Mayor Jones has laid down the law: There will be no action on traffic calming in Ferguson until a traffic commission makes a report. Today, the traffic commission does not exist. So the commission will have to be appointed, set and announce meetings, study the traffic issues and potential solutions, and report to the council. It would be unprecedented efficiency for this administration if that process was completed by the end of the year.
Fortunately, Mayor Jones can’t stop other council members from introducing legislation. With the constant reckless driving, and the steady stream of serious crashes, they should do that immediately. There has already been property damage, injuries, and at least one death. It’s time to take action for the safety of our residents and visitors.
First, Ferguson must join its neighbors in placing speed bumps in our residential neighborhoods. With cars roaring down residential streets at highway speed, it is no longer safe for children to play in the front yard, or even to pull out of your own driveway. It’s impossible for the police to patrol every street all the time, so speed bumps are the only way to slow down traffic in our neighborhoods.
Next, on the arterial roads which are controlled by the county, traffic enforcement must become a priority. That means writing tickets, not sitting on a side street watching the parade of scofflaws. While we should not return to the abusive practices which led to protests and lawsuits, we can certainly start ticketing the most reckless drivers.
Finally, it’s long past time for the city to implement the recommendation of the professional traffic consultant which they hired, and reduce Florissant Road to three lanes in the downtown business district. The most successful business districts in our region have already done this. The Delmar Loop, South Grand, and Kirkwood all thrive with this road configuration. We can do it on Florissant Road, and at very little cost. Council should approve that immediately.
According to our charter, the mayor is an at large council member. She’s not the only one who can introduce legislation. It’s long past time for other members of the council to show their independence – and their willingness to do the people’s business, even when the mayor refuses. There’s plenty of time before the next council meeting to prepare this life saving legislation. Will other members of the council get it done, or are they also speed bumps?