Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Opticare Vision/Express Mobile Transport

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Would Guardrail Have Prevented Fatal Crash on Memorial Parkway?

Photo credit: Jason Steffen

Photo credit: Steffen. 
Would a guardrail have prevented the fatal accident on Memorial Parkway earlier this summer? State Senator candidate, Jason Steffen, believes that it would.

Steffen sent a letter to Robert Hand, who works with the Department of Highways. Because Memorial Parkway is a state route, it would be handled by this department, not the city.

Memorial Parkway is also the site in Fort Thomas that the majority of deer-related crashes occur. The City of Fort Thomas has indicated that through the paid deer census, the population of the herd has decreased, yet crashes are increasing. The presumption, then, is that either the deer census is inaccurate or traffic has increased on Memorial Parkway.

Here is Steffen's letter

Mr. Robert Hand August 23, 2014
Department of Highways, District Six
421 Buttermilk Pike
Covington, KY 41017

RE: Guard Rail—KY 1120

Dear Mr. Hand:

With the fatal accident on Memorial Parkway (KY 1120) earlier this summer, it is my belief that this portion of the highway needs a guard rail.  It is my understanding that this was not the first accident on the site by the reservoir.

As 1120 is a state highway, it would be the responsibility of the Kentucky Department of Transportation to determine the need and to install one at this location.  It is my belief that the installation of a guardrail would prevent a future fatal accident.  There is a significant drop off from the road surface to the reservoir fence as seen in the attached photographs.  It should be noted that I am over 6’3’’ tall and the drop off is significantly deeper than that.

As a resident of Ft Thomas, I am requesting that the Kentucky Department of Highway examine this location and install a guardrail for the safety of the community that uses 1120.

Thank-you for your anticipated attention to this matter.



Photo credit: Jason Steffen


  1. I must offer my apology in advance if my Andy Rooney-style of humor offends anyone. Please know that public safety is one of my demonstrated passions and I do not take human death the least bit lightly. Hence, I have devoted a fair amount of time to trying to move public officials on this subject over the past 14 years and have taken tangible steps while on the School Board these past 8 years, (at Woodfill, Moyer and at the HMS / HHS campus) to improve the safe interaction of our school kids , their parents and the other motorists who, (nearly) come in contact with them on a daily basis. As a former resident of West Southgate, I worked with Council and the Public Safety Committee for about a year back in 2000-2001 to promote improved safety, primarily pedestrian safety, after I nearly lost my wife and two, young children, (my daughter was a new born) when a young motorist steered in an unexplained fashion into their path on Memorial Parkway, (they clearly had the right of way and it was sunny, dry and clear visibility?) AND after 10 year old Stevie Schroeder was struck and killed on a Garrison Avenue, (the two events were within a couple of weeks of Memorial Day, 2000). Sad that it takes death to get people's attention! At the time, West Southgate and the park at the intersection in question, (Charles Riggs Park?) had NO speed limit signs, "park" or "children at play" signs! NOTHING! Not only nothing, but it took ONE YEAR of pestering the "nose in a book" contracted City Traffic Engineer, (who loved to evaluate locations at off-peak times of day, based on traffic "theory", as opposed to morning, after school, as this case, and evening rush hour traffic reality) to get modest, nothing over the top, public awareness signs put up to deal with the, (then) 700 cars swooshing by the 40 houses daily, with I think 20% topping out at speeds 28 to 40 mph! I remember wanting to start a pool, (bad humor, given the deaths) on how long it would be before a driver coming off of West Southgate would over-shoot the intersection, (without a guardrail) in rain or snow and wind up in the water supply that the pedestrian-hostile fences and absence of scenic walking paths were said to protect after 9/11 when the Water District flipped our community the, (wrong kind of) BIRD in defiance of pleas from Mayor Brown and Council to make the water features pedestrian-friendly, favoring a clearly false sense of security with chainlink fences instead. In the case of this accident, conditions were sunny, dry and visibility was good. WOULD A GUARDRAIL HAVE PREVENTED TWO FATALITIES IN THIS OR FUTURE CASES? Can't say for sure, as it seems to have been a T-bone crash of high impact where the driver made an unexplained maneuver into the path of a full-size truck with a trailer, (can't claim blind spot) but IT CERTAINLY WOULD HAVE EXPEDITED GETTING THOSE TWO GENTLEMEN CRITICAL MEDICAL CARE AT THE TIME WHEN EXTRACTING THEM FROM THAT DITCH COST PRECIOUS TIME! As Princess Diana's injuries were exacerbated by the French style of treat on site, as opposed to the traditional American style of scoop and get them to a care facility, time in that ditch did not help the prospects for those two gentlemen. Given the relatively nominal cost of a guardrail and the demonstrated cost in terms of human life, I say, (to paraphrase Patrick Henry) give us guardrails or you, (the state) may once again give us death! Second-guessing this particular accident is neither here nor there. Common Sense, (to paraphrase Thomas Paine) demands that there should have been a guardrail installed there in the LATE 1940's when Memorial Parkway lost the streetcar in favor of automobile traffic and West Southgate became a through street! Finally, to paraphrase Mark Twain, when the end of the world comes, I want to be right here, because, (sometimes) we are 70 YEARS BEHIND THE TIMES!

  2. For someone running for Senate one would think you would at least get the mans name right. Rob Hans is the name of the KDOT person,