Davenport homeowner grows tired of cars' crash course

2013-09-06T00:00:00Z 2013-09-07T06:08:25Z Davenport homeowner grows tired of cars' crash courseBarb Ickes bickes@qctimes.com The Quad-City Times

Robin Stock moved her couch to the other side of the living room, just in case another car crashes into her house.

In 1996, the first year she lived at 613 S. Fairmount St. in Davenport, a car hit her living room wall. The year before that, neighbors told her, someone was killed after crashing into the house across the street.

The accidents just keep coming, and Stock and many others blame the steep hill at Fairmount, combined with an oddly engineered curve at the bottom.

Early last year, a woman in an SUV lost control at the bottom of the hill and ran into a tree in Stock's yard, injuring a child. Last summer, a pickup crashed into her husband's truck that was parked on the street and, on Tuesday, her car was totaled — while sitting in the driveway.

"Thank God, I had just moved the car off the street and into the driveway or the truck would have gone right into my house," Stock said. "The kid didn't have any insurance, so my premium is going to go up, again."

The skid marks, which begin at the base of the Fairmount hill and end at her driveway, make clear what happened: The driver took the curve all wrong, struck the curb on the nearby median and careened off, losing control.

"It happens all the time," Stock said. "The hill is steep and fast, and people don't get that gravity pulls them in this direction — into this weird angle. They overcompensate, and they lose it."

Adding to the danger, many vehicles begin the rise up Fairmount in the lane coming down, because the angle sneaks up on them. This, combined with vehicles coming down quickly, has resulted in head-on collisions on a street that is surrounded by family homes. Stock remembers seeing a man, lying unconscious in the street, following one such wreck.

"The neighbors don't let their kids out the front doors," she said. "They have to play only in the backyards. It's just not safe in the front, and that seems unfair to the kids. You can't ride a bike in the backyard."

Stock and the neighbors have complained to city officials countless times in the past, she said, but the Tuesday crash in her driveway was the final straw.

"I called Mayor (Bill) Gluba the last time we got hit, too, and he said we'd get more police patrols," she said. "That lasted a very short time, and here we are again. He wanted me to come to City Hall, and I said, 'No! You need to come see this.'"

Gluba said he doesn't blame Stock for being upset, adding that he hopes the meeting at her house today produces results.

"It's an unsafe situation, and I sympathize with these folks," he said Thursday. "It's a shame this has happened. I don't know what the solution's going to be, but that's the purpose of the meeting down there.

"It's beyond my pay grade, but the idea is get together with people who might have those solutions to figure this thing out."

In addition to the mayor, aldermen, police officials and workers from the city's streets and engineering departments are expected to get together with neighbors.

Stock said they are too frustrated and worried to accept anything less than a solution this time.

"We all call and bitch and complain, and all they ever do is tell people what they think we want to hear," she said. "I don't know the answer — whether it's a light or a stop sign or speed bumps or police presence or what, but something has to happen."

So far, she has taken solutions into her own hands. When the truck was hit in the street, she was part of the all-civilian success in finding the driver. When her car was hit Tuesday, she started asking neighbors what they saw.

"Some people thought they saw the truck coming from Hobson Street, so I went up there first thing in the morning," she said. "I saw this truck, and my gold paint and my yard were still stuck to it, so I called the police, and the kid was arrested.

"This has gone on long enough. It needs some resolution."

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(12) Comments

  1. KT
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    KT - September 08, 2013 10:38 am
    How about a reinforced concrete "stop sign" to keep others away? Something about 5foot wide and 7 feet tall (half underground) would probably work.
  2. Chili Dawg
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    Chili Dawg - September 06, 2013 4:03 pm
    While I feel for her, she does need to go to city hall. Go to a meeting. This problem will not be solved by not complaining to city hall. Call your alderman. It's a problem that needs a face to it. Sitting at home waiting for another accident is not the solution.
  3. zqqwwz
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    zqqwwz - September 06, 2013 2:44 pm
    Um, I think you miss the point. The issue is not "beyond his paygrade"; he is at the TOP of the food chain in the city. I agree with you that he can't single handedly solve it, but he most definitely can direct the actions necessary to resolve the problem -- that is his problem solving pay grade responsibility.
  4. finch
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    finch - September 06, 2013 1:37 pm
    Um, I think he was simply saying he'll need to consult with experts, as opposed to "deal with it." He's not an engineer or a traffic expert.
  5. Casual_Observer
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    Casual_Observer - September 06, 2013 1:10 pm
    "It's beyond my pay grade..."

    Isn't that about the typical Davenport officials' response to anything and everything? My Alderman, Ray Ambrose, is the same way. Legitimate issues are brought forth to our city officials and their answer is, effectively, "Deal with it."

    They wonder why people are moving out of the area in search of communities that are better managed, and safer.

  6. Mister Know It All
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    Mister Know It All - September 06, 2013 11:10 am
    Why not put in a Stop sign coming South on Fairmount at May Lane? With rumble strips and perhaps a flashing yellow light before reaching that intersection.
  7. Niobi
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    Niobi - September 06, 2013 10:40 am
    I took that hill once in the winter, what the heck was I thinking?
  8. Yagotta B Kidding
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    Yagotta B Kidding - September 06, 2013 9:34 am
    Perhaps this wouldn’t happen to her if she was a Bears fan...
  9. billy hoyle
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    billy hoyle - September 06, 2013 8:32 am
    Google street view lays it all out there to see why this happens. another take away from the "drive" around the neighborhood - good lord west davenport is run down. the least the city can do is fix the streets for these people. lastly - hats off to the guy who parked his motorcycle on the lawn. "Driveway? Nah.."
  10. TruthOnlyBeTold
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    TruthOnlyBeTold - September 06, 2013 6:50 am
    I agree...some aggressive speed bumps near the intersection with May Lane and signs warning of the speed bumps. Maybe a warning sign about the curve and cross traffic would help.
  11. rando
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    rando - September 06, 2013 5:47 am
    !!!!!! I can't believe I've never heard about this before. This is WAY worse than the truck-eating bridge -- people are being injured on a regular basis here. It sure seems like the city ought to do something.
  12. GEM
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    GEM - September 06, 2013 5:16 am
    It is a very steep hill, but we've always driven slowly and never had any problems. Maybe some speed bumps would help?
    The bottom of the hill is a residential area, so I can understand their worries.
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