KCMO Neighborhood Upset with Plans for Roundabout

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Residents near Swope Park say that they are upset over a plan to turn a busy intersection into a roundabout - an intersection that city officials say just isn't busy enough to warrant a traffic signal.

The intersection of Swope Parkway and Meyer Boulevard used to have a traffic signal, but the city removed it claiming that there isn't enough vehicular traffic to require a stoplight. Instead, they have installed a temporary traffic circle - and now want to spend $2 million to construct a permanent roundabout at the intersection.

Residents in the neighborhood say that they want their traffic signal back.

"We think this is put here for the people at Starlight, to get in and out more conveniently than surrounding areas around it," said neighbor Cynthia Canady. "If the people from Starlight get out at night when they have big traffic, we in the surroundings the areas will suffer because we will have to wait for their clearance."

Other residents in the area say that young drivers from the nearby African-Centered Education Schools sometimes refuse to yeild - let alone stop - for traffic in the circle, and they say that a roundabout would be confusing and dangerous.

"Confusing for the kids and confusing for some of the drivers, it's even confusing for me sometimes," said Marquita Henry. "When you come through here at night, cars are going every which way."

But officials from the KCMO Parks and Recreation Department, which is in charge of the intersection, say that the current system is only temporary, and that a permanent roundabout will be safer for drivers and pedestrians.

"There is some confusion with temporary traffic circle out there now," said Travis Kiefer of the Parks and Recreation Department. "Just because it's made of cones and when you see stripes of orange and white and yellow and black and so forth out there, it does add confusion when you enter the intersection."

Officials say that the plans for the roundabout are still in the design phase, and there is currently no money to build it - even if it were ready. The city - which says that legally they cannot re-install the traffic signal - says that they will continue to meet with neighbors about their concerns.

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