Deadly trend making people afraid to cross St. Louis area streets, roadways

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – At least five people have been hit and killed trying to cross in less than a two-week span. There was one in Sunset Hills on Oct. 4; another one in South County on Oct. 16, and three incidents in the city of St. Louis from Oct. 7-18.     

“I’ve had to yell at people before, ‘you see I am in the right of way,’ ” said Jessica Starling, crossing near Hampton and Gravois in south St. Louis Tuesday.   

A man was hit and killed there, Monday night. Starling crosses there daily, walking her second-grade daughter home from school.   

With a Metro bus transfer station, pharmacies, a grocery store, and more nearby, a St. Louis alderman told Fox 2 News that traffic control measures, including fewer lanes, shorter crosswalks, and better signage were all on the table.   

“The steps that we take after accidents like these are written in blood. It’s a very serious thing. We don’t get any do-overs when a pedestrian is hit and killed. We can only move forward and try to mitigate that risk,” Ward 12 Alderman Bill Stephens said.   

It often comes to a case of protecting us from ourselves, he said.   

Everyone seems so distracted. Phones are a big part of it.   

A Fox2 News crew saw it repeatedly Tuesday afternoon at Hampton and Gravois, less than 24 hours after the most recent fatality – people walking, people driving, looking at their phones when they’re going through the intersection.  

“When I get to the light, I stand there to make sure everybody has my attention,” said Dorothy Washington, who’s had a fear of crossing the street since she was a little girl and her cousin was struck but survived in Pennsylvania.   

“Once I see eye coordination and everyone’s sitting still, I just start crossing,” Washington said.    

Carolyn Dickhoener said most people need more time to make it across the crosswalk. Most lights give people 20 or seconds or less.  Portions of Gravois require pedestrians to cross five lanes.   

“Just … make the light’s last a little longer … when you’re walking across,” she said.   

Starling admitted she was scared when she crosses. 

“Especially with her (my daughter)!  I’ll push her out of the way and let them hit me before anything,” she said.   

“If people would just slow down and pay attention, if pedestrians would pay attention, if we all just cared a bit more, and recognize that when we’re behind the wheel and walking down a road, that it’s sometimes not as safe as we think, then I think we wouldn’t have to make such major changes as frequently as we do.”  

Traffic control measures are trending across the city, including larger parking lanes and fewer traffic lanes that have just gone in on Hampton Avenue less than a mile from Monday night’s tragedy.    

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