South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Green Park scraps speed humps after concerns from MFPD and residents

Residents worried about response times for MFPD
Green Park City Hall

Another meeting, another discussion on speed humps.

In a turn of events, however, the Green Park Board of Aldermen voted not to deploy speed humps in the Ronnie Hills subdivision at its Jan. 18 meeting, as many of the city’s residents not residing in the subdivision were adamantly opposed, and voiced their opinions at said meeting. No one from the Ronnie Hills subdivision was present at the January meeting.

The topic was initially brought up during the citizens comments and petitions section of the meeting, when eight residents, along with Mehlville Fire Protection District Chief Brian Hendricks, came before the board to share their concerns.

“I cannot imagine how much speed can be brought forth going on Patsy Drive with two flashing stop signs. If they are speeding, then that’s a problem, but I can’t imagine how much speeding they can muster in that amount of time. Speaking as someone who has lost everything in a fire, I know how badly things can be taken away in 45 seconds. I am really, really concerned about the safety of everyone, so I’m totally against the speed bumps,” Green Park resident Brenda Bollinger said.

All of the other Green Park residents who spoke had similar thoughts.

“If your houses are on fire, does that matter to you? If you’re choking, if you’re having a heart attack? You cannot say when you’re going to be choking, or if you’re going to have a heart attack. It’s the city’s job to protect the health, safety and welfare of all the citizens. All of them,” said Diane Monteleone, wife of Ward 3 alderman and board president, Joe Monteleone.

Jason Beishir of Beishir Landscape Maintenance, the company that has been handling snow and leaf removal for Green Park since 2014, also came before the board to give both a professional and personal opinion. He first explained that if the speed humps were concrete – the type the city was in favor of – as opposed to anchored in the ground, pieces would be “busted off” over time.

“That constant hitting on them and hitting on them and hitting on them – they will shear off, and then they’re gonna end up in somebody’s yard or turned in some weird position, and somebody’s gonna get in an accident and get hurt over them,” he said.

Beishir explained that the speed humps could increase tire damage to his snowplows, as they are large and heavy, particularly when full of salt. This is especially problematic because unlike a typical vehicle, snowplows do not have the option of putting a spare tire on.

“You could break the leaf spring, blow a tire. Then we’re dead in the water, we can’t provide  a service. At two in the morning, what do we do? It’s gonna turn into a whole big mess,” he said.

He concluded by talking about his professional experience with removing snow, and how speed humps could actually cause plows to discharge the freshly gathered snow.

“So as we’re coming over (the speed hump), it’s discharging everything we’ve collected. By the time that lands, there’s probably a 10-foot big pile of snow,” he said.

MFPD Chief Brian Hendricks also spoke to the board once again, urging them to see the safety concerns with the proposed speed humps.

“This is an issue that is quite concerning. At the end of the day, there is no way that we can discount the fact that response times are going to be impacted, and they’re going to be impacted in a negative way,” Hendricks said.

He restated much of what he said at the board’s December meeting, emphasizing that safety for all residents is his and MFPD’s priority, and that speed humps could negatively impact this duty. After he said his piece, Ward 2 Alderman Ron Slattery asked again for the statistic of how many times emergency vehicles travel to or through the subdivision yearly. Slattery asked this at the previous meeting as he wanted to “determine trends,” but did not receive the information. Though Hendricks agreed to pull the data from dispatch, some of the other aldermen did not think that it was necessary.

“Does that really matter up to this point?” Joe Monteleone said. “In other words, what’s in the past is in the past. Something can happen today, tonight – we don’t really need to know what’s been through there, previously.”

“I cannot imagine the relevancy of going back and spending time to see how many times you’ve come through that subdivision. It takes one time for someone to need you. Whether it’s a matter of a half a second or a minute or whatever it takes, it could be the end of someone’s life,” Ward 1 Alderman Carol Hamilton added.

Finally, Mayor Tim Thuston asked the board if it would like to “continue with the pursuit of additional information” relating to speed humps in the Ronnie Hills subdivision. A motion was made by Ward 1 Alderman Michael Broughton to “put the issue to rest,” and the board voted 6-1 in favor of not deploying the speed humps. Slattery was the only vote opposed.