After Richmond City Council vote, community waits for 4-way stop at busy intersection

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A nursery school and surrounding community are grateful for the recent Richmond City Council vote for a four-way stop to be installed at a busy intersection but continue to wait for the signs.

For six years, Joe Cafarella, owner of Ms. Bab’s Nursery School, has been working to get the City of Richmond to listen to safety concerns about the intersection of Grove and Stafford avenues.

“[Over the years] we have probably had five or six bad accidents, three that have sent people to the hospital,” he said.

Since 2017, NBC12 has been reporting on Cafarella and the community’s efforts to make this portion of the Fan safer. Ms. Bab’s Nursery School is feet away from the intersection where the crashes have happened. They say many families walk to Ms. Bab’s and also Fox Elementary School, which is nearby.

“My windows face out - we hear all the time, screeching of cars, [this area] is difficult for cars because there are other four-way stops in the area,” said Anna Knecht, Director of Ms. Bab’s Nursery School. “The hope with the four-way stop is as we move into fall, and things getting darker, and we have more events with the school and families is just more caution from drivers.”

In 2019, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Works said a traffic study conducted at the intersection years ago did not meet the requirements to add a four-way stop.

On Tuesday, Sept. 28, the city council voted “yes” to adding the four-way stop to the intersection. Cafarella says it was an emotional moment.

“I actually shed a tear leaving city council last Tuesday when it was approved. I was able to take a breath and say, ‘it was worth it,’” said Cafarella. “If you know something is right in your heart, and it comes to safety of kids, children - there isn’t any stopping, isn’t any quitting.”

Cafarella’s deep breath was interrupted exactly one week later when two cars were involved in a crash at the intersection this week.

One car ended up in the flower bed in front of the home of a grandparent at Ms. Bab’s Nursery, and the parked car of one of the school’s employees was damaged. Cafarella and Knecht say the crash further proves the need for the all-way stop.

“Slower traffic is really what we want, and for people to pay attention,” he said.

City Councilwoman Katherine Jordan says the vote means the Department of Public Works will be in charge of installing the new stop signs.

“Obviously, the sooner we can get it installed the better. The hope was to get them before school started,” said Jordan. “Seriously, speeding is a problem across the city. I encourage everyone, please slow down.”

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