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Neighbors push for 4-way stop sign at 37th and Genessee Street after years of crashes

37th and Genessee
Posted at 6:26 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 19:57:43-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After years of car accidents at the same intersection, neighbors are taking matters into their own hands.

Over the weekend, a crash at the intersection of W. 37th Street and Genessee Street resulted in a car flipped upside down.

Neighbors said everyone in the crash was okay, but they worry that won't always be the case.

Bri Swanson moved to the corner of the intersection with her husband in July 2020, and said her home security system captured the video of the crash.

"It was scary, and it was 8 o’clock in the morning on a Sunday, it’s not like it was 1 a.m. and intoxicated drivers and things like that, it happens at anytime of the day," Swanson said.

Since moving to the corner, Swanson said there have been four or five crashes.

When approaching the intersection, which has a 2-way stop sign, Swanson said it can be difficult to see around the corner if someone is coming because of cars parked on the street and a hedge.

She worries about the safety of everyone in the neighborhood.

"There’s kids that walk up and down the street, riding their bikes, me personally walking my dog, if I was walking right there I would’ve been hit by that accident and that’s scary," Swanson said.

A Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department spokesperson said because of the department's switch to a new reporting system, it only has searchable crash data from 2018 to now, which shows six reported crashes at the intersection.

Patrick Faltico, president of the Volker Neighborhood Association, said the real number is much greater.

"The vast majority are not reported, unless there is a fatality or so much property damage that somebody wants to make a big stink about it, nobody bothers to wait for the police to show up," Faltico said.

According to a city of Kansas City, Missouri, spokesperson, the intersection does not have a 4-way stop sign in place due to low traffic volume and the flow of the streets. 37th Street is a one-way street east of Genessee.

The city has received two requests for a stop sign at the intersection over the last 13 years. One request was put in Oct. 16, 2020 and closed Oct. 20, 2020. The requester reported excessive speeding without any traffic control at the intersection and requested additional stop signs.

The city spokesperson said the request was not approved because stop signs are not typically used to slow down traffic/alleviate speeding per federal guidance.

The most recent request was put in Oct. 24, 2021 and closed Oct. 26, 2021 with the recommendation to contact the city's Public Infrastructure Advisory Committee, or PIAC, for a traffic study to determine what other traffic calming options are feasible.

While it may seem to some residents that nothing is being done about the issue, Faltico said he and other members of the association have been working to address the issue, as well as other problem traffic areas, for quite some time.

"We are working methodically through the neighborhood, many years ago we asked residents what we could do as a neighborhood association for them and traffic was the biggest pain point," Faltico said.

Faltico said a pilot program with PIAC granted the association funds to use to fix problem traffic areas.

The funding allows the association to bring in a private contractor to do the work rather than the City. The association works with traffic experts to figure out what the best means of traffic calming would be.

Faltico said the association has already completed a project using PIAC funds at one problem area.

"At 38th and Wyoming we created traffic bump outs and there are actually planters that are in the area to create sort of curb cut outs to force the traffic into a more narrow lane," Faltico said.

He said the 37th and Genessee intersection is next up on the list of projects using PIAC funds.

Faltico hopes to see a four-way stop sign be put in as part of the project.

"Assuming that the city doesn’t block us, which they have pretty onerous requirements for traffic volumes in order to put in a four-way stop unless all the residents agree that they want it, and I think in this case all the residents are going to agree," Faltico said.

Getting all the residents to agree takes a lot of work, time and effort, which Faltico said will hopefully become easier when the association brings on a new traffic committee chair soon.

"I’m hoping that me stepping down will actually help accelerate progress, I’ve got two little kids and a lot of other things going on and I don’t always get to everything I’d like to," Faltico said.

He hopes to see the four-way stop sign in place by the middle of 2022 at the latest.