ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis alderman is joining a push to make intersections safer for emergency vehicles, following the lead of St. Charles County.
FOX 2’s You Paid For It Team highlighted St. Charles County’s effort to install a new system that will affect 351 traffic signals. The signals will adjust when emergency vehicles come through. The goal is to make intersections safer for first responders and motorists.
Now, a St. Louis Aldermanic committee chairman, who saw the You Paid For It story, is taking up the cause.
The deaths of five family members killed at a west St. Louis intersection by a suspect fleeing police has added greater urgency to finding a solution.
“Elliott, you know that I appreciate you,” Joe Vaccaro, the chairman of the Aldermanic Public Safety Committee told FOX 2’s Elliott Davis. “I know when I saw this, I said we need to talk. It’s something the city should do. It’s something I plan to propose somewhere over the next couple of weeks. I just go to get our attorney to draw something up, but then again, it’s something I didn’t think about until I saw your store. And I’m like well that’s a really good idea.”
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann is leading the effort in St. Charles that involves some 351 intersections. Emergency vehicles will be outfitted with devices that will keep the lights green for emergency vehicles but red for all other traffic.
The lion’s share of the $800,000 cost in St Charles County is coming from the federal government. Alderman Vaccaro is convinced it can save lives.
“Well yes, we actually can. There’s no reason not to. I had planned on checking with the city to see if anyone has written a board bill. If they had, I plan to introduce a board bill. We have to do a fiscal study and have a fiscal note to find what the cost would be. I believe it’s a public safety issue. I believe we could use the COVID money. I know we’re using COVID money to put cameras in the alleys for illegal dumping.”
FOX 2 reached out to St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jone’s Office for their comment. They were non-committal on the intersection system but released a statement, saying: “The City is always searching for innovative ways improve public safety.”
There are also efforts underway in St. Louis County to explore getting an intersection system there. Council Chairwoman Rita Heard Days said she’s going to take a hard look at the idea.