While there has been just one crash at the intersection of 165th Street and Quivira Road in the past three years, nearby residents say there have been countless near misses, and they are petitioning Overland Park to increase safety there.
The problem stems mainly from a dip in Quivira Road just south of its meeting point with 165th Street, causing northbound cars to disappear briefly from the vantage point of a driver waiting to turn left, either from 165th onto Quivira, or vice versa.
The T-shaped intersection is the main eastbound entrance into the Mills Farm subdivision, and nearly 50 residents have signed an online petition asking the city to undertake “road reconstruction and preventative safety measures” there.
Mills Farm resident and petition organizer Carol Culkin doesn’t have school-age children, but she notes that Blue Valley Southwest High School and Aubry Bend Middle School, both located near 175th and Quivira, and the Timber Creek Elementary School, inside Mills Farm, generate many daily car trips through the intersection.
“I’m worried about the intersection not just for those of us who are taking our lives in our hands, but for our neighbors who have children,” Culkin said. “Those high school kids fly over the hill and come up on that blind spot, and it’s just a matter of time until something tragic happens.”
Kathryn Pinto, who lives in the area and who teaches driver’s education at Blue Valley Southwest, said she has used the intersection as an example of a tricky one for her students, but only when she is driving the vehicle.
“It’s too dangerous,” Pinto said. “I didn’t feel comfortable having them navigate that.”
Culkin said she was motivated to start the online petition and a related Facebook page (Seehttps://www.facebook.com/Fixquiveraroad
) after Mills Farm neighbors wrote to the city of Overland Park and got back what she considers an unsatisfactory response on Dec. 2.
Overland Park traffic engineer Brian Shields said in an email to the neighborhood association that he was aware of “concerns about the sight distance that is available to drivers,” but that “we went out and checked, and it does meet the required standards that we follow. …
“Over the last few years we have made some minor improvements at the intersection including widening Quivira … making sure the property owner keeps the vegetation cut back on the corner, and getting with the police to make sure some spot enforcement helps keep the flow of traffic along Quivira near the posted speed limit,” Shields wrote.
“At some point in the future, the city will reconstruct Quivira in this area to a more modern roadway (which will further improve the sight distance at this intersection). While this project is not yet scheduled in our Capital Improvement Program, we will continue to monitor this area to see if additional interim improvements are needed ...”
The speed limit on Quivira at 165th is 35 mph. Shields said the city requires roughly 390 feet of sight distance at such an intersection. And he said that city records show just one crash there since the beginning of 2011.
Mike Buckneberg lives near the intersection and signed the online petition asking for city action to improve safety there. He said he’s had some close calls.
“I know eventually they’ll rip it (Quivira) out and do a four-lane, divided road, but I know it won’t be soon,” Buckneberg said. “I think a three-way stop as a temporary measure would be low-cost and help prevent accidents.”