91st and Glenwood site of new wreck after Overland Park removed traffic signals

A heavily damaged vehicle sits in the intersection of 91st and Glenwood after a wreck Tuesday. That intersection has been the site of at least six accidents since Overland Park began phasing out traffic lights there and at another nearby intersection at Lamar. The driver of this vehicle suffered a leg injury, according to police. Photo courtesy Donna Palatas.

Overland Park Police confirm a wreck involving two vehicles occurred this week at the intersection of 91st Street and Glenwood Avenue.

It’s at least the sixth wreck to occur at that same intersection since October, when the city began phasing out traffic signals along 91st Street at two intersections, the one at Glenwood and another nearby at Lamar.

This latest incident occurred Tuesday just before 1 p.m.

Overland Park Police Public Information Officer John Lacy said a vehicle — “Vehicle #1” in his description — was traveling southbound on Glenwood, when it came to a stop at the intersection with 91st.

Glenwood wreck
A picture submitted by a reader shows the aftermath of a wreck Tuesday at 91st and Glenwood. This appears to be the vehicle which was struck in its side as it traveled eastbound on 91st. Image courtesy Donna Palatas.

Vehicle #1 then proceeded into the intersection and struck the side of Vehicle #2, which was traveling eastbound on 91st Street.

Both vehicles suffered “significant damage” and had to be towed from the scene, according to Lacy.

The driver of Vehicle #1 suffered a leg injury and was also issued a citation for failing to yield, Lacy said.

Why traffic signals were removed

Tuesday’s wreck comes after the Overland Park City Council last month approved permanently removing traffic signals at the two intersections along 91st Street.

The city’s traffic engineers recommended removing the lights because the volume of traffic at the intersections didn’t warrant them.

The signals were aging and would have had to be moved anyway to accommodate a new bike-pedestrian trail that is planned along 91st Street, which will connect Meadowbrook Park to other points in Overland Park.

By a 10-2 vote, the council agreed with the engineers’ assessment that the intersections didn’t meet the standards for needing traffic signals.

Now, east-westbound traffic on 91st Street does not have to stop at the Glenwood intersection, while north-southbound traffic along Glenwood is required to stop at stop signs.

The intersection at Lamar is now a four-way stop, with motorists on both 91st and Lamar required to stop at stop signs.

No wrecks have been reported at that intersection since the traffic signals were turned to flashing in October and taken away earlier this year.

Resident concerns

Residents who live in the area opposed the lights’ removal and remain concerned about the absence of traffic signals there.

They insist 91st Street is too busy for pedestrians to safely cross without lights at those intersections.

They also argued that five wrecks that occurred at 91st and Glenwood during a test phase between October and January — when the lights were flashing and had not been completely removed — prove that the lights are needed.

Donna Palatas, a resident who lives nearby, alerted the Shawnee Mission Post to the latest wreck and emailed two pictures of the immediate aftermath of the incident Tuesday.

Palatas was a critic of the city’s plan to remove the lights and started an online petition seeking the traffic signals be preserved at Glenwood and Lamar.

That petition has garnered about 280 signatures, a little more than half its goal at Change.org.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said both the Glenwood and Lamar intersections were two-way stops with no stop signs for drivers along 91st Street. That is the case for the Glenwood intersection, but the intersection with Lamar is a four-way stop.