Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

25 Traffic Deaths in 6 Years on Natural Bridge in St. Louis Spur MoDOT Safety Effort

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

25 Traffic Deaths in 6 Years on Natural Bridge in St. Louis Spur MoDOT Safety Effort

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * On Nov. 1, Tolighta Morrow, a General Motors worker and former Army reservist, was killed when a speeding stolen car ran a red light and hit her vehicle at Natural Bridge and Fair avenues.

Morrow, 30, of St. Louis, and her boyfriend, Brian Greer, 36, of Alton, who also was killed, were the latest on a long list of crash victims on the section of Natural Bridge inside the city of St. Louis. In all, there have been 25 fatalities in the past six years on the four-mile stretch; 15 victims were pedestrians.

Last Wednesday, Morrow's mother, Donna Powell, took part in a Missouri Department of Transportation focus group of nearby residents and others to get their thoughts on how to reduce the traffic carnage on the street.

It's part of a new MoDOT campaign to improve Natural Bridge safety that recently kicked off with five public service announcements to be shown on local TV stations.

"They have to do something," Powell, 54, said in an interview after the session. "This has to stop. Not only because of my daughter. It could be your child next or your aunt or your uncle."

Powell suggested adding speed bumps and traffic circles at intersections to try to get drivers to slow down. She said narrowing the street, which has two lanes in each direction and a middle turn lane, could also be considered.

MoDOT says a speed study last June showed a majority of motorists on Natural Bridge in the city, where the speed limit is 35 mph, are driving 45. Between midnight and 6 a.m., drivers often go over 60 mph, MoDOT says.

Powell also suggested that traffic laws be better enforced.

Police already are preoccupied with dealing with violent crime on this very street.

That was underscored in January when the British-based Guardian newspaper reported that Natural Bridge in the city was the worst spot for gun killings in America in 2015. That was based on an analysis by census tract.

Police spokeswoman Schron Jackson said the department stepped up its traffic enforcement efforts along Natural Bridge in March and normally has an officer between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. running radar or "in stationary mode."

In addition, City Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards said he has asked the Missouri Highway Patrol to help out on Natural Bridge. …

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