of times when people get hung up at stop signs, it’s because [they] immediately grab [their phones] and start using [them],” Strobach said. “I’ve always thought [that] in general, that’s a reckless thing to do, because you’re not aware when you’re using your phone, [you can] kill somebody. [And] at four-way intersections, [sometimes people] will go out of turn or try to cut you off or speed ahead of you.”

A lot of times when people get hung up at stop signs, it’s because [they] immediately grab [their phones] and start using [them].

— Jack Strobach

Carmody says that since the 1950s, Kirkwood has used a formula called the 85th percentile to measure car speeds. They eliminated the top 15% average speed of drivers, and used the data to set speed limits. 

“Today, there’s so much more data available that they should be using and practicing where you utilize safe speed,” Carmody said. “Not speed that gets you from point A to B the fastest.” 

Pugh said the KPD gets a lot of speeding reports regarding golf carts driving around places such as downtown Kirkwood. In Kirkwood, golf carts are only allowed to drive on roads with speed limits of 25 miles or faster.

“There’s a lot of specifications that [golf carts] have to have in order to be on the roadway.” Pugh said. “They have to have mirrors, seatbelts, [and] a horn, turn signals; they have to have a Department of Transportation approved windshield, and they have to have insurance on them.” 

Strobach said that motorcycles can be dangerous vehicles that require drivers to take multiple safety courses. His father rides one, and Strobach learned to ride a dirtbike when he was young.

“If you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re taking a risk for yourself because you are more susceptible and vulnerable to traffic around you because you’re on a bike  that goes way faster. Once you actually get your license and can ride legally, you are a safe rider.” Strobach said.

Carmody said the same traffic issues have been present since he was in high school. He also said that modern day cars are much more advanced as well.

 “They design cars to protect the driver,” Carmody said. “Whether it’s seatbelts, whether it’s impact on crashes, whether it’s airbags, all of this takes care of that  in the car. [People need to think about] what they [are] doing outside of the car? What are they doing for pedestrians?”

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Allie Caffey, entertainment writer
She/Her Hobbies and Interests: singing, writing, listening to music, playing guitar Favorite movie: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Favorite Quote: “My experiences remind me that it's those black clouds that make the blue skies even more beautiful.”- Kelly Clarkson
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