Pedestrian Safety Ordinance
Following a City-wide Street and Intersection Pedestrian Safety Study, City Council enacted new a new ordinance aimed at better protecting pedestrians and occupants of vehicles at intersections and along streets which have high volumes of traffic, high speed limits, and/or narrow medians.
Over the past year, five pedestrians have been killed on Springfield streets and an average of 60 pedestrians are struck on Springfield streets each year. The City of Springfield has taken measures to address the educational component of pedestrian safety with the SGF Yields campaign aimed at bringing awareness to both drivers and pedestrians. In addition, City Council asked that City staff commission a study examining pedestrian safety on Springfield streets and intersections to better understand what can be done to address the issue.
A report following that study conclusively demonstrated that arterial roadways with higher speeds and traffic volumes present a heightened potential for dangers for both pedestrians and motorists. To facilitate safety for pedestrians and motorists alike, recommendations urge that pedestrians should only be allowed in the roadway when:
- They remain in designated pedestrian areas where motorists reasonably expect them to be located (sidewalks and crosswalks)
- There is temporary traffic control set up to warn drivers that pedestrians will be present (maintenance or special events)
- They are using particular roadways that sustain low traffic volumes and speeds
- They use temporary pedestrian refuge as part of the process of crossing a road.
The pedestrian safety ordinance provides the ability to fine pedestrians or drivers (minimum of $100) for violating City Code regarding right-of-way in crosswalks, limits the time of day that a pedestrian can cross a roadway outside of crosswalks and intersections(during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, no pedestrian shall cross any roadway at any place other than a crosswalk or intersection), limits the crossing of arterial roadways and intersections to designated locations, and prohibits certain conduct between pedestrians and drivers on roadways with high volumes of traffic or high speed limits.
The ordinance goes into effect immediately, however Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams says that officers will primarily issue warnings and help to educate the public regarding the new rules through end of December, 2017.
Officers will proactively enforce the ordinance beginning January, 2018.
What does this ordinance mean for pedestrians and drivers?
- After dark, don't cross roadways anywhere but at an intersection or crosswalk.
- Pedestrians must cross an arterial roadway at an intersection or crosswalk.
- Don't exit a vehicle while located within an arterial intersection unless it's an emergency.
- You may only stop on a median when you are crossing the roadway.
- Don't approach a vehicle on an arterial roadway unless it is legally parked.
- Drivers must yield right-of-way to pedestrians.
- No occupant of a vehicle can engage in conduct with a pedestrian entering upon an arterial roadway.
These laws DO NOT apply to:
- Law enforcement personnel
- Persons engaged in rescue activities
- Persons engaged in emergency vehicular repair
- Public employees or permitted contractors with required duties
- Persons entering a stopped vehicle such as a taxicab or public transportation in a designated area
What is an arterial roadway?
Any roadway with a speed limit of 35 mph+ and/or average traffic volumes greater than 15,000 vehicles per day.
What is an arterial intersection?
Any intersection located within an arterial roadway or containing a qualifying median.
What types of medians are restricted?
Medians less than 6 feet wide.
According to traffic safety industry guidelines, the minimum protected median width is 6 feet. This width is based on the length of a motorized wheelchair or person pushing a stroller and provides protection from such concerns as vehicle overhang, ADA access and pedestrian trips and falls.