Crosswalks Ensure Pedestrian Safety


By: Beth von Behren on July 20, 2012 Print This Post

The Holmes Avenue street reconstruction project is once again in the news, so we wanted to give you some information and share some photos, to set the record straight.

First, you may have heard about the “decorative” pedestrian crosswalks.  The City, in cooperation with the City of Oakland, MoDOT, East-West Gateway, and the federal government, did in fact install pedestrian crosswalks up and down Holmes Avenue.  However, they are made of concrete.  Specifically, they are “stamped concrete,” a material that typically lasts 30 to 40 years.  They are not brick, and they’re not made of the over-lay epoxy material that has been deteriorating on other crosswalks around the region, including the one at the Grant’s Trail Trailhead on Holmes, which was built by the Great Rivers Greenway District.  GRGD plans to replace this crosswalk with a concrete one.

The pedestrian crosswalks are stamped to look like red brick to make it more obvious to walkers that this is a crosswalk, not for decorative reasons. Here are a couple of photos of the crosswalks.








As you can see from the photos, the crosswalks are placed strategically, in locations where walkers are likely to cross. These stamped-concrete crosswalks are “full depth,” which means they go as deep as the concrete street goes.  They are not just colored or painted on.  All 13 crosswalks were built at a total cost of $61,509, with 80 percent of that cost covered by a federal grant, and the other 20 percent split evenly between Kirkwood and the City of Oakland.  Total cost for Kirkwood: Approximately $6,150.  The total cost for rebuilding Holmes Avenue was more than $2 million (again with 80 percent covered by a federal grant and the City splitting the remaining 20 percent with Oakland).

The other interesting component of the Holmes Avenue reconstruction was the addition of Chicanes.  Wikipedia gives this definition:  “A chicane is an artificial feature creating extra turns in a road, used in motor racing and on streets to slow traffic for safety.”  These islands (photos below) on Holmes were installed for precisely that reason.  Before work began, City leaders met with residents who lived in the area, and one of the concerns residents expressed was the need for safety, specifically the need to reduce speed on the roadway. The chicanes were added to the design plan to improve safety for both pedestrians and drivers and their passengers.








Finally, additional lighting was added along the street to improve visibility for everyone, and in addition to rebuilding the sidewalk on the Kirkwood side of the street, a totally new sidewalk was added on the Oakland (east) side. Holmes is a narrow street with two railroad crossings, but it is the connector road between Oakland and Kirkwood, so it gets a lot of vehicle traffic.  And because the Grant’s Trail trailhead is located on Holmes, it also gets a lot of foot and bicycle traffic.  Safety was the guiding principle in the design and construction of the new Holmes Avenue.  If you have any questions or comments about this major project, please feel free to post them here.




Written by Beth

Beth von Behren is the Public Information Officer for the City of Kirkwood. She manages the City Website ( and writes/edits both the monthly "Eye on Kirkwood" (published on the last Friday of the month inside the "Webster-Kirkwood Times") and the every-other-weekly e-newsletter "Kirkwood Happenings." To sign up for the e-newsletter, send an email to