What is the basic formula for creating a safer intersection? Prioritize the most vulnerable road users. That was our goal when we partnered with Children’s Mercy and KCMO Public Works to implement a traffic calming demonstration at Van Brunt and St. John in the Indian Mound neighborhood of Northeast KC last week. This project, along with another week-long traffic calming demonstration kicking off at 10th and Benton tomorrow, is the final segment of Building Collective Health: Community Interventions for Northeast KC, an initiative funded by the Aetna Foundation’s Cultivating Healthy Communities grant.
Last weekend, we gathered at the Van Brunt & St. John intersection, a site determined by community engagement, feedback from neighborhood meetings, school arrival/dismissal observations, and input from the Kansas City, MO Public Works Department. Our purpose was two-fold: 1) to engage and empower residents through a hands-on activity and 2) to determine the effects of this traffic calming design on pedestrian and driver behavior. KCMO Public Works put in new crosswalks on Friday, and on Saturday we worked with our partners and community volunteers to set up the traffic observation cameras and temporary intersection features. The installation was up for one week, during which time we conducted daily maintenance checks, manual traffic and pedestrian counts, and collected video of traffic patterns using our new Miovision cameras.
This is an example of small changes that improve safety and health in a neighborhood, and it is only possible with the support of residents, schools, neighborhood associations, and local community groups– THANK YOU! We are also grateful to our partners: KCMO Public Works for the new crosswalks, K&G Striping for the installation equipment, Children’s Mercy Hospital for their expertise and enthusiastic participation throughout the entire Aetna project, and The Roasterie for donating coffee for the kick-off events for these NEKC traffic calming demonstrations.
“The community collaboration around this project is fantastic. We are encouraged by the enthusiasm from our partners and we couldn’t do this important work without their support!” says Maggie Green, Director of Programs and project manager for the Aetna project. Our partners’ faith in our work shows how they value vibrant, active communities!