Sunset Hills board hears citizens’ concerns about pedestrian safety along city roads

City officials seeking solution after residents submit petition

By VINCE BRENNAN

One thing was on the minds of residents who attended last week’s Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen meeting — pedestrian safety.

Roughly 25 residents attended the July 8 board meeting in support of a petition signed by nearly 100 residents calling for the city to improve pedestrian safety along Geyer Road between Rotherwood Court and Balmagoun Lane.

Three speakers, including resident Martha Kaufmann, voiced concerns about unsafe conditions for pedestrians. Kaufmann discussed the area on Geyer Road between Rotherwood and Balmagoun.

She encouraged the board to take action on areas where pedestrians had little or no room to safely walk.

“We need to enhance pedestrian safety in the area that has only 22 inches on the side of the road,” she said.

Kaufmann continued by noting that constructing sidewalks with wheelchair access could be costly, but after speaking with Missouri Department of Transportation officials she concluded that there are ways to “enhance safety without a lot of expense.”

Kaufmann explained that some areas along Geyer Road have up to nine feet of shoulder space for a sidewalk, but the areas that have less than two feet of shoulder space concern many nearby residents. She also proposed the installation of cross-walks along some intersections of Geyer to improve safety on the road.

Aldermen also heard from St. John Vianney High School cross country coach John Mohr, who conditions his team in the fall and spring seasons on streets in the vicinity of the Vianney campus, including Geyer Road.

Mohr agreed that the lack of space on the side of the road presents a safety hazard.

“The team runs on the road three to four times a week,” Mohr stated. “We’re vigilant in telling (the team) to run against the traffic and vigilant in telling them where they run.”

Mayor Mike Svoboda said he was aware of residents’ concerns about pedestrian safety and plans are being discussed to construct sidewalks in several areas.

“We talk about (safety) all the time,” he assured residents at the meeting. “The hold-up is always money.”

He also said the board was looking into cost-efficient methods to enhance safety, but added that funding ultimately decides the fate of most community proposals.

“We always want to think: ‘What can we do for free?'” Svoboda said.

While it may seem like nothing is being done, Ward 1 Alderman Frank Hardy reiterated many of the same sentiments expressed by Svoboda and assured residents that city officials are looking for a solution.

“We are looking into different possibilities,” Hardy acknowledged. “It may not appear so to the residents, but something is happening.”