Safety, livability, and quality of life are three characteristics that the City of Springfield strives to enhance for its citizens. Traffic conditions can notably affect this progression. Speeding vehicles, cut-through traffic, and associated noise and litter are detrimental to the attributes of an exceptional community. One measure of slowing vehicles is through the implementation of traffic calming features. This is a traffic engineering technique used to reduce vehicular speeds and volumes.
- Speeding Problems
- Education and Enforcement
- Slowing Traffic by Design
- What YOU can do
- Drive 25 Program
How to slow traffic down - Traffic Calming
Most drivers are reasonable and will "drive to conditions". If the road is wide and unobstructed, motorists will often travel slightly faster than the speed limit - but they will also slow down if a slower pace is required for safe passage. Sometimes, commuters on their daily routes will go into "auto pilot" and not notice that they are driving too fast or they get too comfortable with traffic conditions. This group of drivers often benefits from electronic speed feedback boards. You can read more about radar speed boards on the Enforcement and Education tab.
Then there are also careless and imprudent drivers, who are well aware of the speed limit, but choose to drive faster than appropriate or safe. This type of drivers can only be addressed by either increased enforcement and/or improvement projects that change the horizontal or vertical alignment of the street. You can read more about Slowing Traffic by Design on the next tabs or you may request enforcement though the Citizen Resource Center at 417-864-1010.
Traffic Calming – Enforcement and Education
Short term, enforcement will make an impact, but the Police Department has limited staff to address speeding.
If speeding on your street is problem, the first step is educate drivers. Public Works will employ an electronic "radar speed board" for one week, which alerts drivers if they are travelling faster than the posted speed. This is an effective tool to remind neighbors and other drivers that frequent the area that they need to watch their speed. Unfortunately, the speed boards usually do not have a notable impact on notorious speeders who choose to speed. Indeed, there have been reports of drivers using the radar boards to "clock" themselves and hence the boards will not display the speed after a certain threshold to discourage such behavior.
In many cases, staff will conduct a speed study before placing the board. If the study shows substantial speeding, then Public Works will share that information with the Police Department and request enforcement. You can request a radar speed board or speed enforcement online or through the Citizen Resource Center at 417-864-1010.
Traffic Calming – Slowing Traffic by Design
Long term, "Traffic Calming" measures can help slow traffic down, by inconveniencing fast drivers. Traffic Calming utilizes physical road improvements which cause drivers to slow down. If successful, cut-through traffic may even avoid the area altogether.
Typically this includes horizontal measures, such as narrowing the travel lanes or adding curvature to the road or installing traffic circles. Speed bumps and other vertical measures are seldom deployed by the City for these reasons.
For new road construction, the City of Springfield has committed to pursuing a design practice called "Complete Streets". This type of holistic design aims to increase the "livability" of a street by serving pedestrians with all abilities and needs, bicyclists, and public transportation, as much or more than the motorist. Complete Streets designs demand wider sidewalks, more landscaping and narrower lanes help achieve slower speeds.
Public Works has also created a Traffic Calming Policy that identifies potential solutions to address speeding and cut-through traffic for different types of location and streets.
Traffic Calming – What neighbors can do to help
- Always drive 25mph, which slows hurried drivers down and discourages cut-through traffic. Join our free Drive 25 program and get a ‘Drive 25’ sticker to help increase awareness.
- Most excessive speeders are typically either neighbors or people that frequent a nearby place on a regular basis. If you can get a license plate number of such a repeat offender, make note of the time and pass it on to the Police Department - but don't interact with the individual.
- Residents may choose to park their vehicles on the street (unless regulated otherwise). Doing so physically narrows the roadway and causes most drivers to slow down, especially if they have to yield to oncoming traffic. Often, we get complaints from drivers that they have to slow and yield to oncoming traffic because of parked cars - and that is a good thing! On-street parking helps discourage speeding!
- Neighborhoods can also make a small difference through landscaping! Sprawling lawns optically widen the roadway and invite motorists to speed. Landscaping can help give the street a more private, neighborly feel and many drivers have the courtesy to slow down. However, here are some important safety related regulations that must be followed.