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Speed traps in south St. Louis

I believe it is my duty to warn people about two speed traps in south St. Louis County. They’re fairly widely known, but not as widely known as I thought.

Both are tiny little suburbs along Interstate 55.The first, and perhaps more notorious of the two is St. George, which is west of I-55 at the Reavis Barracks exit. St. George extends roughly along Reavis Barracks from I-55 to an L-shaped bend in the road where Reavis Barracks becomes Mackenzie.

Rules of the road: The speed limit is 35. I generally keep my speed at 30-32. Funny thing is, when I drive through this stretch at 30, very few people ever pass me. Needless to say, at the stoplight at Huntington and Reavis Barracks, it’s best not to run a yellow light.

Reavis Barracks forms the southern border of the town. If you venture into town at all, make sure you stop for three seconds at any stop sign. Years ago when I did some computer work for someone who lived there, she told me the police will sit there with a stop watch and watch you. St. George is no place for the rolling stops St. Louis is known for.

Also don’t drive in St. George if you have expired plates or anything else that most departments overlook. I was pulled over once for the light above my license plate being burned out. I escaped a ticket, but probably because of my clean driving record. It was only the third time I’d ever been pulled over in my life. I was 27 or 28 at the time.

As far as hiding places go, they like to sit in a parking lot at the intersection of Huntington and Reavis Barracks, or along Reavis Barracks itself.

I have a few relatives who are police officers, and I’m told that St. George got a new police chief a while back and he tells other officers that he’s backed off on the speed-trap tendencies. I still don’t take any chances through there and neither should you.

To avoid St. George, use the Weber/Bayless exit, just a couple of miles north. It takes you a couple of miles out of your way, but it may be worth your while. Weber hits Gravois very near the intersection of Gravois and Mackenzie.

And speaking of Bayless, the other speed trap is Bella Villa, another small town just east of I-55 along Bayless between I-55 and Lemay Ferry Road. I imagine the correct pronounciation of the town would be something like bay-ya viy-ya, since it looks Spanish, but I’ve never heard a St. Louisan pronounce it. I imagine the local pronounciation is closer to bell-a vill-a.

The speed limit along Bayless through Bella Villa is also 35. Go 30-32. I see a police car virtually every time I drive through Bella Villa, and almost as often as not he has someone pulled over. Very frequently when I don’t see a police car in Bella Villa, I see him along I-55 with someone pulled over.

I have no firsthand experience with the Bella Villa police department, but someone I know who got a speeding ticket there didn’t get her license returned when the officer was done with it. It came back in the mail after she paid her speeding ticket.

If you need to avoid Bella Villa, chances are you’re on I-55 and trying to get to Lemay Ferry or vice-versa. There’s the Carondelet/Germania duo to the north, and either Union or Reavis Barracks to the south. You can only exit on Union if you’re southbound. Go east on Reavis Barracks and you’ll hit Lemay Ferry. Both Carondelet and Germania, which run on opposite sides of the mighty River Des Peres, run east-west between I-55 and Lemay Ferry. Lemay Ferry becomes Alabama at the Germania intersection, and Carondelet is called Weber where it hits Lemay Ferry.

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