Neighbors Try to Stop Removal of Traffic Lights

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The City of Kansas City, Missouri, is trading out traffic lights at 37 intersections for stop signs.  But many residents say they were never told or asked about the change, and they don't like it.

Nancy Reicher is talking about the removal of the stoplight at 59th Street and Wornall, which she was instrumental in getting installed years ago.  It started flashing red and yellow last week.

"I'm not coming down this way anymore.  It's too dangerous," Reicher said.

"There's a lot of accidents occur here at night when the light is off.  We hear them.  They crash," said Barry Ritter, her neighbor.

"The traffic along 59th is going to back up.  It's nuts!" said another neighbor, Christine Droll.

People living near 36 other intersections in Kansas City have similar opinions, and they gathered at a meeting to talk to city leaders about their concerns.

"We apologize for not communicating to the neighborhoods prior to starting this process," said Sherri McIntyre, Director of Public Works.

Public works staff members say they were just doing what they thought was best.

"A response to federal standards.  This is what the city is required to do," said Public Works spokesman, Sean Demory.

The following intersections are set to have traffic signals replaced with stop signs:

  • Bennington and 12th Street
  • Brooklyn and 18th Street
  • Jackson and Spruce
  • Monitor Place and 23rd Street/Avienda Cesar Chavez
  • Woodland and 18th Street
  • Benton and 27th Street
  • Brooklyn and 27th Street
  • Cleveland and 27th Street
  • Hardesty and 24th Street
  • Jackson and 27th Street
  • St. John and Belmont
  • St. John and Van Brunt
  • Benton and 39th Street
  • Brush Creek and Gillham Road/Harrison
  • Cleveland and 39th Street
  • Indiana and 39th Street
  • Meyer and Main
  • Meyer and Oak
  • 5100 block of Oak
  • State Line and 63rd Terrace
  • Wornall and 109th Street
  • Benton and 35th Street
  • Benton/Waldrond and Linwood
  • Cleveland and Linwood
  • Indiana and 35th Street
  • Jackson and Linwood
  • Armour and Holmes
  • Armour and Warwick
  • Brooklyn and 39th Street
  • Gregory and Main
  • Wornall and 50th Street
  • Paseo and 55th Street
  • Paseo and 59th Street

The city says that the lights that are being removed aren't warranted, according to federal standards. Officials say that changing lights to signs will save the city about $9 million, and it's safer.

This did not please some residents, including Reicher.

"In the year and a half preceding that stoplight going in, there were 24 accidents at that area," she said.

Residents say they're fighting for their lives, their safety and many weren't satisfied with the answers they got.

The Director of Public Works also says if there's a wreck at an intersection where there's a light deemed unecessary by federal standards, the city could be liable.  In any event in a matter of weeks, all 37 stoplights are slated to be replaced by stop signs.

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